Partner churches and organizations from across the globe gathered in Budapest between the 14-15th July to attend the Ukraine Future Conference, initiated by the Reformed Church in Hungary in cooperation with the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia (Ukraine).
The consultation brought together trusted partners, having offered increased financial and spiritual support to the Ukrainian people and churches throughout the war, to share their concerns for Ukraine in the face of the Russian Federation’s onslaught of violence and aggression. In addition to condemning the violence, the consultation acted as a unique forum, gathering diverse perspectives to generate a productive discussion on the churches’ role in pursuing peace-building efforts in Ukraine.
The consultation’s panel presentations honed in on how Christian principles form and inform models of peace, justice, and reconciliation in war-torn contexts. The panel presenters themselves reflected a broad spectrum of experts. The first panel outlined ongoing ecumenical efforts throughout Europe toward just peace and reconciliation. The second panel included voices from the Middle East and South Korea, highlighting valuable insights into how a Christian vision for just peace should guide us even during war and crisis. Presenters from the Middle East reminded us that the path to reconciliation demands we respect the dignity of all human beings.
In the third section, panelists from various churches in Ukraine discussed the obstacles to dialogue and peace-building within the Ukrainian context and how churches proceed with their efforts toward just peace. Participants emphasized the need to listen to the experiences and expectations of the people of Ukraine, knowing that reconciliation cannot be imposed from the outside. While discussing the situation of minorities in Ukraine, participants underscored that the future of the country includes the wellbeing of all of its citizens.
Participants reaffirmed their commitment to journey in continued solidarity with the people of Ukraine. They prayed together with churches in Ukraine for the future of the country. In addition to the consultation on Saturday, partners had the opportunity to visit western Ukraine. They worshiped together with the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia, and learned about their ministry in response to the outbreak of the war.
Participants came from churches in Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lebanon, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, South Korea, Switzerland, Syria, the United States, and Ukraine. The church organizations represented were the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Communion of Protestant Churches in Europe, and the Conference of European Churches.