The Purcell Family

Ministering in St. Petersburg, Russia, since 1990


Blake and Cathy Purcell and their three children moved to the Soviet Union in 1990 with the Navigators to minister to students. Through this outreach ten students came to Christ from 1990-1997 and those students led their relatives to Christ as well. Some of the students married each other and had children and requested that Blake and Cathy help them form their fellowship into a church.

In 1998, Blake was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and, in 1999 founded the Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Seminary of St. Petersburg (now called Biblical Theological Seminary). Blake and Cathy and their six children and grandchildren live in Russia and the US.

The Purcells had three children — Emily, Graham, and John Mark — while living in the US and were blessed with three more — Lewis, Zachary, and Laura — after they moved to the Soviet Union.

Their oldest child, Emma, married Ford Burgher in July 2009 and they now have five children: Lewis, Teddy, Archibald, Addie Cate, and Nancy Elizabeth. The Burghers are settled in Fort Worth, Texas where Ford works as an engineer.

Blake and Cathy in florida, december 2014

Before graduating from Austin College, John Mark was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in Korea and has continued getting his fill of travel ever since! He is working in New York City as the Associate Director of a successful marketing firm.

Lewis and his wife, Galina, met when Lewis moved back to St. Petersburg after graduating from college. They married in June 2014 and had son Zachary Lewisovitch in November 2015, and daughter Anastasia Lewisovna in October 2017. Lewis and Galya minister to campers and counselors in one of St. Petersburg's first-ever clubs for disabled youth and adults, Club Butterfly (Babochka).

Zachary graduated from the University of Texas in Radio/TV/Film production and has worked in freelance media throughout the US. He married Morgan in June 2015 and they now live in Austin, Texas with their son Elliott, born in August 2016, and daughter Emma Lee, born April 2018.

Laura, 22, is the last Purcell to graduate from the International Academy of St. Petersburg and is currently studying art in Fort Worth, Texas.