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Pastoral Message on the Invasion of Ukraine

by | Feb 24, 2022


At the time of this writing, Russian airstrikes have impacted twelve major Ukrainian cities, and tens of thousands of Russian troops and tanks have invaded the borders of the smaller nation. Significant fighting and damage has been reported in Chernobyl, where radioactive waste could again poison the region. Surely already, many military personnel and civilians have been severely injured or killed.

Our Unitarian Universalist faith challenges us to affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations (our Second Principle), the use of the democratic process in society at large (our Fifth Principle), and the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all (our Sixth Principle). Though we may not be able to have a direct impact or influence on the war Russia has begun, we are not powerless. We can actively call on our elected officials to protect Ukrainian civilians and work for a solution to this conflict that honors both peace and freedom. We can be careful to avoid believing and sharing disinformation and “fake news.” We can offer our care and support to Ukrainians in our local community, and resist assuming all Russians and Russian-Americans agree with the choices of the Russian government and military. And, we can root ourselves in our personal and communal spiritual practices to retain a peaceful presence in our day-to-day lives.

For parents in our community, please reach out to me, Jenna, Sara Elizabeth, or Laura if your children are struggling with this frightening news and if you’re struggling to talk with them about what’s happening. Our national denomination, the UUA, has resources online about talking with kids about traumatic events, and NPR released a piece today with similar suggestions.

Please know that all those who are in need of pastoral support at this time are welcome to be in touch with me, Jenna, or our Pastoral Care team members.

I leave you with this beautiful prayer penned by queer Euro-American UU minister Rev. Jenn Gracen:

Spirit of Life and Love,

Our hearts are aching today

As we watch fear and terror

Being inflicted on Ukraine.

We pray from afar,

Seeing people flee in fear,

Praying in the streets,

Gripped by an uncertainty

That echoes in our hearts.

We have known uncertainty

And fear these last two years,

And while we are aware

It is nothing like war,

We are reminded of our tie

To the humanity of those

We have never known.

We pray for the parents

Trying to protect their children.

We ache for children

As forces outside their control

Shatter their world.

We ache

For those doing what they can

To flee the movements of nations.

And we pray

For those who cannot flee.

May the world not turn its face

Away from this pain.

Even in those moments

When we, as individuals,

Must rest our spirits,

May our thoughts and prayers

Become actions

That end war

And the threat of war



Catie Scudera