U.S. National Council of Churches stands 'in solidarity' with Ukraine churches seeking peace and justice
Washington, February 10, 2014 – As tensions in Ukraine continue over whether the nation should move closer to Russia or seek a relationship with the European Union, the U.S. National Council of Churches has praised Ukrainian churches for speaking and acting for “peace and justice.”
Ukraine President Viktor F. Yanukovych triggered widespread protests when he broke a promise to sign far-reaching political and free trade agreements with the EU. Instead, he secured $15 billion in aid from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Yanukovych has sought with little success to ease tensions in the former Soviet Republic, where attitudes toward Russia are bitterly divided.
The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations for the Orthodox Church in America, one of 37 member communions of the National Council of Churches, said the NCC “expresses its gratitude, admiration, and support to the Ukrainian churches.”
Churches in the Ukraine “have spoken and acted for peace and justice,” said Father Kishkovsky, a former president of the National Council of Churches.
“The voices of the Churches have sought to bear witness to non-violence,” Kishkovsky said. “They have also expressed the urgent need for an honest dialogue between government and society, with peace, justice, and democracy as its goal.”
Jim Winkler, General Secretary and President of the NCC, said the Council “asks the Christian people of our member communions to support the Christian churches of Ukraine by prayer.”
“We are in solidarity with the Christian witness to non-violence and justice in Ukraine and around the world,” Winkler said.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 646-853-4212 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org