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In Ukraine, Adventists share message of hope amid political crisis

Church services have continued in Kiev’s 25 Adventist congregations

In Ukraine, Adventists share message of hope amid political crisis

Protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square February 2 demonstrate for closer ties to Europe and the end of the Yanukovych presidency. Adventist leadership in Ukraine is urging church members to avoid stoking the country’s current political unrest. [photo: AP]

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An outreach event hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine is continuing despite the deepening political crisis in the Eastern European country.

More than 150 literature evangelists, medical missionaries and pastors are in Kiev to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of residents. “Kiev: City of Hope” offers smoking cessation advice, alcoholism support, diabetes management, postnatal health education and eye care. Adventists are also hosting Christian music concerts and distributing books and invitations for further study. Thousands of residents visited healthy nutrition kiosks and hundreds have enrolled in Bible studies.

Meanwhile, Viktor Alekseenko, president of the Adventist Church in Ukraine, is reiterating his call for Adventists to pray for their country and avoid provoking hostility—on the streets and on social media, where he urged church members not to leave inflammatory comments. 

“Rather, encourage people to resolve conflicts peacefully,” Alekseenko said. Adventists, he added, should find ways to express their civil and political positions within the confines of law and respect for individual rights.  

Months of large-scale demonstrations in Ukraine have led to violent clashes between protestors and the police in recent weeks. On Sunday, opposition leaders called for intervention by the international community, the BBC reported. 

Protestors continue to call for President Viktor Yanukovych to step down and for closer ties to the European Union. Unrest in Ukraine began in November when Yanukovych shelved a planned trade deal with the European Union in favor of a loan from Russia.

No Seventh-day Adventists have been arrested or injured during the ongoing conflict, local church leaders said. They also reported that worship services have continued uninterrupted at Kiev’s 25 Adventist congregations.

“Kiev: City of Hope” runs through March and culminates in a 10-day evangelism series. 

There are nearly 52,000 Adventists in Ukraine worshipping in some 900 congregations and 300 groups.