MDR News Ukraine

Moravian Disaster Response Information Regarding the Ukrainian Crisis

This page will include current updates on Moravian work surrounding the Ukrainian crisis. Please scroll to see older updates. You will find information on how you can help on the bottom of the page.

 

Update: May 18th, 2022

After Unity Board Meetings in Liberec, Czech Republic last week, BWM Executive Director Justin Rabbach had the opportunity to visit Nová Paka and meet with some Ukrainian guests and their Czech hosts. Our brothers and sisters in Nová Paka expressed deep gratitude for the support they have received from Moravians in the US and Canada. With the blessing of these gifts and God’s grace, they have been able to complete the renovation of 15 rooms/apartments for Ukrainian families, including providing furniture and appliances. They are continuing with this project by renovating some additional space for housing and opening up space in the church building and school for Ukrainian students to continue their education. We are pleased to share how we have seen the congregation in Nová Paka do such tangible ministry through your generosity as well as the support of European Moravians and the local Nová Paka community.

As we celebrate this blessing, we are aware of continued opportunities to support other Moravian efforts related to the Ukrainian crisis (stay tuned here to hear more about this work). We also recognize that refugee resettlement needs are likely to grow as more people around the world are displaced due to war, political unrest, climate change, and natural disasters. The BWM will continue to monitor needs as they arise and support the work already underway throughout the Moravian world. To support refugee resettlement work, including during the current Ukrainian crisis, please follow the giving instructions below.

Those in the US can send checks to: Board of World Mission, 1021 Center St., Bethlehem, PA 18018 or make your donation online at MoravianMission.org/Give. Please use the memo line to indicate that your gift is for “Refugee Resettlement.”

Canadians can send checks to: Moravian Church in Canada, 600 Acadia Drive SE, Calgary, AB T2J 0B8. Interac e-Transfer donations may be sent to [email protected] In the comments section, please mark this donation as “Refugee Resettlement” and include your name and address to receive a tax receipt.

 

Update: May 5th, 2022

We have received an update from our brothers and sisters in Herrnhut, where 100 Ukrainian women and children have found shelter, hospitality, and community. The following update is from Rev. Jill E. Vogt, pastor of the Herrnhut Moravian Church.

Three hundred years ago religious exiles from Moravia arrived in Herrnhut seeking a safe place to live their lives in peace. In this anniversary year, Herrnhut is once again providing shelter and community this time to over 100 women and children from Ukraine. As refugees began arriving in Herrnhut at the beginning of March, many citizens from Herrnhut and its surrounding villages banded together to offer hospitality and shelter to our guests. Divisions that had arisen during the Covid pandemic were quickly erased as people from different churches as well as the town gathered in meetings to share information and opportunities so that the Ukrainians would have a safe and healing place to live. Particular attention is being paid to physical needs like housing, clothing, communication, health care, and the help to master necessary bureaucratic hurdles, educational needs for the children as well as language help for adults, and social needs such as recreation, chances to meet together and the establishing of friendships and building of relationships.

There are many different ways that we in our Herrnhut Moravian congregation are engaging with our guests. Our music directors offer a weekly musical program for children, and our youth choir includes Ukrainian youth. It was moving to hear our youth choir singing in church some songs in Ukrainian! In the Zinzendorf School (our Moravian high school), about 20 kids are taking part in classes such as art, music, English and Phys Ed. One of our members, a teacher who is fluent in Russian, provides critical communication with the young students. 

Because the Ukrainians (many of them coming from a big city) are spread around in the surrounding villages, we felt it was important to offer an opportunity for our guests to spend time together and to have the chance to meet people from Herrnhut. To that end we created Café Odessa. Every Wednesday afternoon we invite people for coffee, cake and soft drinks. Board games have proven to be a wonderful way to bridge a language barrier and bring people into contact with one another. For the Ukrainian youth, our youth room is open one afternoon a week with a similar offering. There are also German classes for those who are interested.

At this point we do not know how long our guests will be with us. As summer approaches we will need to think about programs for the children as well as other ways of supporting families. While all of the guests who were initially staying at the Moravian Guest House are now being housed either with families or in their own apartments, there are still many others who are in provisional quarters who will need more permanent housing. Also, as the seasons change, these families will need appropriate clothing as they all left their homes with very little. As the fighting in Ukraine continues, we could expect more refugees to arrive in Herrnhut.

The response to this crisis has been heartwarming and overwhelming. Differences that once divided people have been overcome as we come together to care for our Ukrainian neighbors. Just as the first families that came to Herrnhut 300 years ago found a place of refuge, safety, and freedom, so we hope to share that legacy today.

 

Update: April 12th, 2022

Please enjoy this video created by a young Moravian in Nová Paka, Czech Republic. It is wonderful to hear directly from some of the Ukrainian families who are being hosted at the congregation’s hotel.

In addition to this video update, we would like to share that we continue to send funds and receive updates from the European Continental Province and the Czech Province. We have received news that Moravians in Herrnhut, Germany are hosting about 100 refugees.

 

Update: April 1st, 2022

To date, we have received close to $100,000, and we thank you for this critical support.  We have sent initial funding to the Moravian congregation in Nová Paka, Czech Republic, who is renovating space in a hotel they own to house up to 15 families. They are also hosting a Ukrainian primary school, allowing them set up classes for the children.  In addition to this, we have sent a donation to the Czech Moravian Province for them to distribute to other Czech Moravian congregations that are hosting families.  

Moravian congregations in Germany are also sheltering refugees, and we have sent monetary support to the Moravian European Continental Province to assist congregations in places like Herrnhut, Königsfeld, Ebersdorf, and Cottbus. The money that we collect will help these congregations provide food, shelter, hygiene products, household essentials, school supplies, and transportation for these families.  Through these tangible means, the love of Christ is being shared as these families are also being offered places to worship and Christian community.

 

Update: March 25th, 2022

The congregation in Nová Paka has welcomed more families to their hotel and to the wider community. They spent a wonderful Sunday service together. The children from Kyiv have started their school again in the building where the congregation used to meet. Then they stay for the after-school club so that they have a chance to get to know the children from Nová Paka. The plan is to host about 13-15 families in the hotel depending on family sizes. Additional families are also being connected with and housed in other apartments throughout the town. Photos below show the Ukrainian families engaging in the life of the church and continuing their school programs.

We also continue to receive updates about other efforts taking place throughout the Czech Province and other Moravian areas in Europe. As more information becomes available and funding priorities change, we will continue to share updates here.

Update: March 21st, 2022

Jiřina Kaletová, a member of the Moravian congregation in Nová Paka, Czech Republic, shared a video update about their work welcoming Ukrainian refugees. The first families from Kyiv arrived last week and worshipped together yesterday. More families will be arriving today. Please continue to pray for the many people affected by the violence in Ukraine as well as those who are working hard to provide safe refuge for victims. Please watch and share this video widely.

 

Update: March 18th, 2022

Please share this update video widely in your worship services, on social media, and on your websites. Ukrainian refugees are beginning to arrive in the Czech Republic and Moravian congregations in the Czech Province are providing compassionate hospitality. Thank you for your generous support of their ministry. We are pleased to report that we have received over $40,000 in donations from Moravians throughout the United States and Canada. We will continue to send donations to the Czech Republic on a regular basis as funds become available.

 

 

Update: March 17th, 2022

Matching gift opportunity: The Union Cross (Southern Province), and Lititz (Northern Province) Moravian congregations have informed the Board of World Mission that they will each donate up to $5,000 towards our effort to assist our Czech Moravian friends in providing compassionate hospitality to Ukrainian refugees fleeing violence in their homeland.  The Moravian Congregation in Nová Paka has been in possession of a largely vacant hotel for several years without knowing what to do with it.  Now they know, and they are working hard to make final renovations on rooms even as the first refugee families are arriving on their doorstep.  The Union Cross and Lititz congregations feel blessed to be able to offer these donations and would love to match your gift up to $10,000. Can your congregation help us to multiply their gift?  How can your congregation rise to the challenge? If you would like to participate in this matching challenge, please follow the giving instructions below in the “How You Can Help” section. Please contact BWM Director of Mission Engagement, Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler, with any questions — [email protected] or (610) 868-1732.

 

Update: March 11th, 2022

We have received a statement from the Synod of the Moravian European Continental Province on the war in Ukraine. Please click the button below to read.

Additionally, BWM Director of Mission Engagement, Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler, shares the latest updates in the video below. Please feel free to share this video and to use it in your worship services as it is helpful.

 

 

Update: March 10th, 2022

On Wednesday, March 9th some of the Ukrainian brothers and sisters had a chance to visit the hotel and see the spaces where they could stay. They expressed excitement at the prospect of being able to be together in a town like Nová Paka. Additionally, linoleum has now been laid throughout one of the floors. The picture below shows Czech and Ukrainian brothers looking at the rooms (with the new linoleum).

Additionally, the mayor of Nová Paka has been engaged in this process and is helping to provide the congregation with beds for the rooms. Things are coming together quite quickly and Bohdan, the pastor, is working hard to manage the renovations. Jiřina, the pastor’s daughter, shared, “I believe God has a plan for this and it is actually interesting to think that God might have prepared us and the hotel space for such a time as this.” Below are more photos of the current state of the hotel as they make renovations to three floors.

 

Update: March 9th, 2022

The Moravian congregation in Nová Paka continues to work on making any necessary renovations to their hotel to make the space as livable as possible. The war in Ukraine changed the vision for the use of the hotel when several members of the congregation came up with the idea of offering the accommodation to refugees. The congregation had already been working on renovations slowly, but since the invasion in Ukraine, they have been working faster and targeting the renovation on rooms.

There are three floors of five rooms each with en suite bathrooms and a shared kitchen. Recently, the congregation invested in new windows as the old ones leaked rain and snow. Right now, the goal is to finish at least two floors of the hotel — that means 10 rooms and bathrooms as well as the kitchen. Bohdan Čančik, the pastor, spoke to the regional office about hosting refugees and they said to finish the reconstruction and then they would send refugees to be accommodated in the hotel. In the meantime, the congregation got in touch with some of their Ukrainian partners who run an International Christian Kindergarten and Primary School in Kyiv and are currently somewhere between Ukraine and the Czech Republic. These partners are looking for a place to settle and continue their work with the children and families that escaped with them. Since the congregation in Nová Paka also has a kindergarten and primary school, they are looking into ways to open some space for these partners and offer them accommodations, classrooms, facilities, and tools to continue their work. This all depends on them being able to finish the hotel. Some of the costs associated with this renovation include linoleum for the floors, painting the rooms, installing hydrants and fire extinguishers to be in line with safety codes, and more. The photos below are from this Saturday, when the congregation and some people from town gathered to work on the renovation. Everyone was included; those who could do some professional work did that, others cleaned, washed windows and lamps, etc.

 

 

Update: March 5th, 2022

The Moravian Board of World Mission (BWM) invites your compassion and prayers for the people of Ukraine who are suffering because of the Russian invasion.

On February 24, 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Since then, Russian troops have moved across the country, occupying essential elements of the Ukrainian infrastructure. Attacks on civilian targets have been widespread, and likely will continue. Many Ukrainians are fleeing the country with their children to seek safe harbor. More than 670,000 Ukrainians have already crossed into other countries in search of safety from the violence.

BWM has already sent $5,000 to our partners at Church World Service, who provides critical refugee resettlement assistance. CWS has reliable contacts within Ukraine and neighboring countries now receiving these refugees.

The Czech Republic is among the countries receiving these refugees, where our Moravian friends in the Czech Province are already providing hospitality. One of these families arrived after a 24-hour journey with only one suitcase. Their hosts ask your prayers for Vasiliy and Lesa and their children Alexander, Mark, and Daniel. Additionally, the hotel pictured above is owned by a Moravian congregation and is being prepared to house additional refugees in the near future.

The BWM is currently in conversation with those coordinating these efforts in the Czech Republic, and donations will be forwarded to our Moravian friends in support of this effort.

 

How You Can Help:

For ongoing updates please visit MoravianMission.org. For further information, contact the Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler at [email protected] or 610-868-1732.

Those in the US can send checks to Board of World Mission, 1021 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018. You may also make your donation online at http://moravianmission.org/give/ and click on the green “Give” button at the top of the page. Please use the memo line to indicate that your gift is for “Ukraine.”

Canadians can send checks to: Moravian Church in Canada, 600 Acadia Drive SE, Calgary, AB T2J 0B8. Interac e-Transfer donations may be sent to [email protected]. In the comments section, please mark this donation as “Ukraine” and include your name and address to receive a tax receipt.

Your support changes lives.

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