Success on the Second Try
Russian and Ukrainian Baptist Leadership met in Kiev on 8 April
M o s c o w -- After an initial meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian Baptist leadership scheduled for 11 March in Kiev was called off, a second try succeeded on 8 April. This was the first meeting between the heads of the “All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists” (AUUAECB) and the “Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists” (RUECB) since the dramatic overthrow of the Ukrainian government on February 21-22.
Following initial talks at Kiev Baptist headquarters, RUECB-President Alexey Smirnov addressed staff in a sermon followed by a festive dinner and the signing of the joint communiqué translated below. The primary hosts were AUUAECB-President Vyacheslav Nesteruk and Vice-President Valery Antonyuk.
Back in Moscow on 9 April, Vitaly Vlasenko, the RUECB’s Director of External Church Relations, described the gathering as “fantastic”, the day’s events even included an “interesting” visit to Maidan Square. The 8th of April had been marked by cordiality; Vlasenko noted that “everyone seemed happy to speak Russian”. He also reported that the two-man Russian delegation experienced no complications entering and exiting Ukraine via Kiev airport.
This statement indicates that Ukrainian and Russian Baptists have every intention to continue their long-standing cooperation. --wy
Statement by the Leadership of the Russian and All-Ukrainian Unions of Evangelical Christians-Baptists
„Blessed are the peacemakers . . . .“ Matthew 5:9
We representatives of the congregations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists in Russia and Ukraine have come together to express our common views on issues of major concern to people in our churches and countries. We thereby present a visible sign of support for the possibility of a peaceful dialogue between our churches and nations.
All of our congregations pray continually for peace between our peoples as well as for those who have suffered during the course of the recent political stand-off. We pray for the maintenance of lasting peace and understanding between the citizens of our countries independent of their national and confessional affiliations.
* We express our sincere willingness to pray and support deeds of fraternal dialogue and the promotion of peace in
the Russian and Ukrainian societies
* We appeal to all who are responsible for the future of our countries to hold firmly to the principles of freedom of conscience and confession as well as the non-interference of the state and political forces in the internal life of religious organisations.
* We condemn all acts of violence and brutality against persons as well as the resolution of political problems by military means.
* We appeal to all members of the various religious groups to contribute to the process of forgiveness and agreement between our peoples.
* We mourn those killed in mass clashes on both sides of the conflict, both among the public and combatants.
* We call on our brothers and sisters in the churches of Russia and Ukraine to pray for a peaceful resolution of the political confrontation between our two countries.
* We call on our peoples to make every effort to avoid any provocations, to retain in their hearts love for the neighbour, to respect his human dignity and religious beliefs.
* We are ready, regardless of our circumstances, to cooperate further in proclaiming the Gospel in our own countries and throughout the world.
President Vyacheslav Nesteruk
All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists
President Aleksey Smirnov
Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists
Kiev (Kyiv), 8 April 2014
William Yoder, Ph.D.
Berlin, 10 April 2014
An official release of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. This release may be reprinted free-of-charge if the source is cited. Release #14-04, 531 words.