The London Consultation: standing in solidarity with Ukraine
Christian leaders from the across the world gathered to discuss the Ukrainian crisis at Lambeth Palace, in an event co-hosted by BMS World Mission
More than 6,000 people killed and 1.2 million internally displaced in the last year – how should the global Church respond to the Ukrainian conflict? Around 60 delegates and observers grappled with this question at the London Consultation, a special event organised by BMS and Mission Eurasia on Tuesday (28 April 2015) at Lambeth Palace.
Around a horseshoe of tables were delegates from Ukraine, Russia, the UK and across Europe from denominations, Christian organisations and humanitarian agencies. Surrounding the delegates were observers, including a number of Baptist ministers invited by BMS.
The event was conducted in three languages: Ukrainian, Russian and English with simultaneous translations available so as not to slow down the discussions.
There were four sessions at which speakers explored different aspects arising from the conflict: the concept of the ‘Russian worldview’ and how certain ideologies within it may be driving the current crisis in Ukraine, how Christians should react to the humanitarian needs, threats to religious freedom and human rights and developing a reconciliation process. The final session was an open discussion of the day’s themes.
At the close of the Consultation, a resolution was signed by delegates. The resolution calls on the global Christian community and humanitarian agencies to acknowledge what is happening in Ukraine, and to develop a practical response to support the Ukrainian people.
At the signing, BMS Global Ambassador Revd Dr David Coffey joined hands with Revd Yuri Sipko, former President of the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of Russia and Bishop Mykhailo Panochko, President of the Evangelical Faith of Ukraine, and each prayed in their own language. The symbolism of them joining together in prayer for Ukraine was an abiding image that many will remember clearly from the Consultation.
Pray that the London Consultation will lead to a renewed effort by the global Christian community to support the people in Ukraine practically and spiritually.
Commenting on the conference the Revd Tony Peck, European Baptist Federation General Secretary said, 'This Conference was a very positive experience that nevertheless highlighted the continuing difficult and challenging conflict situation in Ukraine, especially in the Donbass.
'My own contribution was to speak of preparing even now for the possibility and hope of reconciliation, especially between the churches of Ukraine and Russia. That will continue to be a priority for the EBF as it relates to its member Unions in the two countries.'
For more on the London Consultation, read Ukrainian Church leaders: The West must wake up to the threat of Russia by Lucinda Borkett-Jones on the Christian Today website.
Read Tony Peck's reflections on travelling to Ukraine just prior to the conference
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission