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Ukraine Update 6

Here is the SIXTH UPDATE from Ukraine.

Here are ways to donate:

The Christian Community in Hillsdale, NY has offered to receive checks and PayPal donations which they will wire to The Christian Community in Germany.  These donations will go to support refugee and humanitarian aid in connection with the war.  If sending a check via mail:

The Christian Community
c/o Treasurer
10 Green River Ln.
Hillsdale, NY 12529
Memo: Ukraine

You may also use their PayPal donation button, but be sure to add Ukraine as a note/instruction.

Those wishing to help Waldorf schools and their families in Ukraine can make donations directly to the Friends of Waldorf Education (Freunde der Erziehungskunst), which has already mobilized a worldwide network of financial and logistic support via its secure website by clicking here.

Non-profit Relief Fund: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ukraine-crisis-relief-fund/

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Ordinations in Toronto

Many people streamed together, not only from North America, also from as far away as Australia. They came to celebrate the Sacrament of Ordination for four individuals who have decided to leave behind the lives they have led and to take up the work of a priest in The Christian Community. They absolved the last phase of their training at our seminary attached to the Toronto church, engaging regularly with the congregation there. Under the leadership of Seminary Directors Revs. Jonah Evans and Patrick Kennedy, assisted by other priests and artists, they prepared themselves from mid- January on for this momentous step. We welcomed three members of the Circle of Seven, the central leadership of The Christian Community, one of whom, Rev. Oliver Steinrueck, celebrated the ordination services. The organizational team, composed of members and friends from as far away as Calgary and Vancouver, took care of a flawless and welcoming venue. All in all, everyone present experienced a heartwarming and inspiring festival. The names of the new priests are Robert Bower (USA), Nigel Lumsden (Great Britain), Damien Gilroy (Australia), and Erica Maclennan (Canada).

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Update from Odessa

Update from Rev. Andrei Ziltsov. Odessa

Dear friends!
Christ is risen! He is truly risen!

Easter this year was a very essential experience! The seriousness of Holy Week was felt much more clearly than usual, especially during the daily Gospel work and the common reading of the Gospel texts at the hour of the death of the cross in front of the altar. And the real miracle was that the joy of Easter is a reality that no war can stand in the way of. The joy was quiet and tender, but very clear and deep, and also the hope for the future was and is really present. Despite that everything else is also present.  Of course, without any confidence that tomorrow something will change radically, but everything will already have a meaning. And the hope that from the graves of souls a new future can rise.

On Easter Sunday we had a human consecration ceremony at 7:30 in Ukrainian and then again at 10:00 in Russian. The first time was due to curfew, which lasted until 6:00 am, and we wanted to give people a chance to arrive on time. At 11 o’clock we could even celebrate a Sunday act with 4 children and afterward, as it is proper, enjoy a festive table. On that day, many people who had not been in the community for a while came to the ceremonies and I was surprised that, despite the fact that many had fled, we had a total of forty “feast-guests” together.

Today is the 62nd day of the war. The events in Ukraine are more and more localized to the east and south, and by south we mean not only Mariupol and Melitopol but also Kherson, Nikolayev, and Odessa. After the sinking of the armored cruiser “Moskva” two weeks ago, the situation in Odessa had become somewhat more relaxed for a few days, although hardly a day or night passed without air alarms or explosions.  And life in the city had become a lot more lively: quite a few people had returned, some cafes were and are open and even some activity can be seen on some construction sites. I was even able to visit a hair salon on my birthday! And then it came again last Saturday: the whizzing of an anti-aircraft missile right over the community center, explosions in town, and the burning of an apartment building three kilometers from us. In the meantime, we had in the house two confirmands, who stayed in Odessa with their parents all the time, and some helpers. The matter especially upset the children but did not prevent them to go for a walk after an hour. And even the task: to find something that gives joy and strength to the soul, – was brilliantly fulfilled. The children enthusiastically told about the grass… and flowers… and even a little lamb. In this way, we prepared for confirmation this year. And on Sunday Dasha and Lola wished that at the confirmation some unoccupied chairs in their row be put down, so that in this way we could include all the other children who belong to the group and are now in Germany, Poland, Spain, and elsewhere. And there it came again: the true Easter spiritual reality: quietly, but surely and inexorably. The feast was a real one and afterward, we could play boisterously and greet the now confirmed young people.
Otherwise, we are in contact with friends in Eastern and Western Ukraine. We offer to move to Odessa to people who are in a worse situation, and it is wonderful to see how Waldorf-anthroposophical life in the west of the country is inspired and blossoms by Waldorf teachers who have come from Kyiv, Dnjepr, and Odessa.

On the streets of the city or in the supermarkets warm short conversations arise with unknown people because everyone is much more open and helpful than usual. It is strange how this exists together, as if in parallel worlds: Attacking troops, who are about 170 km away from Odessa and are constantly shelling the neighboring city of Nikolaev from some “Grad”, “Igla” and whatever the stuff is called; the permanent missile danger from the air in Odessa and the “almost-normal-looking” life in many spots in our city.

