Praying hands, helping hands

New Apostolic Christians have reacted with solidarity and compassion to the war in Ukraine. All European District Apostles are calling for prayers for the casualties and for peace. Meanwhile, the relief organisations are preparing to provide aid.

“It is important that we pray for our brothers and sisters,” District Michael Ehrich says. The New Apostolic Church Southern Germany, which he heads, looks after the administrative and pastoral care of the 75 congregations in Ukraine with their 4,500 members. The Apostle responsible is Antoly Budnyk from Lviv.

“The news of the war in Eastern Europe has shocked us and our heart goes out to the suffering people,” District Apostle Rainer Storck wrote to congregations in Western Germany. “My thoughts are with the people and our brothers and sisters in the region.”

Praying for all those affected

“Our hearts go out to the people who are affected by this war and we pray for a swift end,” District Apostle Rüdiger Krause of Northern and Eastern Germany wrote in a circular. “Let us pray that the hearts and minds of those in charge will be steered in a peaceful direction.”

“What is happening is inconceivable, is causing a great deal of suffering and distress, and is leading to a humanitarian crisis,” District Apostle Jürg Zbinden of Switzerland wrote to the brothers and sisters in his working area. “Please pray for our brothers and sisters, for all those affected, but also for those responsible so that through wisdom and reason, peace, calm, and humanity can once again reign in the region.”

Not just on our doorstep

“As Christians who profess their faith, it is simply part of our identity to see our neighbour in those who are suffering—regardless of whether his or her fate is playing out close to home or far away.” This is what District Apostle Wolfgang Nadolny (Berlin-Brandenburg, Germany) says, who just returned home from a pastoral trip to Russia this week.

“Even with a war on our own doorstep here in Europe, we should not forget that, sadly, there are armed conflicts in many countries of the world that define the daily lives of the people. The media often do not report about this. Just think of the African continent,” says District Apostle Ehrich. “All these people are close to our hearts, and we intercede for them in heartfelt prayer.”

Aid organisations on standby

“It is important to intercede for the suffering, but we can do more,” District Apostle Zbinden made clear. “A humanitarian crisis of as yet unforeseeable proportions is looming on the horizon.” Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly mothers and children, are already seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. Experts estimate that there will be several million refugees.

Meanwhile, the New Apostolic aid organisations human aktiv, NAK-Humanitas, and NAK-karitativ are preparing to provide active support. The situation in Ukraine and the bordering countries is still unclear, so the unanimous message from there. It will take some time before aid can be coordinated in a targeted manner. The organisations are in constant contact with each other and with their local partners.

Against any form of violence

Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider last made it clear in July 2017 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, what the New Apostolic Church’s position is on armed conflicts: “The New Apostolic Church rejects any form of violence! That is the position of our Church. That is my position as Chief Apostle, and it is the position of the gospel.”

The participants of that service understood this message only too well. After colonial rule, dictatorship, and civil wars, the eastern part of the country has now been struggling with an armed conflict between various militant factions over raw materials needed for the production of rechargeable batteries. This has been going on for decades, and massacres and mass rapes are the order of the day.

Photo: surachat -

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Andreas Rother
Aid agencies, International