Praying and Acting in Love for Our Ukrainian Neighbors
A Prayer of Christian Faith for Ukraine
O Lord, God of life, as you care for all creation, give us your peace. May our security come not from weapons, but from respect. May our strength come not from violence, but from love. May our own wealth come not from money, but from sharing. May our path not be one of ambition, but of justice. May our victory not be one of revenge, but of forgiveness. Unarmed and confident, help us to defend the dignity of all creation. Sharing today and always the bread of solidarity and peace. Amen.
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
Faith Vigil for Peace in Ukraine
On Feb. 24, Russian forces invaded Ukraine, launching land, sea and air attacks. Russia has launched air strikes across the country, including on the capital of Kyiv and other major cities. Airports are now shut, and few railway lines are operational. Millions of civilians fleeing the violence are heading toward Ukraine’s western districts and such neighboring countries as Poland, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the conflict so far, and damage to civilian infrastructure has left hundreds of thousands of people without water or electricity. Ukrainian men of military age (18-60) are forbidden to leave the country, so most of those fleeing the violence are women and children. According to one report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 500,000 people are seeking refuge in neighboring countries including Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Moldova.
Again Asking and Finding Steadfast Love in the Gloom of War, blog post from the Rev. Amy Reumann, ELCA Senior Director for Witness in Society
As Christians, we are called to work for justice and peace. The ELCA Social Statement, For Peace in God’s World tackles some of these difficult issues and offers guidance for finding the balance between peace and justice.
As this statement says, “Through the cross of Christ, God calls us to serve the needs of our neighbor, especially of those groups and individuals who suffer and are vulnerable. The cross assures us that even in our vulnerability, suffering, and death, God’s power is active through us.” Below are a collection of resources for those who wish to pray for, advocate for, aid, and support our Ukrainian neighbors.
All of Ukraine’s neighboring countries (including Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, and Slovakia) have confirmed that they will accept refugees. Without the support of the U.S. and the international community, however, it is unlikely that these countries will be able to support the millions of expected refugees.
Please take a moment to urge the White House and Congress to support Ukrainians here and abroad by providing humanitarian assistance, creating a robust refugee program, designating Ukraine for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to protect Ukrainians already in the U.S, and granting Special Student Relief (SSR) to allow eligible students from Ukraine to remain in the U.S. Click here to act.
If you are interested in donating to support disaster relief, Lutheran Disaster Response is accompanying our companions in Ukraine, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, as well as such ecumenical partners as Lutheran World Federation and Church World Service, in their humanitarian responses to the crisis. These partners provide refugees with immediate support and supplies such as food, blankets, water and hygiene kits. Donate here.