Ukraine happens to be the focus of the European Baptist Federation (EBF) prayer calendar this week, and in an email to colleagues across Europe, General Secretary the Revd Tony Peck made a request to ‘surround Ukraine and its Baptists in prayer that the conflict and violence may cease and the Lord will lead this nation forward in the ways of righteousness and peace.’
He wrote, ‘The Baptist Union of Ukraine is almost our largest member Union in the EBF.
‘We know that our bothers and sisters in Christ are standing for peace and reconciliation in the midst of a conflict which seems to be becoming more and more entrenched and bitter.
‘We know too that Russian and Ukrainian Baptist leaders have met one another and stood together as brothers in Christ looking to Him for a peaceful way forward for the Ukrainian nation.
‘And we are aware that some Ukrainian Baptists are directly involved in the government at this time, especially the Acting State President Olesksandr Turchinov.
‘So I write to ask you in your Unions and churches to have a special focus of prayer for Ukraine this week, and for the witness of the Baptist churches in this crisis.’
Earlier this week Pavel Unguryan, director of the International Mission Department for Ukrainian Baptists, who is from Odessa, said the city "is on fire" and that the "events of the last days have been really terrifying." At least 36 people were killed in clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protestors in the eastern city on 2 May.
'The Christian community of Odessa is mourning,' he said. 'The churches, cathedral and groups have united in a prayer for peace and stability. The churches are calling people to forgive and love like Jesus Christ.'
THe Baptist World Alliance joined the EBF in calling on Baptists to pray for Ukraine.
Specific prayer requests can be found at www.ebf.org