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Peace doves paint from Tegucigalpa

An invitation to stand in solidarity with Ukraine

When Presbyterians know more about a conflicted region of the world, we do more. We walk the path of Jesus as accompaniers. We pray. We march and advocate. We partner with those working for a just peace.

Our hearts are tuned to the Ukrainian people as they suffer under the Russian invasion orchestrated by President Putin and his cabinet. Families are torn from each other by death or forced migration. We see refugees in taxed neighboring countries providing food, shelter, and safety as they wait to return home. We feel a heaviness for the Russian people, many of whom oppose the war and have lived under brutal regimes, still fresh in their memories.

With this resource, “A Sowing of Peace in Ukraine,” we invite congregations, presbyteries, synods, and all people embraced in communities of faith to join in a concerted effort for education, worship, and actions until the war is ended.

In this set of resources, you will find worship resources including prayers, litanies and music. You will be invited to choose actions of advocacy and expressions of solidarity. You will learn using creative ideas around film, art, music, and food as well as traditional learning options. Together, let us sow the seeds for peace in Ukraine.

August 24 is Ukrainian Independence Day, celebrating the day that Ukraine was formed as an independent nation upon the 1991 Soviet Union collapse. On the Sundays before or after this holiday, or on August 24 when it falls on a Sunday, we invite congregations to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people and call for an end to the war in Ukraine through worship, education, and action. As the scriptures encourage us, “there will be a sowing of peace” in Ukraine.

To begin, and as a container for this focus, consider including a weekly peace candle as part of your worship experience. A simple symbol of light, perhaps a Russian icon of the much loved St. Michael, the Archangel, perhaps a sunflower, and one of the included litanies for peace. Consider using Ukrainian art, music from a Ukrainian composer, and prayers and litanies for peace. We will provide suggestions.

A sowing of peace in our world requires planting, watering, fertilizing, and a good portion of sun to produce a harvest. And we are the farmers in these fields. We want to know we have done what we can to contribute to the well-being of God’s beloved children in Ukraine and those scattered in the diaspora.

This first installment provides a candle lighting litany, a body prayer for Ukraine to be used with all ages, suggested music, and an educational icon for reflection. Suggestions for action include supporting relocation efforts and Ukranian artists and banning cluster munitions.

This second installment includes a Godly play story, a brief history of events that led to the war in Ukraine from mission co-worker Ellen Smith, a story about one of Ukraine’s favorite foods with a recipe to try, and an introduction to one Presbyterian Disaster Assistance partner in the region working with refugees.

This third installment focuses on Christmas, one of the most beloved and spiritual seasons in Ukraine, and our spotlight is on education. Included is a sampling of beautiful traditions about Christmas Eve (Holy Eve or Sviata Vecheria), the compelling spiritual symbolism imbued in a memorable family meal, a Ukrainian Christmas folk song that has made its way into our lexicon, and more.