Baptisms and church attendance on the rise in Ukraine


Eastern Europe


Baptism in Ukraine. Photo chve.org

Baptisms are booming in Ukraine, particularly in hard-hit areas from the war.

According to a report from the Ukrainian Church of Christians of the Evangelical Faith, the northeastern city of Kharkiv saw its churches baptise more than 100 people throughout the wartime period. Russian missiles have left the city nearly destroyed, but record numbers of church attendance and baptisms have provided hope in spiritual darkness. Ilya Gerasim, a senior presbyter of the Kharkiv regional association of Ukraine’s Orthodox Churches, said that most of the church congregants consist of “newly converted people.”

“Now is the most favourable time for sowing God's word and people need it,” he said.

In addition to Orthodox and Evangelical-based congregations, Seventh-Day Adventist churches have also seen high numbers of attendance and baptisms. Stanislav Nosov, who is president of the Ukrainian Union Conference (UUC) said that despite “unspeakable suffering” around the country, the church has turned into “a blessing” for many. So far, at least eight baptisms have been held and over 30 people have been baptised since the beginning of the war.

“We do not know what will happen next. Everything is in God’s hands. But we do know that His hands have blessed us and given us grounds for hope,” Nosov said in the Adventist publication, ANN.

Nosov also noted that he does not see people blaming God as the cause of the war. Rather they are desiring connection with Him in a community of believers.

“There are more people in our churches now than before. The churches that have not been damaged or destroyed are operating as normal, providing Sabbath School and church services to a growing congregation,” he said regarding the Adventist congregations.

Photo AFP, Sergei Supinsky

Over the last three months, Ukrainian Baptist churches have seen over 2,300 baptisms and at least 15,000 new visitors, according to an article posted by the European Baptist Federation News on Baptist News Global. Additionally, hundreds of youths within their summer camps have made commitments to Christ. One church in the southern city of Nikopol saw so many people come to its “evangelistic event” that it had to be held three times on that Sunday. At least 600 people attended, but the church could only hold up to 200 at a time.

Since the start of the war, Baptists in Ukraine as well as the surrounding countries, have served approximately 500,000 people over the last seven months. As winter looms, they expect to serve another half million from the east, as many will not have the means to heat their homes.

“We learn to trust in God, to depend on him, to be perseverant, to love him and the people in spite of all the challenges and threats,” the report said.



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