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Christian Ukraine Collaboration: a report from Krakow

72 Christian leaders from 22 European countries gathered for 24 hours in Krakow focused on the Ukraine war and refugee crisis.

FEATURES AUTOR 338/Matthew_Paschall KRAKOW 01 DE JUNIO DE 2022 10:55 h
Participants of the Christian Ukraine Collaboration gathering, 20-21 May 2022 in Krakow, Poland. / Photo via J. Memory


During the first 90 days of the Ukraine War, over 6 million refugees fled across the borders of Ukraine to neighboring nations, other European countries, and around the world. Another 7 million internally displaced people evacuated from East to West making this the largest movement of people in Europe since World War II. (see UNHCR May 19 Report).

On 19 and 20 May 2022, 72 Christian leaders from 22 European countries gathered for 24 hours in Krakow focused on the Ukraine war and refugee crisis. Of these, fifteen Ukrainian leaders were present giving voice to their needs both inside and outside their country.

[photo_footer] Christian Ukraine Collaboration gathering in Krakow, Poland, 20-21 May 2022. / Photo via Jim Memory. [/photo_footer] 

The Christian Ukrainian Collaboration seeks to enable organizations, denominations and churches to collaborate for the benefit of serving, supporting and reaching Ukrainian people. The desired outcome of our initial meeting in Krakow was to serve as a catalyst for long-term collaboration enabling a wider sharing of resources, experience, and success. Our core team desired to see greater unity and partnerships developed for managing the challenges of the current crisis and clarity for sustainable long-term needs into the future.


Why did we hold the Christian Ukraine Collaboration gathering?

During the crisis, mission agencies and churches have been responding mainly through denominational and organizational structures, but greater collaboration is needed to handle the complexity and scope of this massive humanitarian crisis. In addition, a majority of funding and energy has been reactively responding to short-term relief, rather than pro-actively preparing for long-term needs.

[photo_footer] Christian Ukraine Collaboration gathering in Krakow, Poland, 20-21 May 2022. / Photo via Jim Memory. [/photo_footer] 

This strategic meeting was initiated to build trust and vision for sustainable long-term collaboration. The top five countries receiving a majority of refugees (Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia) are overwhelmed and leaders admitted they have surpassed their capacity for handling the flow of mostly women and children with high levels of trauma. They have an honest plea:

“There is a need for an umbrella to gather our resources and experiences so we can collaborate together. In Poland, we have realized how the task is too big. Our Polish resources are over. People are on the edge of exhaustion. Financially, we are on the border. The work that we are doing is just a drop in the bucket. If we don’t cooperate in Poland and on a much larger level, we will not be able to meet the task ahead of us. Creating a national platform for cooperation and an international platform is the next step. We see the need and we are truly asking for your help! We don’t want to compete with each other, but we want to be good stewards of what resources you can bring, from your countries, your churches.” (Rafał Piekarski, PROEM Ministries)

The current crisis demands a multi-disciplinary network capable of ministering to the multi-layered needs of individual, family, community and nation. For this reason, the Christian Ukraine Collaboration invited leaders from the business and financial world, educational specialists, anti-human trafficking advocates, mental health care professionals, church planters as well as pastoral and theological leaders to represent these sectors and to encourage local churches and Christian charities to consider sharing their experiences and resources.

[photo_footer] Christian Ukraine Collaboration gathering in Krakow, Poland, 20-21 May 2022. / Photo via Jim Memory. [/photo_footer] 

Focus and Outcomes of the Gathering

Many of the leaders attending the Krakow Christian Ukraine Collaboration gathering had never met before, even within the same country as geographical, organizational and denominational differences previously prevented some groups from cooperation. A vital part of the gathering was hearing the perspective of the Ukrainian leaders, and enabling their connection to the European and Western evangelical world.

The programme for the gathering had multiple opportunities to explore the possibilities of collaboration by countries and regions and by areas of special interest. The 72 participants were asked to select one of five Core Ministry Area based on their experience and interest to develop strategies for sharing resources regionally:

1. Relief and Rebuilding: coordinating and prioritizing resources (financial, humanitarian) to be wisely shared and among churches, ministries and leaders in Europe and Ukraine for short and long-term needs.

2. Emotional Well Being and Families: equipping mental health care training and trauma care for families among churches and Ukrainian leaders in Europe.

3. Establishing Community and Integration within the Local Church: developing healthy models of community within existing churches and Ukrainian communities.

4. Empowering & Equipping Leadership: developing resources for Ukrainian leaders to restart and resume ministry and mission inside and outside of Ukraine.

5. Communication & Coordinating Partnership: establishing a network with key resources for core ministries needed for serving, supporting and reaching Ukraine.

Within each of the five Core Areas, ten Working Groups were formed to break these areas into manageable sub-groups. The Communication and Partnership group was tasked with connecting the other four core areas and working groups together into a meaningful platform.

[photo_footer] Christian Ukraine Collaboration gathering in Krakow, Poland, 20-21 May 2022. / Photo via Jim Memory. [/photo_footer] 

Key Next Steps

In the next thirty days, the smaller Working Groups will be asked to meet virtually and prepare for a larger sharing of strategy and resources with the Christian Ukraine Collaboration participants in order to maintain the momentum of our initial meeting. Our desire is that several of the groups move from communication to greater collaboration and cooperation.

In the next 60-90 days, we are not sure of all of the potential partnerships that will emerge or how many new regional networks will link together, but more leaders (Ukrainian, women, church and mission) will be invited to join the Christian Ukraine Collaboration Core Team. Some will be challenged to step into Joseph/Josephine leadership roles. As our conference space, budget and time was limited, we believe there are many other men and women who God is lifting up in crisis for leading the response and planning a coordinated action for their nation as well as those fleeing war and devastation.


Matthew Paschall (RHP Europe) on behalf of the Core Planning Team: Jim Memory (Lausanne Europe/European Christian Mission), Jon Burns (Greater Europe Mission), Barbora Filipova (Josiah Venture), Terry English (Josiah Venture), Horst Engelmann (Forum Wiedenest), Rafał Piekarski (PROEM).




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