'Ukraine crisis: crying out for God’s protection and justice for the vulnerable'
Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch an invasion of Ukraine has been met with widespread condemnation and sorrow, as well as renewed calls for prayer
*updated with new links 16 March*
**see this page where we have gathered a number of prayers for the situation in Ukraine**
The European Baptist Federation (EBF) issued a statement that “laments and denounces” the Russian attack that began on Thursday morning.
‘We pray unceasingly for the people of Ukraine and cry out for God’s protection and justice for the vulnerable,’ the EBF stated.
‘We affirm and encourage the work of Ukrainian Baptists in reaching out in the love of Christ to those most affected by the conflict. We call upon those in power to use their courage, wisdom, and resources to make peace and to stop war.
‘We as European Baptists stand with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters ready to assist in humanitarian outreach in regions affected by the conflict.
‘Even in moments dark as these, we hope in God’s promise to teach us His ways and walk in His paths, so that the people of the world,
Shall beat their swords
and their spears into
nation shall not lift up sword
neither shall they learn
war any more.
The EBF is inviting everyone to join for an international prayer gathering on Zoom every Wednesday in March. ‘Together, we will pray for the situation in Ukraine. We believe that prayers are more powerful than anything else,’ it states.
For more information visit ebf.org/prayforpeace
'The incredible response of Baptists across the region'
Here's a video from the European Baptist Federation to share with your churches and congregations as Ukrainian pastor Igor Bandura, Poland’s Marek Glodek and EBF General Secretary Alan Donaldson introduce footage of the incredible response of Baptists across the region.
There is a call to give financially at the end of this short video - British Baptists are asked to do this through the BMS World Mission Ukraine appeal: bit.ly/bmsukraineappeal
Romanian border. As the snow came down, thousands of refugees from Ukraine passed through the border to Romania in the last few days. Pastor Catalin Croitor and his Romanian Baptist church in Suceava are serving refugees on the border - EBF Facebook
Moldovan Baptists Open Their Arms to Ukrainian Refugees - EBF website
Serving Our Fellow-Ukrainians, Even as We Flee…One Ukrainian Baptist leader who is leading Baptist humanitarian responses recalls his harrowing experience of fleeing the Russian advance - EBF website
EBF General Secretary Alan Donaldson is visiting Poland as Ukrainians flee their homeland. The churches close to the Ukraine border have turned into shelters for refugees and host hundreds daily. Find out more in this EBF Facebook post. (2 March)
“In Poland, you feel the breath of this war”. Alan Donaldson's write-up of his visit to Poland, and how Polish Baptists are responding to the crisis in Ukraine EBF website
Follow EBF on Facebook for more updates
Ukrainian Baptist Leader Shares On-the-Ground Insight - thoughts from Igor Bandura, vice president of the All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists Good Faith Media
Baptist churches in Ukraine mobilise for ministry - Even while bombs fell around them, Baptists in Ukraine made plans to care for their neighbours who were displaced by a Russian military invasion Baptist Standard
BMS World Mission has kept in close contact with the EBF, and has issued a series of prayer requests from partners in the area, who have been providing aid in Donetsk and Luhansk. This page is regularly being updated as new information emerges. It features a powerpoint that can be used in services on Sunday.
The page quotes Elijah Brown, Baptist World Alliance general secretary, who visited Ukraine in recent days. 'Baptist leaders have long been preparing for Baptist churches across Ukraine to become centres of refuge in the event of widespread displacement. They have been encouraging churches in the area to stock up on food, petrol and other essentials.
'As the chaos and confusion escalates, we pray that, in the words of Elijah Brown, “Baptist churches could be lighthouses in their communities.”'
BMS has launched an appeal for Ukraine - find out more here: bit.ly/bmsukraineappeal
The Baptist World Alliance has prepared this page which shares prayer points, its history of solidarity in the form of statements and resolutions over the last decade, and its own response.
Crisis in Ukraine In the light of current events in Ukraine, David Kerrigan, author of Prince of Peace in a World of Wars and former BMS General Director reflects on how Christians might respond to such shocking and alarming events…
Elsewhere, Mike Pears, director of International Baptist Theological Seminary in Amsterdam, shared the following statement:
‘Today we are faced with the devastating news that war has broken out in Europe. I am deeply grieved and saddened that in the region of the European Baptist Federation we are experiencing this kind of conflict and aggression. In the coming days, let us hold fast to the bonds of fellowship that have taken root and flourished over many decades – bonds of faith and friendship that reach across national and social boundaries.
‘Let us not forget the strength of these bonds of fellowship that they offer us a way of living and relating that does not capitulate to violence but offer us a way of peaceable living and provide a basis and means for hope.
‘We pray with our sisters and brothers in Christ that we will be tenacious in holding on to peaceable relations with each other and courageous in standing against injustice.’
Mike offered the words of a Celtic liturgy, which ‘provide us with a prayerful vocabulary in the face of dark circumstances.’
Prayer for Peacemakers
Circle, O God, those who work for peace (you may wish to specifically name people), encircle them with your presence.
Keep wisdom within, keep folly out;
Keep strength within, keep weariness out;
Keep hope within, keep despair out;
Keep light within, keep darkness out.
In the name of the Sacred Three, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
For those victims of violence and injustice
Circle, O God, (name people and places), encircle them with your presence.
Keep truth within, keep falsehood out;
Keep compassion within, keep hard-heartedness out;
Keep love within, keep hatred out;
Keep light within, keep darkness out.
In the name of the Sacred Three, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Joshua Searle, Tutor in Theology and Public Thought; and Director of Postgraduate Studies at Spurgeon's College, is the chair of trustees of the charity Dnipro Hope Mission, which provides humanitarian relief to vulnerable people in Ukraine.
He published the following statement on behalf of DHM board of trustees, urging people to pray and describing the launch of the invasion as a ‘day of infamy.’
'It’s a day that we’ve been praying we would never see, but now it has come,' it said.
'As a Christian charity, our aim is not to get involved in the geopolitics, but simply to help and serve and to pray and show our solidarity with the people of Ukraine. But this doesn’t prevent us from expressing our condemnation of a vicious and unprovoked attack against Ukraine that violates international law and will inevitably trigger death and destruction on a massive scale. It is both an international war-crime and a moral outrage.'
The charity has spoken with its ministry partners in Ukraine, assuring them of support and solidarity. It has provided an update of the situation on the ground of its various ministry hubs. Access the full statement here.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC), the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), and the World Methodist Council (WMC) are calling for prayers of peace for the people of Ukraine and the region.
'This is a time for churches in Europe and globally to form a strong alliance of solidarity with people who fear the impact of war in Ukraine. This is a time to gather in prayer for people who possess the power to make decisions that will save lives and make peace possible,' said CEC General Secretary Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen.
'Jesus calls us to be messengers of hope who work for peace. As Christian churches we therefore call for an immediate de-escalation of this conflict, so that the lives, human rights, and dignity of people in Ukraine are protected,' said LWF General Secretary the Revd Anne Burghardt.
Ukraine crisis: How Psalm 31 is bringing comfort
Psalm 31 has become ‘the key scripture for all Ukrainians’ according to Bible Society colleagues in Ukraine.
They sent this moving video of people across Ukraine reading it in bunkers and shelters.
The video can be downloaded here
The Joint Public Issues Team has also shared the following prayers: