Local churches hold ecumenical service in honor of Ukraine | News
As the war in Ukraine rages on, members of the local community are doing what they can to show their support for the people of the state.
The United Church of Christ of St. John’s and the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration have partnered to hold an ecumenical service to recognize the ongoing struggle of the war in Ukraine at St. Johns, 117 N. 8th St., Shamokin, Sundays at 7 p.m.
Father Mykola Ivanov, who left Ukraine for the United States in 2005, hopes the service can remind people of the power of prayer.
“As a priest, I can tell you this, that prayer works,” Ivanov said. “And there is never enough prayer.”
He said that since the start of the war in Ukraine, he has traveled between different churches in the region to give them copies of a prayer for Ukraine. He first visited Roman Catholic churches in the area and now he will go to St. Johns to share his thoughts, he said.
Ivanov has many family members still in Ukraine and feels a deep personal connection to the war. He said he feared every day that the situation would get worse.
With services from both churches together, they will pray for peace in Ukraine, he said.
Ivanov said it was actually St. Johns Acting Pastor Bob Stoudt who approached him to arrange the service. Stoudt said the St. John’s congregation wanted to do something for the Ukrainian congregation, which started with a letter.
Stoudt said his congregation wrote a letter to say the church was with them, which he chose to personally deliver.
“In doing so, I just crossed paths with the priest there,” he said. “He and I discussed for 15-20 minutes the situation in Ukraine and how our two congregations which are not denominationally related, you know we both exist under the very broad Christian umbrella, but other than that, we have no reason to cross paths.”
After speaking with Ivanov and feeling they had done the right thing by delivering their letter, Stoudt said they wanted to do more.
A few days later, he proposed the idea of holding the ecumenical service to his leaders and community members.
“I hope other members of the community will take the opportunity to be present and express their solidarity with the Ukrainian community, which is certainly alive and well in the greater Shamokin region, at a time when they have desperately need to know they’re not alone,” Stoudt said.
Ivanov said the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration is accepting donations to directly support Ukraine. More importantly, they look for BLEEDSTOP blood plugs, Trauma Paks, and other over-the-counter medications.
Monetary donations can also be sent to the church office at 303 North Shamokin St., PA 17872.
“We must pray for peace in Ukraine,” Ivanov said. “And we expect that, through our prayers, the war in Ukraine will end.”