An ambulance, fully loaded with medical goods, was recently sent to Ukraine from the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe of The United Methodist Church. Czechia superintendent Ivana Procházková said, “Our desire is that the war in Ukraine will end, but in this moment, they need an ambulance in Ukraine.”
European United Methodist congregations are praying, hoping and longing for peace, but since there is no peace yet, they are faithfully responding to the needs of the Ukrainian people who have lost so much. Waiting takes a very active, faithful and often courageous shape.
"People don’t lose hope. They adjust to the situation and try to be very creative,” said Yulia Starodubets, a member of the Coordinators of the Ministries with Refugees from Ukraine initiative.
The destruction of the energy supply throughout Ukraine impacts water, heating, public transportation and communication. United Methodists have responded by providing generators, as well as winterized accommodations for refugees seeking shelter.
Hospitality and spiritual support are also available in the form of bi-lingual worship services and fellowship opportunities. After arriving in the Netherlands and Germany, two brothers from The United Methodist Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, started Ukrainian-speaking fellowships, offering worship services, Sunday school classes and Bible studies to people who did not previously identify as active Christians.
Light in the darkness
With no street lights and no lighting in homes, Ukrainian streets are a rather dangerous place for pedestrians at nighttime. On a recent trip to Ukraine, Bishop Christian Alsted delivered batteries, lamps, power banks and reflective vests to boost visibility.
These items are practical, but they also symbolize Jesus’ desire as the one who came to us as the light of the world: To make everyone visible who is in the dark, to make them feel seen and important. When people let themselves be illuminated by this light of peace, hope and love, they can pass it on and reflect it.
The information above highlights portions of a December 22, 2022, report from the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe of The United Methodist Church, crafted by Urs Schweizer. It summarizes ministry reports from Ukraine, Czechia, Hungary, Denmark, and Romania. Read the report in its entirety.
The contact for this story is Laura Buchanan, who works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications. Contact her by email.
This story was published on January 10, 2023.