Slavic immigrants’ church encouraged congregants to invest in companies led by church officials but often barred them from selling their shares

Leaders and members of the Bethany Slavic Missionary Church in Sacramento and other Slavic churches in the U.S. have invested more than $14.5 million in health care companies founded by church leaders. Documents obtained by Ruslan Gurzhiy, founder and editor-in-chief of, show that top church officials helped form the companies and that shareholders were often barred from selling their stakes. During the course of his reporting, supported by the Fund with legal support from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Gurzhiy obtained material showing the head of the church, Bishop Adam Bondaruk, blessing specific businesses and recommending one business leader as a reliable partner to church members. This Bishop died by suicide in 2022. Bethany Slavic Missionary Church in Sacramento is the largest Russian-speaking evangelical religious association in the U.S. Bondaruk, who was head of the church at the time of his death, also was a Bishop of the Union of Christians of the Evangelical Faith of the USA. Gurzhiy’s story was published in English and Russian.