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    Posted January 20, 2014 by
    wadekusakin
    Location
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Church signs

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    What will Church say to Ukrainian Maydan

     
    Maydan has challenged not only the government but Church, too. Searching for answers, people are turning to the Church, but so far it hasn’t been able to give a clear reply.The society is trying to understand: is there a limit for tolerance when human rights and freedoms are brutally violatedby president and parliament’s majority? How should we demand justice? How should the society react to the sudden threat of dictatorship arising after more than 20 years of independence? How should we protect our lives and future of our children in view of the current political situation in Ukraine?

    The roundtable “Maidan and Church: Mission and SocialResponsibility of Christians” took place in Kyiv on Friday, January 17, 2014. The event was initiated by the young leaders of Evangelical churches of Ukraine. Christian Students Fellowship (known as CCX in Ukraine, which is a part of IEFS, a global Christian students’ movement) jointly with the Spiritual Renewal Association and the MaidanPrayer.orgproject helped to implement the initiative.

    More thana hundred people showed up, and their feedback has been resonating in social mediasince. The discussion was led by the following three groups of speakers: 1) church ministers and missiologists; 2) theologians and scholars, 3) experts and public figures. They represented the Baptist, Pentecostal, Free Evangelical, Lutheran and Reformed churches of Ukraine.
    All the speakers raised a serious concern about the violence demonstrated regularly by the Ukrainian government within the last two months (all churches condemned the violent use of forceby the riot police on November 30, 2013 against the students who stood up peacefully for their rights on Maidan.) The participants also convicted the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine in its illegal threats to the Greek Catholic Church. Finally, they disapproved the adoption of the anti-constitutional laws (already named “Black Thursday” by the Ukrainian people)issued on January 16, 2014.As a result,the legitimacy of the whole government has become questionable, while rights for peaceful protest – banned.

    Nevertheless, according to the opinions, the unprecedented crisis will purify both church and society. “A final ‘desovietization’of our post-USSR society and the birth of a new generation leaders is taking place,” said pastor Oleg Magdych, Maydan’s activist.

    The leaders of the Evangelical community declared their readiness to continue Christianministry even undernew wave of repression orrestrictions against religious freedom. “The January laws signed by the president threat not only oursociety but Christian organizations, too. We shouldn’t be afraid, and continue our ministry instead”, said Denis Gorenkov, CCX director.

    Dr. Mykhailo Cherenkov added: “It’s the Church which is the strongest factor in our civil societytoday, therefore our responsibility has grown.”

    “The barricades of Maydantouched my heart. I saw the birth of a new nation there. People were ready to fight for their freedom andgive their lives for the sake of others,”shared Dr. Sergiy Tymchenko, and his testimony impressed many people in the room.

    Oles Dmytrenko,author of the book “Corruption: a bone in the throat”, reminded the Church about its role of being“salt and light” to the world, that is, convicting sin plainly inany political context and giving a clear moral verdicton what’s truly happeningto the society; at the same time – giving hope and showingthe true way of salvation.

    The initiative was supported by the following leaders of churches and denominations: Anatoly Kalyuzhniy (Union of Independent Evangelical Churches of Ukraine), Valery Antonyuk (Union of Baptist Churches of Ukraine), Ralph Huska (German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine), as well as by other pastors of Kyivchurches: PetroMarchenko, MykolaPonomarev, Sergiy Tymchenko, Denis Kondyuk,OlexiySatenko.Theologians and seminary professors made their authoritative contribution to the discussion, too; they were Petro Kovaliv, father YuriyChornomorets, and father Petro Balog. Respected experts and public figures – SergiyHula, Andrew Shekhovtsov and Oles Dmytrenko –said their word, too. Guests came not only from the capital of Ukraine, but from all over Ukraine:Kharkiv, Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Lviv and other places.

    At the end, the moderator AndriyShekhovtsov, the Maydan prayer tent ministry’s coordinator, encouragedthe Evangelical Christians to become more active in their missionand support the peaceful protesters by prayer, witnessing and practical help.

    As the result, the Appeal to the Evangelical churchesof Ukraineis being madewith the purpose to lay astrong Biblical foundation for Christians to be more effective in their mission to reach out to the society at such a critical historical time for the Ukrainian nation. The appeal will be made ​​publicon Monday, Jan 20, 2014.

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