Latvian Biblical Centre (formerly Riga International Bible Institute, RIBI) was founded on February 6, 1992 as a ministry of the Christian Mission “Atmoda” (“Revival”), and was part of the ministry of the Riga Biblical Church. Pastor Gennadiy Zavaliy was the founder and first director of the Institute. Dean of Students Konstantin Yurinenok, who was actively involved in the formation of RIBI since its establishment, also made a special contribution to the formation of RIBI.
Since 1996 the pastor of Riga Bethany Russian Baptist Church Vladimir Andriets served as the Director of RIBI. Under his leadership RIBI recruited its first group of Latvian-speaking students. This was a very successful experiment, and from that time on there were two language streams – Russian and Latvian. In addition, at the initiative of V. Andriets, two new branches of RIBI opened in Tukums and Cesis.
In 2004 Vladimir Andriets was succeeded by Interim Director, William P. Martin, formerly in charge of the academic part of RIBI. William and his wife, Cindy Martin, have been missionaries in Latvia for about 10 years and have worked sacrificially at RIBI all these years.
Since 2008 RIBI has been directed by Dr. Vitali Petrenko who arrived to Latvia with his wife, Dr. Esther Petrenko. Esther assumed the post of Academic Director-Dean. Under their leadership RIBI continued to develop and expand through introduction of different programs. They continued the strategy of opening branches in different cities. Under their leadership throughout the years RIBI opened branches in the Latvian cities of Daugavpils, Liepaja and Talsi. This expansion was further enhanced by the introduction of Distance Learning, led by Andrejs Prieditis, and who initiated remote access to our programs and extended learning opportunities to people in other churches, prisons and ministries far beyond Latvian borders.
In June 2011 the Latvian Biblical Centre Foundation (LBC) was established. LBC took over and continued the ministry of RIBI, reaching a qualitatively new level of training. That year also proved to be very important in the life of LBC. The Lord spoke to the hearts of the LBC leadership and pointed to a building near the Salvation Temple Church on Kraslavas Street in Riga. After some research, we realized that this building was home to William Fetler’s Bible and Missionary school from 1924 to 1935. We received a vision from the Lord regarding this building and, in faith, began the process of renovating the building in 2013. The Lord showed His faithfulness to us and His Word, and we delivered the entire project in the Fall of 2017. We rejoiced and continue to rejoice in God’s grace and goodness regarding our own building for the needs of LBC.
We are constantly striving to improve and develop new, relevant study programs.
The most recent additions to LBC’s programs were: opening the School for Preachers in March 2018.
The Christianity, Work and Society program launched in September 2019 in partnership with the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.
Through our partnership with North-West University in South Africa, we began to offer Graduate & Post Graduate Programs on November 25, 2020.
The Lord prompted us to begin a new program for church counselors in August 2021 with the concurrent opening of an LBC-based Crisis Center. The timeliness of the opening of the Crisis Center was confirmed by the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February 2022 and the influx of refugees in Latvia. The story of LBC ministry continues…
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