The following announcement was released by Vyacheslav Nesteruk, president of the All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, and Aleksey Smirnov, president of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, after they met on April 8:
We representatives of the congregations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists in Russia and Ukraine have come together 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 during the course of the recent political stand-off. We pray for the maintenance of lasting peace and understanding between 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 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 non-interference of the state and political forces in the internal life of religious organizations.
- We condemn all acts of violence and brutality against persons, as well as the resolution of political problems by military means.
- 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 neighbour, 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 countries and throughout the world.
How to heal a nation divided (feature)
‘In the name of Christ’ (MCC’s work in Ukraine)
View Willard Metzger’s responses to both of these church unions: