Prayer for Peace from Methodist Bishops

The following letter was sent from Bishop Eduard Khegay and Bishop Christian Alsted calling the church to prayer concerning the difficult situation in Ukraine and how it affects Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil.1:2)

In a time of turmoil and unrest in Ukraine and other European countries we write to You, the people called Methodists in the Nordic & Baltic and the Eurasia area to encourage You to continually devote yourselves to Christ in prayer for peace and understanding among the peoples of this world.

Many things divide the earth’s population – nationality, culture, language, economy, ethnicity, gender and age, however the kingdom of God has always been a realm that despite of all gathers people together in mutual love in Christian community. While the political winds are shifting, the church is called to be a fellowship not of this world and yet sent into this world to reflect the self-sacrificing life of Christ. (John 17: 16, 18) This is by no means an easy task, and we continue to be challenged by the ever changing circumstances under which we live, as we seek to interpret and live out what the church should be, a redeemed and redeeming community.

As United Methodists in the Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference we are bound together in a covenant to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Our mission is along with other Christians to be part of Christ’s redeeming and transforming work in people’s lives, in the society and in world, rather than only to be successful and recognized. To “spread scriptural holiness” is to grow together and as Christ followers intentionally influence the society “to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God”. (Micah 6:8)

Jesus said to his followers: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives.” (John 14:27) Trusting in this promise we ask our churches to unite in prayer…

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is error, truth;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek

To be comforted as to comfort;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in forgiving that we are forgiven;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


May we as the United Methodist Church be such an instrument of peace always reflecting the love of Christ.

Christ is risen; He is risen indeed.

Eduard Khegay Bishop of the Eurasia area

Christian Alsted Bishop of the Nordic and Baltic area


[originally posted in 2001]

I met Paulina during the summer of 2000 in one of the non-ambulatory wards at the children’s home in Pavlovsk. She is ten years old, with severe cataracts–as far as I can tell she can see when the light changes but can not see any distinct forms. She does not speak; she does not walk; she is not able to bathe or feed herself.

When I first saw her, she was sleeping, all curled up with her arms over her face–closed to the world. I sat next to her and began to play the guitar. She heard the music and was at first unsure how to respond, then she broke into a very large smile and stretched her body out in a very graceful way. I think she would have been a ballerina if she did not have her disabilities. Her response to the music was wonderful to see. Then, she reached out to me and pulled my hand toward her and held it against her chest for a long time. It was an honor and a pleasure to pray for her as she held my hand. I prayed for her spirit to be at peace, I prayed blessing on her. I prayed that she would be great in the kingdom of heaven, since she is so “low” here on earth. That is the way God has built creation: those who are last shall be first.

I went back to visit her at every opportunity. The second time I played for her, I moved the guitar so that it touched her body–this allowed her to feel the resonance of the instrument. She reached out to the guitar and held on to the instrument to feel, as well as hear, the music. God has given me comfort through this music, and I know He also comforted Paulina as I played. Even though we don’t share a language, and she can’t see my face, the music connected us–two people connected by a gift of God. This is a very holy thing.

The Austin team has provided supplies to help her as she lives in the orphanage, but just as important is our being there to serve her through human contact, by loving her. The workers there do the best they can–they obviously care for the kids, but the work is overwhelming for them, and they can not give each child the attention a person needs; we are called to love them with the love of God.

Paulina is one of 140 children in the non-ambulatory wards at the orphanage. Please pray for her.

Update: I visited Paulina three years after first seeing her. She is growing!! The nurses at the orphanage say that she loves music! She is blind and does not speak, but at least she is now able to sit in a chair and move some. When I first met her, she was bedridden. I’m not sure how much she can understand around her. Both of her grandmothers visit her, but her parents now live in New York–they’ve abandoned her because of her disabilities. To think that she’s been in this orphanage since she was a baby, and she’ll be here until she turns 18 and is sent to an adult facility.