📸 credit: EBF
By Martin Hodson, General Director
Ukraine is in the forefront of our minds at this time. The unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation. The brutal violence of the assault and the response it has provoked. The threat to stability in Europe. But perhaps most of all the suffering and fear of countless people. The families crammed into underground shelters. The multitudes fleeing in fear to neighbouring countries. And for those who remain, the ominous prospect of a pitiless assault on cities and towns.
The people in the midst of this are part of our human family, men, women and children made in the image of God, loved by God, people for whom Jesus died. Many are followers of Jesus and part of the family of faith. If we just think about our own extended family of Baptist Christians, there are 2,400 Baptist churches in Ukraine with around 125,000 members. (That’s about ten times the number of congregations and members we have in Scotland.)
Needless to say the Baptist churches in Ukraine are seeking to embody the love of Christ in the midst of this. Churches across the country have been set up as refuge centres to house people overnight as they flee from the most dangerous areas. Churches in the east of the country have linked up with those in the west who can receive families seeking safety. Amidst the shortages, the churches have set up several logistics centres to distribute food aid.
To be a Baptist disciple of Jesus in Scotland at this time is to stand in love and prayer and solidarity with our sisters and brothers under attack. This is a moment to ‘weep with those who weep’ (Romans 12.15) because when one part of the body of Christ suffers, ‘every part suffers with it’ (1 Corinthians 12.26).
BUS will continue to share news from churches in Ukraine as it becomes available on our social media. As a network of churches, I know our heart will be to continue in prayer, holding the people of Ukraine in our hearts before God and crying out for his reign of peace to come.
As you read the stories in this edition of Connect, about the witness of local churches around the country, about training for service and about opportunities to pray and to gather, you will see a little of the unfolding of God’s call on our lives in this land. Perhaps like me you will sense the urgency to make the most of every opportunity, recognising the grace-given privilege it is to live and serve in a place where peace and freedom are a precious gift.