Thousands of Ukrainian Christians Find Comfort in Polish Baptist Church | Baptist life


“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

This verse embodies the Chelm Baptist Church’s response to Ukrainian refugees who have made long and arduous journeys outside their homeland and are overwhelmed by the loss of life as they knew it in Ukraine.

The Polish town of Chelm is located 26 km from the Ukrainian border. Pastor Henryk Skrzypkowski and members of the Chelm Baptist Church opened the Christian Transit Center for Ukrainian Refugees and welcomed over 2,000 refugees. The center has beds for 200 people, and its registration office and kitchen are open 24 hours a day. Many refugees arrive in the evening, looking for shelter and a place to sleep. The church also provides the necessities. Some refugees stay for a hot meal and a rest before their journey. Refugees are directed to Polish Baptist camps in other cities.

Pastor Henrik Skrzypkowski and members of Chelm Baptist Church prays in the church sanctuary for Ukrainian refugees who are taking refuge after fleeing their country. Photo by Martin Linza

Sasza is one of many refugees who have found solace in the center. Sasza traveled to Chelm at the start of the exodus and before the enactment of martial law, which requires men 18 and older to remain in Ukraine. The 20-year-old Polish believer came to the Christian transit center with his sisters and his mother. His father stayed in Ukraine to fight.

Sasza’s family has since moved to another town in Chelm, but Sasza has remained at the center as a volunteer. He receives the refugees who arrive. He speaks Ukrainian, a little Polish and English and overcomes language barriers for other volunteers.

“His attitude is encouraging for all of us here. He never takes praise for himself, but gives all the glory to God,” said Joanna Marcyniak, a Baptist volunteer from Poland.


Sasza, center, is a Ukrainian refugee who chose to stay at the Chelm Baptist Church Christian Transit Center. He stayed to offer his service to other Ukrainian Christians. Pastor Henryk Skrzypkowski, right, introduced Sasza during a church service. Photo by Martin linza

Marcyniak attends a Polish Baptist church in the city of Poznań and has volunteered to run the church’s Facebook page and post updates.

In addition to serving those who come to them, this week the church sent two cars to the border with medicine and food.

On March 6, for the first time in church history, the Chelm Baptist Church Sunday morning service was not held at their sanctuary. To continue the Christian Transit Center ministry, the service was held at the Chełm Community Center. The worship service opened with “Amazing Grace.”

The lyrics of the third verse were about Ukrainian refugees.

Through many dangers, labors and snares

We have already come

It’s Grace who’s kept us safe so far

And Grace will take us home

During the service, Skrzypkowski spoke about Matthew 14, where Jesus fed the 5,000. He said we might be tempted, as the disciples were, to send people away.


A Ukrainian child sleeps in the sanctuary of Chelm Baptist Church as adults pray for arriving refugees. The church has welcomed more than 2,000 refugees from Ukraine. Many stay in the church for a night or two before going to visit relatives or friends or to Baptist camps equipped to receive refugees. Photo by Martin Linza.

This marked Marcyniak.

“Jesus did not send the hungry to pack their bags. Although we may be tempted to wash our hands of responsibility, that is not what Christ teaches us. We want to be closer to Jesus and the kingdom of heaven, not this world,” Marcyniak said.

Skrzypkowski shared in his post what stood out to him was how Jesus organized the diet. Jesus asked the disciples to organize the crowd into small groups to meet their needs. The Chelm Church is working on this, and the call is spreading around the world, Skrzypkowski said. He called for unity and organization in the days and weeks ahead.

“We have to get organized. I don’t mean just Chelm, I mean everyone Christian,” Skrzypkowski said.

“We need to employ more people,” he continued. “We need to establish relations and cooperation in the countries where the refugees are going – Latvia, Germany, the United States and other countries. They have to trust us, and we have to trust them, that people will join you through our ministry, that they will be safe and that they will have a new life.

During the service, church members had the opportunity to listen to volunteers from the United States, Latvia and Ukraine. Austin Duffey, of NewSpring Rally Church in Anderson, South Carolina, and Justin Brenensthul, of Grace Baptist Church in Brunswick, Ohio, spoke.

Both were among the first volunteers to arrive.

Thomas, a representative of the Latvian Baptist Union also shared.

“When I came here I was just amazed at what you have done. You have turned your church into a home of hope and love,” he said. “Volunteers and staff work tirelessly.

“Maybe it really took a tragedy like this to wake up the sleeping giant that is the Church of Christ, I’m just happy that we are united by this love that we have received from God and that we may serve others in need,” Thomas said. .

Thomas shared from Matthew 25:37-40. “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and Did we welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the king will answer them: Verily I will say, as you did to one of these least of my brethren, so you did to me.


Members of the Chelm Baptist Church pray at their sanctuary which has now become a safe haven for refugees. Photo by Martin Linza

Thomas encouraged those present at the service to live these verses.

“Everything you do has eternal value – all the cooking, all the cleaning – and I believe the people of Ukraine can see and feel that. Although they are scared, frightened, panicked and worried, after a day or two in your church, they are relaxed; They are welcome. It is the kingdom of God.

The church was not charged for using the center on Sundays.

The – mostly non-Christian – community of Chelm rallied behind the church. A pharmacy provides medicines free of charge. Hotels and restaurants provide food for free and others have volunteered their time and services.

“We can see people all over the city are moved by the magnitude of the actions of this church,” Marcyniak said.

Church members and Christians meet frequently to pray for Ukraine in the church sanctuary. Prayers and songs are voiced in several languages ​​- Polish, Ukrainian, Latvian and English.

“We want to encourage one another with the Word of God and trust in his boundless grace and mercy. We sing, listen to testimonies and together we entrust our daily worries and struggles to him,” Marcyniak said.

The Chelm Baptist Church has asked Christians to join them in prayer for the following:

–Good organization of Polish churches, so that refugees can be accommodated properly and safely

–Communication with the Western world as well as with Ukraine.

“God give us strength and we are grateful for your every prayer,” Marcyniak posted on the Facebook page.

To follow the ministry of the church, visit their Facebook page.


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