Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pray for Ukraine

By Rev. John Calhoun
General Board of Global Ministries missionary

Greetings and peace from Kyiv, Ukraine. As you have been following, it has been a traumatic few months here in Ukraine. In February, the center of Kyiv was engulfed by violent confrontations between protesters and riot police that left up to 100 dead and many hundreds injured. The upheaval led the (former) President Victor Yanukovich to flee Ukraine, and resulted in a new government being elected to serve the country.

Since those tumultuous events, the streets in Kyiv have remained calm, but conflict has spread to other parts of Ukraine. In recent weeks, Russian forces invaded Crimea, a move that resulted in this southern Ukrainian peninsula being annexed by Russia. Russian forces are now positioned along Russia’s western border with Ukraine. There remains a fear that even a small provocation could lead to an invasion by Russian troops into eastern Ukraine.

Throughout these difficult months, congregations of the United Methodist Church in
Kiev clergy protesting
Ukraine have been fervently praying for a peaceful end to the violence. The conflict is not over, and so we remain in prayer, awaiting the next developments and striving to proclaim the gospel message of peace. In these dark moments, we have found strength and comfort in the support of our many friends in the US and around the world who have been joining us in prayer.

Kiev protests Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Recently our Bishop, Eduard Khegay, traveled from Moscow to western Ukraine
to visit with our pastors and offer his support and prayers during this difficult time. You may read his personal reflection on the current situation below.*

Thank you, dear friends of the Susquehanna Annual Conference, for your continued support and prayers.

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The Rev. John Calhoun, an ordained elder of the New York Annual Conference, is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as director of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church’s Family Center in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine.
As the center director, John works with a team of social workers and community organizers to provide a wide range of services, including counseling, work and life skills, and educational support to street children, single mothers, and families in crisis. Within the St. Luke’s congregation, John assists in conducting worship services and serves in a mentoring role to the congregation’s Ukrainian pastor and leadership team.

*****

*Bishop Khegay Offers a Prayer for Ukraine

My prayer is for Ukraine, for peace and unity. My prayer is for Ukraine – this is a song of our brothers and sisters from The United Methodist Church in Kiev.

During our meeting of pastors and leaders of United Methodist Church in Ukraine last week, we lifted up our prayers for the people and the country, for peace and unity. Brothers and sisters shared their worries and concerns for the country’s future.

Many could not come from the east to Zakarpatie where we have had our meeting. As I was preaching in our churches in Zakarpatie, my heart was filled with grace and faith, when brothers and sisters with tears in their eyes lifted up their prayers to God for their country.

In this politically conflicting time, the church continues to share the gospel way – the way of active ministry to people, preaching of hope and faith, proclamation of God’s power and providence in the history of humankind. According to testimonies of brothers and sisters from different cities, Christian churches never prayed so fervently for their country and for their people as in this difficult time. Also, people were never so open for the gospel and for prayer as in this time.

I thank God for United Methodist churches in Ukraine, who bring hope and reconciliation to people in this difficult time, encourage people and serve those in need. Let us all stand in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, for all people and country. My prayer is for Ukraine.

— Bishop Eduard Khegay, The United Methodist Church in Eurasia

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