HomeNewsAugusta Unitarians pray, demonstrate support for Ukrainians

Augusta Unitarians pray, demonstrate support for Ukrainians

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Members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta organized a prayer vigil on March 7 for the victims of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Around 30 people stood along Walton Way Extension wearing colors of the Ukrainian Flag, holding sunflowers, which is the country’s official flower, and waving signs of support.

Nic Filzen, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church, said it was the intention of his congregation to send hugs to those suffering during the bombardment of their country. Commuters passing by blew their horns in support, almost drowning out Filzen as he spoke.

“There are people in this world that care about each other and are getting through all of this together as a community; my faith is alive today,” Filzen said.

Jean Yarsawich is a second generation Ukrainian-American and says the support from the community made her feel blessed to live in Augusta. Yarsawich still has a large extended family living in the beleaguered country and says that, for the time being, her cousins are safe, but she does not know for how long.

Jean Yarsawich is a third generation Ukrainian-America and has extended family in Ukraine. Photo by Scott Hudson

“I am so proud of the Ukrainian people. They are not just rolling over and saying ‘take over our country.’ They are fighting. If my parents were still alive, I know they would be proud. We are Ukrainians, not Russians,” Yarsawich said.

Yarsawich also praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was a comedian and television star before being elected as president of the country in 2019 and has stood defiantly at the front lines since the siege began.

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According to international press reports, Zelenskyy has survived at least three assassination attempts, leading many to compare him to a modern day Winston Churchill, who rallied his people as Great Britain battled a similar situation in World War II.

“I am so impressed. With his background, he could have just rolled over and said, ‘Keep me out of this,’ but no, he didn’t. He has been speaking out, talking with world leaders. He is a leader, and I have so much admiration for him,” Yarsawich said.

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta held a prayer vigil in support of the Ukraine Monday. Photo by Scott Hudson

Ukraine, a country roughly the size of Texas, has endured a week-long invasion by neighboring Russia from air, land and sea. It has been reported that thousands of civilian casualties, rising to the level of massacres, have occurred, which has led to Russian President Vladmir Putin being labeled, by some, a war criminal.

Augusta’s peace vigil mirrors events happening all over the world. According to Reuters, 4,300 people have been detained in Russia for holding vigils and protests against the war of aggression.

Meanwhile, in America, no one was arrested at Augusta’s vigil, but a police cruiser did drive by, and the officer honked the car’s horn in support.

Scott Hudson is the senior reporter for The Augusta Press. Reach him at [email protected] 

2 COMMENTS

  1. First Baptist Church Augusta will host a non-denominational community wide prayer service for the Ukranians Sunday,March 13, 4:00 PM. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the sanctuary overflowing with people of all faiths in support of the Ukranian people?

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