On 16-18 of May, the bishop of GELCU Pavlo Shvarts was in Geneva on a working visit to the headquarters of the Lutheran World Federation. During the visit, he met with LWF General Secretary Rev. Anna Burghardt and other employees of the organization responsible for various areas of its work.

Pavlo Shvarts spoke in detail about the situation in Ukraine, as well as the current needs of the GELCU. He also shared his vision of the Church ministry in the changed circumstances. He expressed his gratitude to the LWF for the help and support they gave to the GELCU, thanks to which the Church was able to maintain its structure and render organized assistance to those in need, and also for the enormous contribution of the Federation to the ministry to refugees from Ukraine in neighboring countries. The bishop also voiced a desire of the GELCU to have representation in the LWF as a national church, rather than through the Union of the ELC.

Left to right: LWF Regional Secretary for Europe, Rev. Dr Ireneusz Lukas; LWF General Secretary, Rev. Anne Burghardt; Bishop Pavlo Shvarts, German Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Ukraine; Ms Kateryna Nikonorova, assistant and interpreter to the Bishop. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay

During the visit, the bishop discussed with the different departments of the LWF issues of humanitarian work, information security, and theological understanding of war and peace.

Pavlo Shvarts summed up his thoughts at the conclusion of the visit: “We are very grateful for the support the Lutheran world community provided to our Church and the people of Ukraine! The crisis caused by the war is not only a local problem but has global implications. This means we must use our resources wisely and responsibly to help those in need. People fleeing the horrors of war need the Gospel, which can give them support and hope for the future. It is the preaching of the Gospel that distinguishes us from other humanitarian missions”.