05 May 2022

We pray together for Ukraine

Behind a heavy wooden door, inside a Methodist chapel in north-west Poland, two families are being given protection and comfort from the war.

Chodziez is a town of around 16,000 souls some 300 miles from the border with Ukraine.  This small, United Methodist Church is typical of those in Poland who have opened their doors and hearts to provide sanctuary, safety and a warm welcome to guests who have left their homes in Ukraine, fleeing bombing and war.

Yulia and Olga are two mothers who left Lviv by bus with their young children and headed for the border. Hearing the sound of bombing they feared for their families.  They had to pack fast, taking only what was absolutely necessary, only what they could hold in two hands. They went to friends in Warsaw, travelling for 24 hours along with their children, Yulia’s mother and their possessions. In Chodziez they were provided with clothing and food, help to secure work, healthcare and government support.

Andrzej Malicki is Superintendent, “It’s a huge challenge for our churches, which are quite small. We can’t host too many guests, maybe five or ten. But we have opened our homes and churches to them where we can.  We don’t call them refugees; we call them our guests. We try to organise work, accommodation, funds, and to help in all ways possible but no one knows how long this will last.  



“We share what we have. We’ve been lucky to get so much help from other churches in Europe and the US, who’ve been hugely generous in sending funds to help us.”  

Although the accommodation may be a little cramped, the families are happy and thankful for what they have.  “This is different from home but we are delighted to worship and be part of this congregation. God is the same in any church. Lviv was once a Polish city, so there is a very good relationship between us - many of them speak Polish and they understand our ways. We are praying the war will finish soon and we can go back home to our lives, our families.”

Pastor Krzysztof Kłusek, minister at Chodziez said, “We are a small congregation and it’s a difficult time for us all, but the tragedy is bringing us all closer together. We are all keen to help, support and sponsor our guests. I feel confident that everything will be fine and they will be happy.”

“Many Ukrainians cry when they see their flag outside a Polish church, and written upon it, in both languages, “we would like you to pray with us.” This indicates it’s a place to find peace, to give your troubles to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Other guests staying in the town have seen how friendly our congregation is, and regardless of denomination, they want to stay and pray with us. We have organised some services in the Ukrainian language.”

“A bigger town might offer more possibilities, but in Chodziez we are like a big family, and we look after our newcomers.”

The Methodist Church in Britain and All We Can are running a joint appeal for projects and organisations who are supporting those who have fled Ukraine. For more details and to donate:  Ukraine - All We Can




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