In late July, authorities in Ukraine’s Lugansk region declared on their website that they have banned activities of the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, calling the churches “extremist.” Forum 18 reported that armed men have been raiding Baptist churches and other religious communities, halting worship services and seizing literature. A UECB spokesman said that he had seen no court documents or other legal orders about such a ban, though officials forcibly closed some churches including one in Molodogvardeisk in June. Worship services were halted in Gorodyshche, as well as a related medical ministry that helped needy people in the region. Courts have been handing down fines of several weeks’ average wages to punish the worshippers.
This tragic situation vividly underscores the dangerous situation in the eastern conflict zones in Ukraine, where separatist forces and Ukrainian government troops are still fighting. The churches SGA serves are committed to proclaiming the Gospel in these regions, and ministering to the humanitarian needs of the people regardless of what happens in the political world, and until peace comes. Pray for the safety of missionary pastors and church teams in the region. Also please pray for more Crisis Evangelism Fund resources to equip the churches for outreach.