The Odessa parish continues to carry the daily rhythm of consecration acts, alternately in Ukrainian and Russian. There are quite a few people from the parish active as volunteers, always doing or collecting something for the refugees or for the army.

We were even able to celebrate a baptism about two weeks ago. Because the godmother came to Odessa for three days and the family wanted to use the opportunity to “give the child a godsend”. It was necessary to quickly look for another godfather, because the “old” one supported the fact of war from the side of the aggressors, if not outwardly, but inwardly. The preparation was fast and turbulent, but at last, we were all allowed to congratulate the happy Vasilisa and her family.

During Holy Week I decided to record daily video sermons. A new experience – to speak blindly “in front of no one”. My wife is teaching two eurythmy students “live” in the parish hall and many others are online 4 days a week. As fate would have it, on the first day of the war – February 24 – I was supposed/allowed to give an online lecture in Forum 3 about Ukraine, later also some talks and interviews with friends in the West. Now it is to go online to the proseminar east to Moscow from 6 to 9 May. During my last visit to Russia, we agreed with Annushka that we should start it there as well. Now more than a dozen students are registered and we don’t want to cancel it either. Am curious!!!

Otherwise, besides the church’s everyday life, I work in the Ukrainian anthroposophical Sophia Foundation. Thanks to many donations from Europe, we have already been able to provide 400 individuals and families with emergency aid. Soon we want to have a flyer printed to appeal for donations in Europe. If any of you can help with printing and distributing flyers as widely as possible in the anthroposophical institutions and foundations, please contact me (or use admin@thechristiancommunity.org)

In this spirit, I greet/hug you all warmly from Odessa and look forward to seeing you again.

Yours, Andrei Ziltsov.
Odessa. 26.04.22

Note: Original available here.

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Update from Rev. Tatiana Nechytailo, Ukraine

Update from Rev. Tatiana Nechytailo, Ukraine

Dear friends,

First of all I want to thank all of you who keep writing, asking, helping and praying with and for us. At the moment, life is happening completely in the present. There are no plans in the conventional sense. On one day, when I thought that it was no longer dangerous Kyiv was bombed again. Again, houses in the city center were hit, again there were dead. For us humans it is important to be able to plan, but planning is now in the category of “luxury”. There are children in the Waldorf school “Sophia”, who can’t go to school because there is always a danger that Kyiv will be bombed, and after the recent events we know it can hit a school, a hospital or a church.

But there is also the other side – being present means always being in relationship with Christ. Never before have I experienced such a strong and deep connection with the spiritual world. He helps us, He is always there, He works with us. This is also felt by the people in the community. In Kyiv, not many people come to the parish at the moment, but they come quite faithfully to the human ordination ceremony and help with all questions.

Our life in the parish has changed a lot. Although we cannot plan, every now and then, after the Act of Consecration of Man, deep conversations arise. I celebrate every day, including three times a week in the parish. We don’t have many altar servers and decided it could be three times a week. Any more would be too much for the altar servers. Every Saturday we have a human consecration service for the deceased. We deal with the biography of these people and share their fates. Every Saturday there is also in this circle of deceased a known person. The war is very close, many men – fathers, sons, brothers – from the school are in the war. Some have already crossed the threshold.

Every person in the community is helping as a volunteer. There is a small bakery, they bake bread for people in the suburbs of Kyiv, where everything is ruined. Some people go to these suburbs every morning and help clean up. It is a terrible job. But this is “a minimum we can do for these people.”

There is a great spiritual longing for understanding – where is the root of this situation, what is our future. We work with history and first try to describe all the phenomena, then to understand them a little bit. To this I want to say that we are offended by the reflections and descriptions of many anthroposophists and Waldorf teachers who understand the situation as “tension between Amerika and Russia”. You are cordially invited to Kyiv and I can lead an enlightening execution myself. Do not forget!

As I conclude, I want to write a request. At the moment there are many people in Kyiv without work and without knowing what awaits us. We get quite a lot of help, but for mental health it is important to work and to know that the work needs someone. My community is very talented, there are many women and men who make beautiful things. If some communities offer and sell our works – it would be beautiful and very healthy. People want to work, just taking money is very hard. If someone can imagine helping make this possible, please write me directly (or use admin@thechristiancommunity.org).

With warm regards and great gratitude,

Rev. Tatiana Nechytailo

Note: This has been edited in very small ways to accommodate translation differences.  The original can be seen here.

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Ukraine: Ways to donate

Here is a summary of ways one can contribute to support efforts:

Non-profit Relief Fund: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ukraine-crisis-relief-fund/

The Christian Community in Hillsdale, NY has offered to receive checks and PayPal donations which they will wire to The Christian Community in Germany.  These donations will go to support refugee and humanitarian aid in connection with the war.  If sending a check via mail:

The Christian Community
c/o Treasurer
10 Green River Ln.
Hillsdale, NY 12529
Memo: Ukraine

You may also use their PayPal donation button, but be sure to add Ukraine as a note/instruction.

Those wishing to help Waldorf schools and their families in Ukraine can make donations directly to the Friends of Waldorf Education (Freunde der Erziehungskunst), which has already mobilized a worldwide network of financial and logistic support via its secure website by clicking here.