Meeting of Heads of Evangelical Churches of Ukraine Held
KYIV – On June 9, 2010, a meeting of the Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches of Ukraine was held in the office of the all-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christian Baptists. The event was also attended by the head of the State Committee on Nationalities and Religions, Yurii Reshetnikov. The participants discussed questions of protection of social morality and analyzed the situation in the Evangelical Protestant environment of Ukraine.
One of the most important decisions of the session of the council was the agreement of the heads of the churches to develop a plan to protect family values and high moral standards in the society. This was triggered by the general dissatisfaction of believers and the leadership of many churches with the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the Supreme Council's Standing Delegation in PACE, which did not resist and allowed the approval by the Council of Europe of documents aimed at extending the rights of sexual minorities and legalizaing same-sex partnerships.
According to the Institute of Religious Freedom, the session was held under the chairmanship of the senior bishop of the Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith of Ukraine, Mykhailo Panochko. The members of the council heard information of Yurii Reshetnikov on the status of the state-church relations. In answer to the participants' questions, the official told the audience about the plans of the government to develop a dialogue with churches and renew the legislation in the area of the freedom of conscience and activity of religious organizations.
The participants expressed concern with regard to the submission to the parliament of Bill 6493 which, under the mottoes of combating totalitarian sects, brings the danger of persecution of believers of any confession. According to experts, the proposed changes can be used according to the principle of selection and on the basis of subjective views of representatives of local or central authorities.
The heads of the Evangelical Churches paid attention to the problem of coverage of the activity of churches and religious organizations by communal mass media in the capital. According to the members of the council, despite the promises of the leadership of the Kyiv City State Administration, the television and press of the capital are still providing very narrow information about the religious life of the city. Therefore, the council passed an address to the city mayor with a request to create conditions for all-round and full information by the municipal mass media about the religious life of Kyiv, including the activity of the Evangelical Protestant Churches.
Specific attention was paid to the situation in the Evangelical Protestant environment of Ukraine. The heads of the churches expressed concern over the fact that despite their statement of December 29, 2008, Sunday Adelaja continues his activity on the same basis contradicting the Biblical creed and bringing negative consequences for the Christians of Ukraine.
In closing, the members of the council considered a statement regarding the inclusion of another association of Evangelical Christians in the council.