A statement by the Ukrainian, European and World Evangelical Alliances. “Jesus challenges us to stand with the vulnerable, even when that means confronting our own group and our own leaders”.
One year after Russia’s full-scale invasion, evangelicals in Ukraine, Europe and on a global level “condemns the aggression, honours the people who are pouring out support to the victims, and challenges all evangelicals to follow Jesus as war continues to rage”.
In a statement, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) and its member organisation in Ukraine, the Evangelical Protestant Churches of Ukraine (CEPCU) said in a joint statement called again “for the immediate withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine in its internationally-recognized borders as the quickest way to end the war” since the invasion ordered by President Vladimir Putin is both “unjustified and unprovoked”.
They underlined that “claims that the attack was necessary to protect ethnic Russians within Ukraine and to stop Ukraine from threatening Russia” are “blatantly false”. World leaders should “not reward aggression” but “have wisdom to find solutions that build a lasting peace”.
Around 12 million people have been displaced in Ukraine in the first year of the war. “To those who grieve and struggle in impossible circumstances, we stand with you in solidarity”, the three evangelical bodies say. “It is our prayer that a just peace would come quickly; that you may begin to heal and rebuild; and that even through your pain, you may tangibly experience God’s presence (Ps. 34:18)”.
“How can we follow Jesus at this moment, individually and collectively as Christ’s Church? We look to amazing men and women in Ukraine, across Europe, especially those in bordering countries, and throughout the world who are pouring out their compassion, support and often their very lives for those affected by the war”, the statement says.
“We pray for those who are serving people on the front lines and across Ukraine in numerous ways: opening churches as epicentres of response, providing humanitarian aid and medical assistance, offering trauma therapy and counselling, and expressing the truth of God’s love to everyone, even their enemies”.
Their examples “inspire and challenge each of us to follow Jesus regardless of our social or geographic location (…) We call on all Christians today, and indeed all peoples, to join this work as Christ’s hands and feet to heal, restore, and make all things new”.
The statement also mentions believers in Russia. “We know that many Christians in Russia are agonising as well, wondering what following Jesus looks like when they are part of a community that is inflicting harm on others. Jesus challenges us to stand with the vulnerable, even when that means confronting our own group and our own leaders. Throughout the history of the Church, courageous Christians have done just that, while many have overlooked or supported the hostile actions of their national or ethnic groups against others”.
All Christians in the world should “reflect on the ways in which our own groups may be perpetuating harm” and “hold our governments, social groups, and even church communities accountable for their actions or inaction”.
The document concludes: “We continue to pray that the Spirit will empower the Church to stand with and provide care to all those who are vulnerable, in Ukraine and beyond”. May “we stand with those who are hurting. May we have ears to ‘hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Rev 2:29)”.
[title]A meeting in Poland
The three evangelical organisations will hold a “partnering summit” on March 1-3 in Poland that will bring together key leaders from various alliances, denominations, and organizations from Ukraine, Europe and around the world.
“The purpose of the gathering is to strengthen the response of the global Evangelical community to significant crises, responding to and learning from the situation in Ukraine”, the WEA said.