By JOHN KEREZY, Eye on Cleveland founder (see note at end)
BROADVIEW HTS., May 18 – As Day 85 since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine approaches, the horrors of the war grow greater and greater.
According to the United Nations, almost one-third of all Ukrainians won’t be sleeping in their own beds tonight. More than 6.2 million of them have fled their country and have received refuge in adjacent nations. Poland alone is providing a temporary home to more than 3.3 million refugees.
Even more Ukrainians have left homes in war-torn Eastern Ukraine for sanctuary in Lviv, Lutsk, Rivne, Ternopil Ivano-Frankivsk, and other cities in Western Ukraine. The UN estimates that as many as 7.7 million Ukrainians have become displaced due to Russia’s brutal atrocities.
People are fleeing our of fear, and for good reasons. Evidence is proving that ruthless Russian soldiers, ignoring all rules of war, killed at least 3,000 unarmed and innocent civilians in Eastern Ukraine. Hundreds of Ukrainian women have been raped. Countless numbers of homes have been destroyed in indiscriminate artillery shelling and aerial bombings.
The world has NEVER witnessed human catastrophe happening so rapidly on such a gigantic scale. Here is a comparison: About the same number of people (13 million) were displaced or became refugees in the 11-year-old Syrian civil war as Ukraine has suffered in less than 90 days.
How is one church – one congregation – responding to such an unprecedented disaster?
Slavic Full Gospel Church in Broadview Heights continues to show the love of Christ and strives to do all it can to help the battered and oppressed people of Ukraine. A church of about 300 attendees, with many from Ukraine themselves, Slavic Full Gospel has raised and spent more than a quarter of million dollars for relief and rescue purposes.
The church and its members have:
- Sent tons of relief supplies to Ukraine
- Collected emergency food, medical and other supplies which are being sent more than 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in shipping containers
- Flown to Ukraine to help provide food and medical aid to those in refugee centers and displaced person camps (church members took more than two tons of relief supplies in 200+ bags of checked luggage on their mission trips)
- Sponsored more than 15 families who have come to Northeast Ohio after receiving State Dept. Temporary Protected Status.
“When Russia’s horrific invasion began on Feb. 24, we soon saw the full scope of the atrocities and devastation happening in Ukraine,” says Roman Skalsky of Slavic Full Gospel Church in Broadview Heights. Once a refugee himself 30 years ago, Skalsky and his family are filled with compassion for the plight of Ukrainians.
“Soon we began taking two offerings at church each Sunday, one for our operations and a second exclusively for refuges relief. We began gathering first aid kits, tourniquets, and even bulletproof vests to help protect those we know and love against Russian soldiers,” Skalsky adds. “When we went to Ukraine in early April, we talked with eyewitnesses who saw Russian brutality against civilians first-hand.”
Even as Slavic Full Gospel responded with money, hands and help, the situation in Ukraine grew worse. The church began providing funds to purchase airfare and help refugees escape the horror. One such refugee, Katya, and her 11-year-old son Yaroslav, received asylum in the U.S. after a Russian solder killed Katya’s husband Maxim on March 25. Here’s a link to Katya’s story: https://eyeoncleveland.com/2022/05/08/ukraine-widow-spending-first-mothers-day-without-husband-more-than-5000-miles-from-home/
To help continue its relief and rescue efforts, SFG is holding its second “Pierogi Fund Raiser” on Saturday, May 21. The public is invited to stop by at the church, 5851 E. Wallings Road. Perogies will be available for any donation. Also, the church is accepting bulletproof vests and household items (such as chairs, tables, dressers) which will be provided to refugees as they establish homes.
For details, visit the Slavic Full Gospel church website at www.sfg.church You can contribute there, or by showing up at the church from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
SOURCES AND OTHER DETAILS
NOTE: Editors/Reporters interested in learning more about Slavic Full Gospel Church can reach Professor Kerezy at 234-542-4487. He is assisting Slavic Full Gospel as a volunteer from Cuyahoga Valley Church, consistent with Galatians 6:10