In the midst of International Education Week, an event hosted by Spiritual life on Thursday, Nov 17 focused on the crisis between Ukraine and Russia.
Since February 2014, the war between the two Eastern European countries has been an ongoing fight for respect and sole independence of their territories. Hostilities initiated by Russia after Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity were focused on the political status of Crimea and the Donbas, which are internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.
In 2021, the Russian government felt threatened by NATO expanding east towards the Russian Federation borders and acquiring fourteen new members of the USSR republics and allies.
Guest speakers Scotty Colson Esq., Coordinator of Continuum of Care at Jimmie Hale Mission and Honorary Consul for Ukraine in Alabama, alongside Frederick Ankai-Taylor, senior pastor at the Church of the Risen Christ in Vinnitsya, Ukraine, both spoke about their efforts to assist the Ukrainian community and gave advice on what individuals can do as Christians.
The 45-minute lecture followed by the addition of questions at the end aimed to provide insight into the current situation in Ukraine and the eight-year-long history of tension between the two countries.
As the event opened up, speaker and alum from the Cumberland School of law, Scotty Colson, referenced the book “When Good Things Happen to Good People” by Harold S. Kushner and correlated the content with the focused approach, “When Bad Things Happen to Good Countries.”
“As Christians, we have an interesting view towards war, towards violence, and towards defense, which has led to a debate in Christianity throughout its time of how we handle this issue,” Colson said.
In response, the speaker emphasized excerpts from the book and how evil intent is everywhere throughout the world, which places a responsibility on Christians to stand together and rely on each other for help.
After a video presentation titled “6 Months of War?” by Ankai-Taylor, it was clear that assistance from other people can impact another person’s life in ways that some people may not commonly think of at first. Providing simple resources such as food, sleeping arrangements, clothes, and safety, can drastically change people’s lives.
“This war has convinced Ukrainians that the U.S is a friend and not an enemy, and if it hadn’t been for the influence of the US, it would have been more difficult for Ukraine during this crisis,” Ankai-Taylor said.
In addition to relying on others during adversity, a question from the audience about what we can do individually to show our support during this war was met with a simple but powerful response: prayer.
“Individuals can pray and pray every day,” Ankai-Taylor said. “Also I think individuals should educate themselves more on the war because it is still ongoing.”
Sophomore Nathan Windlam shared his thoughts on the event as a whole.
“I’ve heard a lot about the Ukrainian situation in the news and from people close to me, but I haven’t really gotten to hear from official sources before. [It] was incredibly enlightening to see that they had experienced the crisis and provide an in-depth account,” Windlam said.
Furthermore, Windlam appreciated the way both speakers addressed the role Christians play in the face of tragedy and injustice when our faith calls us to make a difference and provide for those who need it.
“It was pretty much perfect, we got to really stand against aggression like this in the face of pure evil and I think that needs to be rectified.”
During the final moments of the event, both speakers extended their contact information for anyone interested in getting involved in other ways besides prayer. Scotty Colson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and Frederick Ankai-Taylor can be reached by email as well at email@example.com.