News & Commentary World

In the Darkness of War, the Christian Church Shines Bright

The pastor said, if the church isn't relevant in a time of crisis, then it's not relevant in a time of peace.

Local Christian churches in Ukraine and Russia, with the aid of a US-based nonprofit, are delivering necessary supplies to embattled citizens displaced by recent conflict.

According to Fox News, Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) is sending “donations to a network for 40 churches in Eastern Ukraine, 27 of which are located in Ukraine and 13 of which are on the Russian side, working to provide food, winter clothes, blankets and medicines in areas where the fighting is most intense.”

Eric Mock, vice president of ministry operations for SGA told the outlet they’re aiding victims on both sides of the conflict.

“We are also sending aid into Russia because there are people fleeing eastward out of the conflict.”

The organisation is currently supporting about 2,300 Ukrainian and Russian pastors in the region who are aiding those in need.

Vasyl Ostryi, pastor of Irpin’ Bible Church and professor of youth ministry at Kyiv Theological Seminary said in a recent article, “if the church is not relevant in a time of crisis, then it is not relevant in a time of peace.”

Ostryi’s church, which has around 1,000 people in attendance on any normal Sunday, has started conducting training sessions on performing first aid.

“People are learning how to apply a tourniquet, stop bleeding, apply bandages, and manage airways. These lay people aren’t going to become doctors, but this has given them the confidence to care for their neighbors if necessary.”

The pastor said the church building is prepared to be turned into a shelter if needed.

“We have a good basement,” he said. “We’re ready to deploy a heating station, as well as provide a place for a military hospital. To make this a reality, we’re creating response teams.”

Ostryi said, if martial law is declared, the teams are ready with a strategic supply of fuel, food, and material for dressing wounds.

“We’ve even gathered information on who in the church are doctors, mechanics, plumbers—even who has wells in case of a water shortage.”

Ostryi went on to say, while the church may not fight like the nation, they still believe they have a role to play in the struggle.

“We will shelter the weak, serve the suffering, and mend the broken. And as we do, we offer the unshakable hope of Christ and his gospel.”