UK churches pray for peace in Ukraine

(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Rosary beads hang on a barricade in Kiev's Independence Square, Monday, February 24, 2014.

A service is being held in Manchester on Sunday in support of Ukraine as the country continues to grapple with instability. 

Irena Pistun, coordinator for Hope Greater Manchester, said: "There has been bloodshed, families destroyed in Ukraine and current tensions are a serious threat to diplomatic relations in Ukraine.

"We hope, as we create new links with each other during these difficult times and churches begin to unite through prayer and fasting across the world, we can create one 'peace' at a time". If churches can unite there's hope for us all."

The 'One Peace At a Time' service has the support of the Maranatha Community and HOPE 2014, and is taking place at the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Manchester at 3pm.

Dennis Wrigley, of Maranatha said: "We are calling on Christians to fast for half a day on 30 March in respect of the grave situation in Ukraine. Just cutting out one meal in the day and all snacks.

"Fasting is one of the most neglected spiritual admonitions though both Moses fasted and Jesus fasted especially so during difficult times."

Manchester is home to one of the largest Ukrainian communities in the UK.  Some of the city's Ukrainian residents staged protests each Sunday in the city centre in solidarity with the demonstrations that took place in Kiev in recent months. 

Prayers of peace will be offered for Ukraine at the service and participants will also be fasting for God's hand to be on Ukraine as uncertainty continues to hang over the country. 

Similar services are expected to be held at other churches in the city and Salford Cathedral.

Father Volodymyr Sampara, a Ukrainian national who studied English at Cambridge University, will host the first One Peace At A Time service.

He explained how heartened he was by the approach: "Our members will be touched by the move to pray and fast together with other churches in Greater Manchester.

"I'm pleased to be doing the service in English too as a mark of deep respect to our host country and our guests from other churches."

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