Many readers have doubtless been following the story of the unfolding crisis in the Ukraine over the last several months, from the clashes between police and protestors, to the ouster of the president, to the seizure of Crimea by Russia. The story has been gripping, often tragic, and often unpredictable.
Yet how many readers know that The United Methodist Church maintains a mission presence in Ukraine? There are actually 91 United Methodist churches and four other faith communities in Ukraine, along with 113 pastors and 4 missionaries, according to the GBGM webpage on Ukraine. United Methodist work in Ukraine is part of the Russia/Eurasia Initiative and falls under the Eurasian episcopal area. The Eurasian episcopal area and the Russia/Eurasia Initiative also include Russia, where the UMC also maintains churches and outreach.
Because of this United Methodist connection, there has been a steady stream of United Methodist news and views related to the Ukrainian crisis of the last several months. In case you've missed it, here's a recap:
First, there are a couple of articles giving United Methodists perspectives on the political crisis, one from early in the crisis, and one more recently:
From January, by missionary John Calhoun
From March 14, by GBGM
From March 26, by John Calhoun
Next, there are a number of articles about prayers for Ukraine throughout the crisis. Melissa Hinnen of UMConnections wrote an initial appeal for prayers on February 19. As Kay De Moss of the Western Michigan Annual Conference, United Methodists in Michigan responded quickly to those prayer requests on Feb. 23. United Methodists in Ukraine itself have been praying deeply, as Melissa Hinnen wrote on March 18. Bishop Eduard Khegay of the Eurasia episcopal area also released a public prayer on March 20.
United Methodists will continue to follow the events in Ukraine in prayer and through news and Twitter feeds. Follow @globalumc for more updates as we receive them.