Image: Marek Charis with his wife, Zofia, and Rick Lewis
by Emily Ferguson
Rick Lewis was all set to represent Fresh Hope at the World Convention of Churches of Christ in Poland when war broke out in neighbouring Ukraine, and millions of refugees began pouring over the border into Poland.
Despite the convention being cancelled, Rick departed for Europe on Wednesday 4 May, due to arrive in Poland on 10 June after first ministering in the UK and other parts of Eastern Europe.
“My trip to Poland was planned partly to go to World Convention and partly to visit Marek Charis, pastor of the Church of Christ in Lublin (Centrum Christian Community), who I’ve been serving as a mentor for the past five years,” Rick said.
“Lublin is in the eastern part of Poland, just 90 minutes drive from the Ukrainian border, and is the first major city refugees come to when they take the highway directly west from Kyiv.”
In partnership with a number of other churches, Centrum Christian Community runs several refugee shelters in Lublin, which Rick hopes to visit during his stay. The church also organises transport for refugees to new permanent homes across Europe and sends large trucks full of goods into Ukraine.
“Daz (Executive Ministry Director at Fresh Hope) had an idea that I could convey greetings and perhaps a financial gift from Churches of Christ in NSW to let them know people on the other side of the world care about them and want to support them. I know that would be deeply meaningful for them,” Rick said.
“We in Australia have some things to offer and much to receive from our brothers and sisters in other nations.
Our friends from other cultures and contexts enrich our understanding of God’s activity in the world and help us stay true to the values which are the unique contribution that Churches of Christ can make to the wider body of Christ.
It’s wonderful to realise we are part of a story much bigger than ourselves.”
Rick will present a love offering from the NSW Churches of Christ to Centrum Christian Community when he preaches there on Sunday 12 June.
Love offering for support work with Ukrainian refugees
Marek Charis ministers along with his wife, Zofia, and their family at Centrum Christian Community, a Church of Christ in Lublin, which is very close to the border with Ukraine.
For the past few months Marek, along with other local churches have been supporting those fleeing the war in Ukraine. You can help Marek by donating a ‘love offering’ in support of Ukraine refugees.