As one Baptist family united in Christ, we bear witness to the biblical truth that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” So how do we respond in the face of suffering? We grieve. We pray. We act.
In response to rising tensions along the Ukrainian and Russian border early in the year, the Baptist World Alliance immediately initiated solidarity and advocacy efforts. In February, the BWA hosted Igor Bandura, Vice President of the All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists and a BWA General Council Member, at the ministry headquarters in Falls Church, VA, USA. BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown also joined Bandura in a series of key meetings and roundtables hosted in Washington D.C. on February 10 that brought together representatives from human rights and religious freedom organizations in the United States.
With more than 130,000 troops amassed on three sides of Ukraine, Brown traveled to Kyiv the following week to participate in a national prayer gathering on Wednesday, February 16, at St. Sophia Cathedral – the oldest church in Ukraine. Brown was able to pray alongside other faith community leaders, including Catholics, Orthodox, and Pentecostals. Departing less than 100 hours before commercial aviation to Ukraine was suspended, Brown also gathered with the national council of the Baptist Union as they prayed and prepared to help Baptist churches serve as communities of hope.