Dear Ministry Partners and Friends,
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! And greetings from Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine, where there is sense of joy and excitement in the air. After a cool and rainy spring, the summer sun is out and the city parks are filled with flowers and blossoming trees. At long last, the school year has finally ended; after celebrating the last day of school with a party and sladskiy stol (sweets table), the children of our Family Center and across the city have hung up their school uniforms. The kids of Kyiv are now happily playing outdoors during these long summer days, when the sun sets late and the sky remains bright until well past 10:00 pm each evening.
In addition, during the month of June, the eyes of Europe are upon Ukraine, which together with neighboring Poland is hosting the European football (soccer) championship. After the World Cup, this international tournament is the largest and most important in the soccer world; national teams from 16 European countries will be competing throughout the month, with the championship to be decided in Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium on July 1. The Ukrainian people are excited to serve as co-host for this important tournament, and to receive their European neighbors in the best tradition of Ukrainian hospitality over the coming weeks.
At the end of June, as the soccer tournament is wrapping up, I’ll be heading to the United States to begin a speaking tour of United Methodist congregations that in recent years have been supportive of my mission service and the ministry of the United Methodist Church in Ukraine. Every few years, Global Ministries missionaries from the United States serving overseas return to the US for a period of “itineration,” speaking to local churches about missions and raising support for specific ministry projects in their areas of service.
During July and early August, I’ll be traveling across the eastern part of the US, visiting churches in urban and rural communities in a number of different states. Some of these congregations are “Covenant Relationship” partner churches; they give a certain amount of money each year to Global Ministries in support of my mission service, and pledge to uphold me and my ministry in prayer throughout the year. Other churches I will visit provide financial support for my ministry project, the St. Luke’s UMC Family Center in Kyiv, or for other Methodist initiatives across Ukraine.
I’m looking forward to visiting these congregations! I’ll spend time with old friends who have lent their prayerful support for my ministry over many years, and I’ll have the chance to meet new partners who have only recently made a commitment to support United Methodist mission work in Ukraine. Please keep me in prayer this summer as I undertake this period of itineration, that God would bless this important time of reconnection with our partners in mission across the US.
Lastly, many of you know that for the last few years I have also been involved with an initiative of the World Council of Churches, serving as convener for World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel. This initiative seeks to encourage and equip congregations, community groups, and people of faith around the world to pray, educate, and advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel. In 2012, this week of peace was observed from May 28 through June 3; during these seven days, a wide range of events and activities were held in at least 25 countries around the world. A complete list of activities that took place during the week can be found at the 2012 Events page of the initiative’s website, worldweekforpeace.org.
So, my friends, many thanks to you for your support and encouragement! I pray God’s blessings upon you and your loved ones in this summer season. And I look forward to seeing some of you during my coming period of itineration.
May the peace of Christ be with you all!
Rev. John Calhoun, Missionary of the General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church, Kyiv, Ukraine
The General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church welcomes your US federal tax-deductible donation in support of its officially recognized mission projects:
• Advance # 14054A, Kiev Street Children Ministry (the original name of the St. Luke’s UMC Family Center ministry)
• Advance # 13970Z, Global Ministries missionary John Calhoun
• Learn more about Global Ministries’s Covenant Relationship program