News and Views

BWC's Eurasia Committee continues aid to Ukraine

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By Rev. Charles Harrell

Since the outbreak of hostilities in late February, the In Mission Together -- Eurasia Committee (IMTEC) in the Baltimore-Washington Conference has been working hard on your behalf, both to provide relief assistance to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, and to continue faithful in our covenant partnership relations.

Though the BWC has no formal partnership with the Ukraine conference, there are relationships that have formed through our missional activities that would compel us, even if there were not overriding humanitarian concerns to be addressed in Christ’s name. 

Consequently, IMTEC has redirected funds which now cannot be spent as planned, to aid in the effort to provide shelter, food, and other helps to Ukrainian refugees.  Most of these monies have gone to western Ukraine, where churches have been converted to shelters, and a Crisis Committee is managing United Methodist relief work on the ground. 

Some funds have also been sent to the Czech Republic, which has a large Ukrainian community and where many refugees are seeking to connect with family and friends. The United Methodist congregations and a United Methodist-related Family Shelter in the Czech Republic are actively housing and assisting Ukrainians who arrive there. One of these churches, in Prague, has long hosted a Russian/Ukrainian-language congregation on its campus.

We continue, in the ways we are able, to continue our covenant partnership with the South Russia Conference, including support for ministry with the Roma (“gypsy”) people in the Caucasus region. We also continue our support for the Moscow Theological Seminary of the UMC, whose alumni serve in both Russia and Ukraine, as well as the countries of Central Asia.

 All of the Baltimore-Washington Conference support is channeled through The General Board of Global Ministries’ Advance for Christ, which has adapted its work and procedures to respond to the current crisis.

 Our partners and friends in Ukraine and Russia express loving gratitude for the prayerful, faithful support of the people of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

 Please pray, and watch for opportunities to learn more about what is happening in Europe / Eurasia as well as how United Methodists are responding. If you would like to make a financial contribution through The Advance, here's how:

 Donate now

 On the ground in this region, the Ukraine UMC has created a crisis committee that will oversee all the global support that is coming in through UMCOR’s Advance #14053A “Eurasia In Mission Together - Ukraine and Moldova.” The money channeled through this Advance fund will go to the Ukraine UMC church account and decisions on how this will be used will be considered by the crisis committee, which includes pastors as well as lay leaders.

 You can also use the UMCOR Advance #982540 which also supports all humanitarian aid for refugees.  At present, the funds received through this Advance number are being directed toward Ukraine refugee relief.

 In addition to online giving, credit card contributions will also be accepted by phone. Call toll-free 888-252-6174 to make your gift. Designate your gift for one of the Advance numbers.

To send donations by mail, make your check payable to Advance GCFA and make a notation of the Advance number with the words "Ukraine relief" in the memo line. Send your check to:

Let us pray

As you continue to support the people of Ukraine, and all who are aiding them, we share this prayer, delivered by the Rev. Neal Christie, at a recent prayer service.

Dearest God: In his letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul assures us that, “Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.”  Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all power has been given both in heaven and on earth, we come before you on bent knee on behalf of those enduring unimaginable hardship because you value the life of each displaced and traumatized child who has endured a barrage of artillery shelling in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lyviv and Mariupol by the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine

 You welcomed people displaced by wars of occupation and so you hold in your hands the lives of more than 3 million Ukrainian people who have sought refuge in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Because one half of all children have left Ukraine, we fervently pray for the communities who still find shelter in overcrowded conditions, schools and churches and safe houses. 

 We pray that major sources of water may be protected from contamination and that the thousands of homes that that have searched and seized may be released from endless occupation. We pray for the caregivers, teachers and medical professionals who are tireless dedicated to your people regardless of nationality or ethnic identity. Protect and strengthen they grow weary.

 We remember and pray for hundreds of Asian students and African immigrants in Ukraine who are thousands of miles from homeland and who have now been trapped by this war and are seeking safety. We pray for evacuees and people who receive them. 

 We pray for the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, medicine, and necessary food for malnourished children, women and men. We pray for disabled and elderly Ukrainian parents who are in dire distress. We pray that those with compromised health may quickly receive necessary medical care without interruption. Grant an abundance of international resources to serve them well.

 Provide peace of mind to those who have been witnesses to the terror of destruction, whose parents have died, and who have lost or left behind family, friends, and home. Quicken the day when you reunite them with their families and loved ones and guide those children who are strangers in a neighboring nations and grant them sanctuary in body and spirit in spaces of peace and safety. 

 God who can bend the will of powers and principalities, we also pray also for the laying down of weapons. May security not come from more violence, may political ambitions be tempered by a desire no for revenge but for solidarity, dignity, reconciliation and justice. We pray for those with power over wanton war and durable реасе, for wise discernment and deep compassion to guide their decisions.

 Psalm 41 says, “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble.” Bend the will of each in authority to put an end to violence and guide their hearts to decide without fear of political implications to restore a durable peace. Holy Spirit, diminish hatred in the hearts of the aggressors and give courage and perseverance to those who do not support war.

 Psalm 145 says “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.” Christ, you desire unity and so we pray for our United Methodist congregations in Eurasia, Northern and Central Europe and also our Orthodox Ukrainian siblings and their churches, monasteries and seminaries that have been shelled and destroyed and the civilians who have sought solace there be comforted in Kharkiv, Luhansk, Viakovka, Zavorichi,  Chernihiv, Bobrik, and Chernihiv. 

 May these sacred places that have shown the way of your salvation to your Ukrainian people be rebuilt as places of renewed peace and hope.

 We finally pray for the continued unity of the 115 Member States of the United Nations who have called for a renewed respect for the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration of Human Rights, and the provisions on security and peace among countries. May we live as your unrestrained peacemakers who compelled to speak the truth and act out of a selfless desire to love no matter the cost.

 All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever. Amen