Ukraine on my mind

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by Bishop Eduard Khegay

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) These worlds of Jesus reminded us how important for us as pastors and lay leaders to create peace through our words and actions in this difficult time for people of Ukraine.

While political situation in Ukraine remains uncertain, pastors and lay leaders gathered together to pray and encourage one another in faith. “We do not know what tomorrow will bring” - said some of them. “It will be a catastrophe if the country breaks apart and civil war starts” - said others. The United Methodist Church in Ukraine and Moldova continues its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This means that we envision planting new churches and strengthening existing congregations, serving the poor and working for peace and justice in our society. “Christian churches in Ukraine pray together every day like never before” - said one pastor.

“125 years of Spirit’s movement. Keeping traditions and transforming the future” - this was the theme of this year’s annual conference, which reflects our anniversary of UMC in Eurasia and Festival celebration which we plan in August 2014. The Holy Spirit moves us to create new things and to be even more united as the body of Christ. The Spirit continues to move us to pay special attention to ministry with children in Ukraine and Moldova. .

Creating a day of young people’s ministry in church calendar and raising funds, praying for two churches in Crimea and negotiating their transfer to South Russia Annual Conference, celebrating strong examples of church’s self-sufficiency in Lugansk and Kiev, ordination and provisional elders, and expressing gratitude to GBGM missionaries for their mission work in Ukraine — these are some of the highlights of the Ukraine and Moldova Annual Conference which was held in Uzhorod, Western Ukraine on April 25-27, 2014.

I thank sisters and brothers in Eurasia and all over the world who pray for peace and unity in Ukraine, and I thank God for our United Methodist people who faithfully continue to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of conflict and uncertainty. We all turn to Jesus the Creator of true peace.

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