Before the tragedy happened in Lviv, I had the chance to visit some of the other United Methodist churches. I've already written about my experiences at the UMC in Chernivtsi. Here is a bit of insight into the other churches I visited.
Serednje is the newest member of our United Methodist connection here in Ukraine. The congregation is comprised of Roma people. People use the term gypsy - but this often has negative connotations. On our way to the church, my translator and I stopped at a store on the way to the Roma camp village. The shopkeeper yelled at us for helping "those dirty gypsies."
Preaching at this church was one of the greatest honors of my life. As a general rule I refuse offers to preach until I have visited a church at least once. I don't like the fact that many churches will let any American in their pulpit - and I love hearing the sermons that our pastors preach. But, our District Superintendent told me that I would be preaching at this church and then sent me out the door to preach! During the ten minute car ride, I put together a sermon. The church was wonderful. The people were kind and open. The pastor is so humble and gentle.
|Pastor Vladimir playing guitar.|
|It is so wonderful to have church outside.|
|The pastor blesses a baby as he prays for the sick children.|