PODCAST: Baptist Church has Opened its Doors to Ukrainian Refugees Since Russian Invasion (ICH 03.06.22)

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According to Religion News Service, In Chelm, Poland, a dozen miles from the Ukrainian border, a Baptist church has opened its doors to refugees since the Russian invasion began, offering a hot meal, clothing and place to stay. “As we watched news about the expected invasion,” Pastor Henryk Skizypkowski told Religion News Service in an email, “we stepped out on faith and purchased 20 cots, mattresses, blankets, and other provisions in the event that we might be able to help, since we knew we were the first church they would come to after entering Poland. “The very first day of the war, 20 refugees showed up,” he wrote. “We then converted our entire facility into a shelter, purchased more supplies, and have now had 200 every night. The Polish border agents direct the refugees to us.” According to data from the Baptist World Alliance, there were 96 Baptist churches in Poland, with about 5,200 members as of 2017, the latest numbers available. But Skizypkowski’s church and others, working with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board, have committed to hosting about 1,000 refugees. With its extensive network of missionaries around the world, the IMB has had missionaries in Ukraine for at least 30 years, since the country split from the Soviet Union in the 1990s. There were about 2,600 Baptist churches, with more than 100,000 members as of 2017, according to data from the Baptist World Alliance. Last fall, the IMB announced plans to work with Ukrainian Baptists to start missionary training centers in Ukraine. When the Russians invaded, the IMB relocated staff in Eastern Europe, said Paul Chitwood, IMB’s president, who is visiting Poland to assess needs for Send Relief, a humanitarian relief organization, which IMB runs.

According to Church Leaders, After seven months of preliminary hearings, the Vatican’s trial of 10 individuals accused of corruption, fraud and money laundering will continue after judges dismissed final objections by the defense on Tuesday (March 1). According to latest estimates provided by Vatican prosecutors, the Catholic institution was defrauded of more than $242 million through the controversial purchase of real estate in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood. According to the prosecutors, the 10 defendants, comprising Vatican employees, clergy and outside entrepreneurs, colluded to plunder a church charitable fund called Peter’s Pence. Cardinal Angelo Becciu, once the third-highest-ranking prelate at the Vatican, now stands accused of abuse of power, witness tampering and corruption and will be the first defendant to be interrogated as the trial proper begins on March 17. “It’s finally time for truth. The debate begins. I’ve waited for seven months and now I can speak,” Becciu told Vatican reporters after the hearing. “I’m happy,” he added. At the next hearing, the cardinal will answer charges that he sent funds loaned by the Vatican bank and the Italian Bishops’ Conference to foreign accounts belonging to his brother and niece. The cardinal has denied any wrongdoing and said that the money — amounting to more than $780,000, according to prosecutors — was intended for charity.

According to Religion News Service, A prominent Roman Catholic archbishop who faced strong criticism for his handling of the church’s sexual abuse scandal in Germany said Wednesday that he has offered his resignation to Pope Francis following a “spiritual timeout” granted by the pontiff. Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, marked his return to work with a lengthy letter to the faithful in which said he was “not returning unchanged, as if nothing had happened in this time.” Woelki has become a deeply divisive figure in the German church. In September, the Vatican said that Francis had decided to leave him in office but also give the cardinal the several-month timeout after he made what it termed “major errors” of communication. In his letter to the faithful, Woelki said he has “reflected and meditated” repeatedly about his actions and the situation in the archdiocese. He said that he has “made my service and my office as archbishop of Cologne available to the Holy Father, so that he is free to decide what best serves the good of the church.” The Cologne archdiocese said Francis would make a decision on accepting Woelki’s resignation “in due course,” without elaborating.

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!