Mar 02, 2022 | By The Rev. Tom Brooks

At Otterbein UMC in Mont Clare, on Saturday, Feb. 26, members hosted a prayer vigil for the crisis in Ukraine. Otterbein suffered severe damage from the floods in September 2021 as a result of Hurricane Ida. After months of repair work, much is still left to be done They are still not ready to resume services. But when community members asked if they could hold a prayer vigil for the crisis in the Ukraine the church could not say no. 

The service began at 6 PM. We were joined by Rev. Ihor Royik of the Saint Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Phoenixville.  He spoke about how he spent the first 30 years of his life in Ukraine and how his whole family is still there: sister cousins, etc.  He also spoke about how Russia had promised to protect their sovereignty when Ukraine agreed to get rid of their nuclear weapons.  

There were other people from Ukraine present at the service.  

The Rev. Catherine Bowers, Otterbein’s pastor, spoke about how Ukraine became a nation in 1991, and how they have been fighting for democracy ever since.  The lay leader of Otterbein, Dianne Maylen, said that while the people at Otterbein are still struggling to get the building back to a state where they can worship there again,  their struggles pale in comparison to the troubles in Ukraine.  

People asked that we pray for the women, the children and the neighborhoods.  Another person gave thanks for the courage currently being displayed, and specifically for the reporters who were getting the news out. We were also asked to pray for all of us on the planet that our hearts would be openly moved to fruitful action.   

The service closed with singing, ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’.