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During Sunday Siege, Ukraine’s Churches Persevere

Image: Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Svitlovodsk

As Russian troops met stiffer resistance than expected from Ukrainian soldiers and citizens in Kyiv and other cities, pastors in both nations adapted Sunday worship services appropriately.

“The whole church prayed on their knees for our president, our country, and for peace,” said Vadym Kulynchenko of his church in Kamyanka, 145 miles south of the capital. “After the service, we did a first-aid training.”

Rather than a sermon, time was given to share testimonies from harrowing days of air raids. Many psalms were offered, and Kulynchenko’s message centered on Proverbs 29:25. Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Both disruption and ordinary life were on display at Calvary Chapel of Svitlovodsk.

Andrey and Nadya, displaced from Kyiv by the Russian missile barrage on Thursday, exchanged wedding vows amid great celebration.

Scheduled to be married this weekend in the capital, the couple was instead sent fleeing to Nadya’s home church 185 miles southeast along the Dnieper River—with a request for an impromptu wedding.

“In the middle of a war? That doesn’t make sense!” said Benjamin Morrison, with irony. “But during war is when it makes the most sense. What better reminder that even war cannot stamp out love. And what better way to say that we serve a higher King than to rejoice in the midst of chaos?”

They were married on Saturday, as planned.

On Sunday, the congregation of about 80 people—just beginning to swell with newcomers seeking refuge—regathered to hear a sermon on David and Goliath.

“Yes, David still had to fight. Yes, it was still hard and scary—but God was his confidence,” concluded Morrison, an American missionary veteran of 20 years and married to a Ukrainian.

“May he be ours as well, and may he cut off the head of the enemy.”

Ukraine claimed today that 3,500 Russian soldiers have been killed so far. Russia has not released an official casualty figure.

Regarding its own losses, Ukraine’s Health Ministry counted more than 350 civilians dead and almost 1,700 wounded as of Sunday night. The reported tally combines civilian and military casualties, but broke out 14 child deaths and 116 wounded.

Taras Dyatlik, regional director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Overseas Council, did the math. If correct, in three days of fighting 40 Russian soldiers died every hour; one soldier every minute and a half.

“These are mostly 19- to 25-year-old children,” he lamented. “The depth of our human brokenness can only be healed by the Holy Spirit.” Metropolitan Epiphanius, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), pleaded for…

This article was originally published at Christianity Today on February 27, 2022. Please click here to read the full text, including several testimonies from Russian pastors.

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