26 YEARS OF PARTNERSHIP WITH KYIV

As we reach the second anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, we remember our sister church in Kyiv, Spring of Life UMC and their outreach programs. Donations provided by our church and greater community provides humanitarian aid, support for LightHouse Makariv, a free rehabilitation center for children living with disabilities, and resources for three refugee shelters in Western Ukraine run by Pavlo Osypenko. For twenty-six years, our two churches have been in relationship. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ as they wait and work for an end to war, and give to our special collection to support Ukraine.

BUMC has been in ministry in Kyiv, Ukraine, since BUMC hosted six Russian children and a chaperone for two-and-a-half weeks in the summer of 1998.  With donations from almost 300 members, BUMC helped purchase a building for Spring of Life UMC’s ministry, which houses Spring of Life UMC’s congregation and the Kyiv UMC Center which has a ministry to children and families at risk.  Mission teams from each country have visited each other’s churches and homes, forming lasting bonds.
 
Thus, we at BUMC are especially heartbroken over the situation in Ukraine.  Apparently, most of the members have fled Kyiv for safer areas in Ukraine or other nations in the E.U.  The church building, itself, is being used as a bomb shelter in the city. Meanwhile, one of the leaders who visited BUMC several years back, Pavel Osipenko, fled with his family to western Ukraine, and wrote with an update.  He said, "To help migrants from dangerous regions of Ukraine, we organized a place for temporary residence in a local school. Today is the end of only the fourth day of our work, and we have already sheltered 86 people, and last night 62 people spent the night at the same time. There are many small children among them."
 
As Lead Pastor Brad Dulaney said, “Please continue to pray, and also to give to support our special collection to support Ukraine.”

In Christ,
BUMC Kyiv ministry team
*be sure to notate that the donation is for the kyiv ministry team*

Interview of Pavlo Osypenko
Director of the UMC Shelter in Ushgorod, Ukraine.

Pavlo Osypenko describes how the UMC shelter was formed in Ushgorod in response to the Russian invasion and the stories of hope he has found in the midst of it. He offers his gratefulness to UMC partners around the world. (Pavlo's responses are in English Subtitles).

UPDATES

  • In December of 2023, a gift of $10,000 (from the Ukraine endowment) was sent to Spring of Life church in Ukraine. They wrote a letter saying, "There are no words to express all our gratitude to you for your sensitive hearts and support. For us, this is God's hand at work."

  • On the day before Easter, 30 families from BUMC and Spring of Life from a half dozen countries gathered together on a Zoom call to share experiences from the past year.  We listened to an outpouring of personal stories of pain and gratitude.

  • Pavlo sent this Video, thanking BUMC for our support of the shelter in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

  • Here is a Video from Pastor Vladimir and Mila featuring their ministry in exile in Poland.

  • Alex and Yaroslava sent us this slide show of Ukrainian refugees growing the faith in Germany.

  • Urs Schweizer, Assistant to Bishop Streiff, of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe, shared an update on the Anniversary of the conflict.

Last year’s Christmas offering recipient was the BUMC Ukraine ministry.  

In January, we received this note from Viktoriya:

Dear Minnis and team,

I am pleased to confirm that Viktor and Natalia Dudarskiy paid back the loan last Thursday. This fact brought a freedom to them that they did not feel from last spring. January will be the first month when Natalia receives the full salary without deductions for the loan coverage and can afford purchase of necessary minor household items that they could not before. They are so grateful to God and friends for new opportunities. This and next week they both have birthdays - Natalia turns 54 and Victor turns 71. Such a timely gift!


Sending you love and gratitude from the family of Dudarkiy and all of us!

Here is a video link from the rehabilitation center for disabled children Lighthouse in Makariv expressing gratitude for Christmas gifts we sent.  The team made an effort to purchased gifts individually in order to address those children's particular dreams. You can see some happy faces at the end of the video.

We received notes and pictures from members of Spring of Life UMC thanking us for our gifts and support.

Last year over $39,000 was raised between when the war began in February and November.  Half of this money went to UMCOR for direct assistance, and half was held back for future use.  The plan was to employ it for rebuilding efforts, but none of us knew the war would go on so long and cause such devastation.  Russia has destroyed about a third of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, creating immediate needs as outlined by our Ukrainian sister church, Spring of Life UMC:

  • 40 sleeping bags
  • 40 power banks
  • 30 solar powered lanterns
  • 10 camp stoves
  • a gas generator for the church building in Kyiv, which is still being used as a shelter during raids

A collection of pictures of some items we were able to provide our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

BUMC's Ministry with Ukraine written up in the Roanoke Times.

BUMC featured in a Series Celebrating the Ongoing Connections Between Virginia Conference Congregations and Congregations in Ukraine and Russia.

Here is a letter from Pastor Validimir, of Spring of Life UMC, from September 1.

Pictures of United Methodist Standing with Ukrainian refugees in several bordering countries and shelters in Western Ukraine.

See how donations to UMCOR are directly helping people from Ukraine and what is giving our partners hope.  Hear how our partners are encouraged by the support they’ve received, where they see God in the midst of suffering, and what you can pray for right now.

Here is the covenant between Blacksburg UMC and Spring of Life UMC.

Learn more about how UMCOR is helping in Ukraine.