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As Russia's full scale illegal invasion of Ukraine enters its third year, national representatives of Canada’s churches, across a wide spectrum of denominations--Lutheran, Anglican, Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Protestant communities--have signed a “Pastoral Letter on Ukraine, Canada, and the Church,” urging Christians to joint prayer and action for peace in Ukraine.

Demanding an End to War

The Letter's language is unambiguous and direct and calls on Russia’s leaders “to terminate this war, to cease this unjust aggression, end the violence being perpetrated against Ukraine and its people, and recall their military forces from within the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine – including Crimea – immediately.”

Lamenting the massive human suffering and environmental destruction

In their letter, denominational leaders lament the “massive” human suffering caused by the Russian invasion, denouncing especially the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure,  the violations of human rights and freedoms, and "the forced removal of children from their homes and families.” They also lament the enviromental destruction affecting food security and the impact of the catastrophic destruction of the Kahkovka dam which some have characterized as ecocide. 

A Call for Prayer and Action

The letter letter calls "Christians and all people of good will to prayerfully consider how we are all called, and might contribute to, the achievement of peace in and for Ukraine.” In answer to the question, "What is God calling us as Canadian Christian to do?" the letter gives an unequivocal answer: "Whatever we can, wherever we are," and gives six suggestions. 

1. Pray - "First of all we are called to offer our prayers to the Triune God of peace: prayers for the cessation of hostilities, prayers for peace, "prayers for reconciliation, prayers for healing." 

2. Support Ukrainian Refugees "The importance of offering them the hand of friendship and helping foster community both with and for them cannot be overestimated. 

3. Urge Diplomatic Steps Towards a Just and Sustainable Peace in Ukraine - We cannot "overemphasize the need to continue to lobby our government officials . . . to do all they can diplomatically to achieve a just and sustainable peace in Ukraine . . . and to offer continued humanitarian support." 

4. Seek Cooperative Relationships of Humanitarian Support - the letter encourages churches comprised of members of the dominant society to foster cooperative relationships with Ukrainian and Slavic Christian congregations (Easter Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant , Free, Evangelical, Pentecostal or Independent). "These new relationships, forged in the context of suffering, can be nurtured over the long term to the mutual benefit of all."

5. Every Canadian Church is encouraged to bring Ukrainians and their stories into their churches with focused prayer  . . and to support Ukrainian civic organizations by bringing prayer into public gatherings on Feb. 24 (and on other occasions of public witness). 

6. Hope for Reconciliaton - "The aggression and destruction need to stop. The killing of innocent people--including children--needs to stop. Then we can begin to hope for just restitution. While no human court can bring justice as God does, we need the spiritual hope that comes from repentance, truth telling, empathic listening, making reparation, offering forgiveness, building trust, and making new promises." 

The leaders end their letter with prayer: "That the sufferings and innocent loss of life caused by this war be brought to a swift end. We pray that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will be with all those who are suffering, and with us, as we wait in hopeful expectation."

May truth and mercy meet. May justice and peace kiss. (Psalm 85:10) 

You can read the full letter below by clicking on the pdf link.