Heads of Evangelical Churches Defend Morality
KYIV – On April 20, 2010, the heads of the Evangelical churches held a meeting as part of the session of the Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches of Ukraine (CEPCU) in Kyiv, reports the Institute of Religious Freedom.
The participants expressed opinions as to the status of the church-state and inter-church relations. A number of the participants reported facts of violation of equality of churches before the law and the obstacles facing evangelicals in realizing their right to the freedom of worship.
In particular, the participants analyzed the situation regarding the legal recognition of same-sex relationships in all the countries of the Council of Europe. The heads of the churches expressed concern over the fact that on March 31, 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine unreservedly supported at the level of the Council of Europe the recommendation of the Cabinet of Ministers "On steps of combating discrimination according to sexual orientation or gender identity."
In view of the fact that next week a similar draft resolution is to be considered at the session of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the CEPCU expressed strong objection of these initiatives in its addresses to Ukraine's president, minister of Foreign Affairs, speaker of the parliament, leaders of the parliamentary factions, and members of the Permanent Delegation of PACE representing Ukraine.
The CEPCU also published a statement expressing its position on the role of the church in the society and on its attitude about politics. In this document, the heads of the Protestant churches expressed concern that certain politicians attempted to use the authority of the council and the Evangelical Protestant churches for their own political interests.
The session was attended by the Senior Bishop of the Church of the Christians of Evangelical Faith of Ukraine, Mykhailo Panochko, head of the all-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christians Baptists, Viacheslav Nesteruk, Senior Bishop of the Union of Free Churches of Evangelical Faith of Ukraine, Vasyl Raichynets, President of the Ukrainian Union Church of the Seventh day's Adventists, Volodymyr Krupskyi, Senior Bishop of the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church, Leonid Padun, Executive Secretary of the Brotherhood of Independent Churches and Missions of Evangelical Christians Baptists, Petro Balatskyi, member of the Council of Association of Missionary Churches of Evangelical Christians of Ukraine, Vasyl Davydiuk and Bishop of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, Viacheslav Horpynchuk.
A number of other pastors and heads of Protestant religious associations, representatives of the Institute of Religious Freedom and Ukrainian Bible Society were invited to the session.