Evangelical Protestants Concerned About Condition of Ukrainian Society
Representatives of Evangelical religious denominations in Ukraine stressed that it is necessary to increase the role of churches in Ukraine to improve the moral qualities of the society, they stated at a press conference “2012 in Ukraine: Challenges and Prospects through the Prism of Christian Values” held on January 24 at the Unian agency, Iryna Matvienko reported to RISU.
The meeting with journalists of religious and secular mass media was attended by representatives of the Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches of Ukraine (CEPCU), Senior Bishop of the Union of Churches of Christians of Evangelical Faith (Pentecostals), Mykhailo Panochko, Head of the Spiritual Consultative Council of the Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists of Ukraine, Hryhorii Komendant, Bishop of the Association of Missionary Churches of Evangelical Christians of Ukraine and Chairman of CEPCU, Vasyl Davydiuk. Executive Director of the Institute For Religious Freedom, Maksim Vasin was the moderator of the press conference.
The representatives of CEPCU, who are concerned over the present condition of the Ukrainian society, shared their visions of the situations and the ways out. They noted that before looking for a way out, one needs to realize the problem, namely that the Ukrainian society is sick. And the reason is not political or economic but it is immorality and lost faith of Ukrainians. “If a person has no spiritual foundation, any additional structures, even if they are nice and accepted by the majority of the society, will be ruined in a few decades,” said Mykhailo Panochko.
In anticipation of the parliamentary election, Vasyl Davydiuk reminded the participants that CEPCU already stated in the past that the Church should not by any means be involved in politics. “We are calling Christians to concentrate primarily on preaching of the Gospel, the truth of the Bible and to vote for candidates who show Christian moral qualities in deed.”
The specific steps mentioned by the participants as ones to be taken by CEPCU to settle the situation in the country included, first of all, establishment of internal relations and good cooperation within the Evangelical Protestant environment and the ability to see the common problem of the country and to get enthusiastic about bringing the Word of God to people.
As for the openness to a dialogue between the Protestants and Orthodox and Catholics, the representatives of the Protestant communities openly admitted that only a few years ago, participation in joint prayers for the unity of Christians in a Catholic church was “a kind of a heresy.” “We conduct a dialogue. There is mutual understanding. Each side holds its own position but our relations should be based on brotherly love. And the influence will be exerted by those who have more spiritual strength but who use the influence for the good of consolidation and not for harm or competition. Those who are stronger should help the weaker ones. There are good relations even though there is no end of work. We are open, even though perhaps not completely as we need time. We are not afraid to communicate with others, the Orthodox and Catholics in order to reach mutual understanding and jointly influence the spiritual condition of Ukraine. This should unite us.”