During the time of Lent congregations of German Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Ukraine collected offerings for the purposes of social ministry, namely, for a shelter for homeless – “Harbor” – curated by a partner organization of GELCU –“House of Mercy”NGO.
The shelter was founded in 2020 in the village Andriivka of Kyiv region. Since then, 30 homeless people in distress, who were found by volunteers of the organization on the streets of Kyiv and other towns of central Ukraine, have taken there their refuge. Most of them were able to renew their documents and pensions, and gradually returned to their lives in the society. Some of them left the shelter, some reside in “Harbor” permanently. In addition to that, 15 boarders of the “House of Mercy” went through a confirmation course and joined Evangelical-Lutheran Congregation of St. Martin. The congregation set up its subsidiary in the shelter with a serving preacher – Sergey Berezin. The importance of this ministry was recognized by the GELCU Administration and a decision was made to send the offering collected by congregations during Lent to the “Harbour”shelter.
“We are very much grateful to our friends from German Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Ukraine, who collected around 13,000 UAH for the “Harbor” shelter during the time of Lent before Easter. It is even more precious, since the donation was made not only by congregations of large cities, but also those in small villages, where most of parishioners are elderly people, whose source of income is their minimal pension. Friends, thanks to you our shelter is provided with groceries at least for three months! It is a great help for our boarders and our work in general!” – wrote Igor Shemigon – a pastor of St. Martin congregation and a staff worker of the “House of Mercy”.
GELCU adopted the tradition of such collections from Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Bavaria. In the past, the offerings made by Bavarian Lutherans made it possible to purchase a few buildings for congregations of our Church, and to implement a lot of social and educational projects. It is a little but crucial step towards maturity in social ministry for GELCU – a small association that still does not have access to church property and finds itself in difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic.