An imprisonment ‘deserving of our outrage’ (Updated)
Update: Igor Kozlovsky is free. The Ukrainian professor and church leader…
Pro-Russian separatists have seized a second meeting place of a Church of Christ in the eastern Ukrainian city of Gorlovka, a minister told The Christian Chronicle.
In late May, separatists interrupted Sunday morning worship at the Central Church of Christ in Gorlovka and evicted its members. The facility also was the home of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Ukraine, an extension program of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver.
The latest incident — involving a different Church of Christ in Gorlovka — began on a Saturday as a member of the congregation arrived to clean the church’s meeting place, said Valery Kolchik, a member of the congregation.
“She saw a white minivan in the yard,” Kolchik said “and three armed men, wearing military uniforms, came out of the building. She asked them who they were and what they were doing in the building.
“They asked her the same thing — and told her that she should be worshiping in the Orthodox church. They suggested (that she) leave and never come back, mentioning that they need the building, so it belongs to them. All (of this) was a great shock for our sister.”
The next day, Sunday, church members arrived to find the building’s locks broken and the meeting place looted. The Christians previously had removed money and important papers from the building — after learning of the takeover of the Central church’s facility.
Thinking that the armed men may have been thieves and not separatists, the church members continued with their Sunday worship. By Monday, however, the separatists had replaced the locks and seized the building, Kolchik said.
Church members have appealed to government authorities for help and are in constant prayer.
“What has happened to the church building is the result of very deep spiritual and political problems in our region,” Kolchick told the Chronicle.
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