Friday, February 25, 2022

Methodists React to Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine yesterday, Methodists from around the world, and especially from across Europe, have condemned the action and called for peace. Here are some of the developments:

United Methodist News Service published a piece sharing reactions to the invasions, including one from Rev. Oleg Starodubets, a district superintendent of The United Methodist Church in Ukraine. UMNS compiled several other reactions as well, including some of those listed below. Methodist news in Germany and Switzerland also compiled reactions. The Swiss story includes reports from United Methodists in Poland that Ukrainian refugees have already started to arrive in that country.

The World Methodist Council, acting with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), and the Conference of European Churches (CEC, condemned the attacks on Ukraine, called for prayer for peace, and announced a special Ash Wednesday prayer service for peace.

Following the invasion, the European Methodist Council issued a prayer for peace in Europe. The Methodist Church in Great Britain posted their own prayer, along with additional worship resources.

UMC bishops in Europe also called for peace. Bishop Eduard Khegay, whose episcopal area includes both Russia and Ukraine, posted on Facebook the day before the attack calling for prayers for peace, condemning war, and lifting up in particular the UMC congregation in Luhansk. United Methodist news outlets in Germany and in Switzerland also compiled reactions.

Following the attack, the websites of the UMC in Germany and in Switzerland published articles sharing Bishop Khegay's words and calling for peace. The piece from Germany added comments from Bishops Patrick Streiff (Central and Southern Europe Central Conference) and Harald R├╝ckert (Germany Central Conference).

Bishop Christian Alsted of the Nordic and Baltic Episcopal Area, much of which borders Russia, also posted on Facebook to condemn war, express solidarity with Ukraine and with the Baltic countries, pray for peace, and pray for United Methodists in both Ukraine and Bishop Khegay.

Global Ministries issued a statement calling for "the peace and security of United Methodists in Ukraine and Russia" and indicating that UMCOR is in communication with partners in the region about humanitarian response to the conflict in Ukraine. The Swiss Connexio develop is also collecting money to assist with humanitarian dimensions of the conflict.

In the United States, Bishop Ken Carter of the Western North Carolina and Florida Annual Conferences and Bishop LaTrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conferences (among other leaders) issued prayers for peace.

Prior to the invasion, the Connectional Table affirmed a WCC statement on Ukraine expressing concern, calling for dialogue to resolve the conflict, and calling for prayer. The CT noted that the UMC has members in both Ukraine and Russia.

Around the world, prayer poured in from Methodists as far away as Uruguay.

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