Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Deyneka, Peter



  • Existence: 1931-2000

Biographical Statement

Peter Simon Deyneka, Jr. was born in Chicago on September 13, 1931, the second child of Peter and Vera (Demidovich) Deyneka, both Russian immigrants. His father founded the Russian Gospel Association, which later became the Slavic Gospel Association. Growing up Peter lived in the Russian-speaking immigrant community in Chicago and attended Carl Schurz High School where he was active in the band playing the trombone and the Crusaders Club, a Christian fellowship group. After graduating in 1949 he enrolled as a student at Wheaton College. He received his BA in 1953 and later received a master's of divinity ('57) and honorary doctorate ('96) from Northern Baptist Seminary.

During his time as a seminary student Deyneka spent a year in Alaska working with the Slavic Gospel Association a SGA as a village pastor and evangelist among the Aleut peoples. After graduation he returned to Alaska as a missionary. In 1961 he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina as director of SGA's Russian Bible Institute, teaching for two years. He then moved to Quito, Ecuador working on Russian language broadcasts for HCJB. Continuing his radio work, Peter spent 1963-65 at HLKX in Inchon, South Korea.

In 1966 and back in the United States Deyneka became an assistant director of the Slavic Gospel Association. In 1975 he became general director, a position he held until 1991. Due to disagreements with the board over how best minister in Russia after the fall of Communism, together he and his wife, Anita Marson whom he married on June 14, 1968, created a new organization called Peter Deyneka USSR Ministries (later changed to Peter Deyneka Russian Ministries). He also launched a comprehensive ministry plan to train nationals to minister to every community of the former Soviet Union. The staff of Russian Ministries grew to over 300 staff in the former Soviet Union and 16 in the United States.

Deyneka has served a guest lecturer at Fuller Seminary and the Wheaton College Graduate School. He also served on the board of directors of the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association (IFMA). . He was on the Executive Committee of The CoMission from 1992 to 1997 and in January 1997 was elected chairman of the CoMission II Partnership Council. Peter and Anita Deyneka responded to the great need to minister to orphans and underprivileged children of the former Soviet Union by helping to found two cooperative organizations for ministry to children—To Russian Children With Love (based in Moscow) and The CoMission for Children at Risk (based in Atlanta, Georgia).

Peter Deyneka also co-wrote with Norman Rohrer a biography of his father called Peter Dynamite (1975) and with his wife Anita Christians in the Shadow of the Kremlin (1974) and A Song in Siberia (1977).

Peter Deyneka, Jr. died on December 23, 2000 after a six-month battle with lymphoma. He was 69.


Author: Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections staff

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Anita and Peter Deyneka, Jr. Papers

 Collection — Container: Books
Identifier: SC-048
Scope and Contents The Anita and Peter Deyneka, Jr. Papers comprise eleven series: Biography, Published Material, Unpublished Material, Correspondence/Faxes, Conference, Media, Speeches/Lectures, Ministries, Secondary, WRF, and Memorabilia. The bulk of the collection is found in the latter portions of the series with Ministries, Secondary and WRF occupying three-quarters of the collection. These series document the activities of the Deyneka's various internal and external activities. Ministries includes records...
Dates: Created: 1951-2017; Other: Majority of material found in 1984-2000; Other: Date acquired: 1992

MSS | Deyneka {2019-0036}

 Unprocessed — Box: 1
Identifier: 2019-0036
Dates: Majority of material found within 1930 - 2019

MSS | Deyneka Letterhead

Identifier: 2010-1028