Updated: Mar 20
The Vineyard has been church planting in the Ukraine since 2006 It has been a long hard journey, but the spirit of the Ukrainian people is indominable.
Initially we planted:
· 2 churches in the Crimea, one in Simferopol and one in Sevastopol/Lubimovka both of which were annexed in 2014 with the Pastors having to leave quickly. The churches did survive in a reduced form and currently exist on occupied territory. They do loosely relate to the Russian Vineyards, but legally they cannot associate with the Ukraine.
· A Church in Kremenchug which is still going and Pastored by Sasha and Lena.
· A Church in Odessa which closed after a few years, but we have just recently started a small group there with a young couple Katya and Pavel.
· A Church in Kyiv which has had a chequered history with us and is now no longer part of the Vineyard, but out of that we have planted the current Kyiv Vineyard Church called ‘New City’ church pastored by Denys and Olga, helped by Russell and Masha.
· In 2021 we planted a church In Lviv lead by Vasiliy.
· In addition to that we have walked along side Jed and Kim Johnson who run a Ministry in Zhytomyr called Wide Awake, rehousing, and rehabilitating older severely disable orphans. It is a beautiful thing to see.
· We also have a small project in Vinnytsia run by Ruslan and Marina
What is happening now as at 8th March 2022.
Well, it is a very fluid situation and changes by the hour.
· Denys and Olga and their son have finally manged to get out of Kyiv and are holding out in a church hall in the Zakarpatiya region. Denys is a theology lecturer at a seminary Kyiv and has taken 40 seminary students with them
· Russell and Masha have also managed to get out of Kyiv with their three young boys. Masha and the boys have now found their way to England to stay with Russell’s parents. Russell in the meantime is in Poland trying to buy a van for relief work and is going back to Lviv very soon, as his operating base.
· Sasha and Leana are staying in Kremenchug spend much of their time responding to sirens and staying in the bunker.
· Vasily in Lviv, with his group of people is doing all he can to minster to the refugees that flood through the city.
· Ruslan and Marina in Vinnytsia are staying put for the time being, Ruslan has volunteered to go and fight in the war.
· Katya and Pavel and their son Vlad are still in Odessa, they try to do what they can to support others, but the situation worsens by the day.
· Jed and Kim and all the Wide Awake team stayed for as long as they could, but Zhytomyr started to take direct hits from bombs and missiles, some targeted at military sites others resulted in the indiscriminate killing of civilians and damaging the local hospital. They had to relocated 44 people. Most of them are now in Romania, then Jed and Kim and 6 children drove on to Germany in a non-stop Journey, without sleep, which took 34 hours.
Practically, there is also an immediate need for finances, so with this in mind, we are building a fund in the UK and Ireland, which we will use for the following purposes as the story unfolds:
1. Immediate relief for our churches and any benevolence that they can practically express.
2. Extraction of certain people, particularly the vulnerable, women, and children from the war zone areas.
3. Partner with certain humanitarian organisations where appropriate such as Humedica, Tearfund, Red Cross.
4. Help in the rebuilding, post-war, of the churches and their mission in Ukraine.
The funds will be restricted, but we want to let you know that if it outgrows what sits comfortably within VCUKI, we will then want to be free to use such funds through other organisations which might have more structure on the ground for distribution, as we have done in the past with Tearfund.
If you would find it useful to your church, you can process giving within your church and then transfer it to VCUKI for distribution or give directly.
We want you to know that there is no compulsion to give, but there has been a large number of enquiries to us, and we wanted to write to you all with the necessary information should you find it helpful for you and your church as you consider ways to respond.
The details for giving are:
Account Name Vineyard Churches UK and Ireland
Account number 80285048
Sort Code 40-25-49
SWIFT/ BIC HBUKGB4187W
Thank you for your continued support of our brothers and sisters, as they live through this war.