Things seem to be taking a turn for the worse for churches and ministers in Eastern Ukraine. Below is a translation from a letter that recently came from the Central Baptist Church in Krasny Luch. You can read the original in Russian here.
September 22, 2015 at the Central Baptist Church in Krasny Luch, Lugansk region representatives showed up from the so-called “Ministry of State Security LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic)”.
They behaved incorrectly and accused the church of sectarianism and parasitism. They also accused the church of defrauding money from parishioners and of being uselessness to society. They demanded that they come the following day to the government office with the church constitution, accounting books and a list of members.
However, the ministry of the Church of the Krasny Luch has always focused on the spiritual and social needs of the people. The community, both during the war and before the conflict has been responsive and has provided practical assistance to anyone who needed it.
From the church’s point of view since its founding there has always been the lonely, the elderly, orphans, families with many children, and poor families. Often the church has helped provide food and other needs to patients and staff of the hospice in the city hospital, “the Princess.” For the past fifteen years the church has organized a shelter called “safe haven” for older women who are alone.
For children from disadvantaged families twice a week classes are held in the center of “Uncle Tolley’s Cabin”, which teach children the necessary life-skills, they take care of them and feed.
Since the beginning of hostilities church has actively been involved in the work, which is to meet the daily social needs of the citizens. Anyone who did not have food, went to the address: Krasny Luch P. Pollana St. #16 knowing that this is where the bread they can get bread and get a good word! Three times a week, Christians provided free lunches to all those in need and gave each a loaf of bread.
Also the church was given responsibility for a number of disabled people with limited mobility – they personally assisted them.
Once in the town there were serious problems with drinking water, once again the church responded by opening wide the gates of its cozy courtyard where the well was located. Hundreds of locals freely drew water for their needs.
Returning to the incident, the accusations today by the representatives of “LPR” are limited to oral complaints. Representatives of the so-called “Ministry of State Security Lugansk People’s Republic” checked and made photocopies of the constitution and financial documents, and strongly suggested to re-register the Church in the LPR.
Moreover, they also demanded lists of church members. When the ministers refused to provide this information, they began to threaten, warning about possible negative consequences. It was a reminder: “Have you have forgotten the Soviet Union era?”
Please pray for those who in their ignorance are preventing the church from fulfilling her mission and purpose – they all need God, for their salvation, our Lord died.
Press service of the All Ukrainian Union of Churches, Evangelical Christian Baptist