Thursday, April 17, 2014

Russian And Ukrainian Baptist Leadership Met In Kiev On 8 April

Below is an extract from Australian Christian Newspaper,New Life.An encouragement to those in times of uncertainty in the Ukraine.

Russian And Ukrainian Baptist Leadership Met In Kiev On 8 April
RUSSIAN and Ukrainian Baptist leadership met in Kiev on 8 April – the first meeting between the heads of the All­ Ukrainian Union Of Associations Of Evangelical Christians­Baptists and the Russian Union Of Evangelical Christians­ Baptists since the dramatic overthrow of the Ukrainian Government in Crimea on 21,22. Following initial talks at Kiev Baptist headquarters, RUECB­President Alexey Smirnov addressed staff in a sermon followed by a festive din­ ner and the signing of the joint communiqué translated below. The primary hosts were AUUAECB­President Vyach­ eslav Nesteruk and Vice­President Valery Antonyuk. Back in Moscow on 9 April, Vitaly Vlasenko, the RUECB’s Director of External Church Relations, described the gathering as ‘fantastic’. The day’s events even included an ‘in­ teresting’ visit to Maidan Square. The meeting had been marked by cordiality. The statement indicates that Ukrain­ ian and Russian Baptists have every intention to continue their long­standing co­operation.
Statement By The Leadership Of The Russian And All­Ukrainian Unions Of Evangelical Christians­Baptists
‘We representatives of the congregations of Evangelical Christians­Baptists In Russia and Ukraine have come to­ gether to express our common views on issues of major concern to people in our churches and countries. We thereby present a visible sign of support for the possibility of a peaceful dialogue between our churches and nations.
All of our congregations pray continually for peace between our peoples as well as for those who have suffered dur­ ing the course of the recent political stand­off. We pray for the maintenance of lasting peace and understanding be­ tween the citizens of our countries independent of their national and confessional affiliations ...
• We express our sincere willingness to pray and support deeds of fraternal dialogue and the promotion of peace in the Russian and Ukrainian societies.

• We appeal to all who are responsible for the future of our countries to hold firmly to the principles of freedom of conscience and confession as well as the non­interference of the state and political forces in the internal life of reli­ gious organisations.
• We condemn all acts of violence and brutality against persons as well as the resolution of political problems by mil­ itary means and we appeal to all members of the various religious groups to contribute to the process of forgiveness and agreement between our peoples.

• We mourn those killed in mass clashes on both sides of the conflict, both among the public and combatants.
• We call on our brothers and sisters in the churches of Russia and Ukraine to pray for a peaceful resolution of the political confrontation between our two countries.
• We call on our peoples to make every effort to avoid any provocations, to retain in their hearts love for the neigh­ bour, to respect his human dignity and religious beliefs.
• We are ready, regardless of our circumstances, to co­operate further in proclaiming the Gospel in our own coun­ tries and throughout the world.

– President Vyacheslav NesterukPresident Aleksey Smirnov, Russian Union of Evangelical Christians­Baptists