Lighthouse “Fire of Hope” chaplains burn in Ukraine

25-26 January 2013 at the Kiev Theological Seminary held its first annual conference of chaplains “Fire of Hope” took place, which, together with the Ukrainian took chaplains from the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, Lithuania and South Korea.

The main speakers at the conference, which was attended by a whole 72 people were: Bruce Galen Kittleson (president of IGO «Olive Branch International», Virginia, USA), Valentine Korenevych (Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, President of the IGO “Olive Branch” dean of Pastoral-Chaplaincy Faculty of Kyiv Theological Seminary, Kyiv, Ukraine), Don Kramblit (captain II rank U.S. Navy helmsman Chaplaincy of IGO «Olive Branch International», teacher KTS, Colorado Springs, USA), Valery Trufanov (Lt. UAF, chief chaplain of the Church of God of Ukraine President of IGO “Ukrainian chaplaincy,” board member KSF “Coast of Hope”, Alexandria, Ukraine), Nicholas Dudko (Lt. UAF, teacher KTS, vice president of IGO “Olive Branch” helmsman Hospital service IGO “Olive Branch”, Cherkassy, Ukraine ), Jeanne Szegeda (wife of an officer of the Armed Forces, the head women’s service IGO “Olive Branch” active public and Christian activist, Gostomel-Irpen, Kiev region).

In addition, the conference was attended by chaplains and social and Christian leaders from Mykolaiv, Odesa, Cherkasy, Alexandria, Kharkov, Mariupol, Kyiv region, Lviv (Brody), Lugansk, Kherson, Svitlovodska, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnitsky, Mariupol, Kirovograd, Novograd Volynsky. Most were representative delegation from Alexandria (twelve persons) and Russia came Colonel Vyacheslav Shelest (Moscow, Russia) and three chaplains, acting in defense of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The conference was attended by many interesting and original people: in particular, co-founder of the GO “Novomedia” Ruslan Tkachuk, executive secretary of the Spiritual Council of Kyiv citizen Sergei Ubohov young promising public Christian figures and musicians and more.

Understand what challenges exist now for military, hospital and prison chaplain and for public Christian organizations understand where humanity is on its way and whether it is in the right relationship with God’s covenant and why it is so. How and where we go, we represent an ideal picture of the future. How, what and when the chaplain may serve their fellowmen. These questions troubled chaplains above.
Unfortunately, our society has virtually left to itself: it is under the guise of “spiritual freedom” produced anything that spirituality and religiosity that actually leads to spiritual unscrupulousness and leveling concepts of conscience and morality, which discharge traditions of love for God and our neighbor as themselves moved into the postmodern plane: escape itself, each escape, who as you can. This “freedom of belief in anything” (and especially as teaches spiritless environment in itself) in practice ends for so many of our fellow hospital, prison, death – but at least loneliness, pessimism and a sense of futility today and complete hopelessness future. Light a redeemed diseases, socio-political crook, mortal sin, poverty and other troubles spiritual fire of hope in others – that’s the mark that should be chaplain, which is why, in fact, was devoted to the international conference.

Although, admittedly, it, in this society, at this historical path segment, and the word “chaplain” was found in well-known reasons 70-year Soviet slavery, forgotten and now the general public is not clear. Who is a Chaplain? What he can and what he has done for society, for their own country, to his closest, ultimately, the environment? Chaplaincy since has appeared in Europe in the fourth century AD. Once winter soldier Martin Turovsky saw a beggar who agonized about the path from the weather. Although at that time Martin was not a Christian, something prompted him to action, and soldiers tore his cloak in half (cap) and gave beggar. Night Martin had a dream: a soldier’s mantle piece, dedicated to the salvation of beggar, was wrapped Someone, not human – Jesus Christ himself. Since piece caps became the flag and symbol of all kinds – material and spiritual – assistance to his neighbor and the world have appeared chaplains (medium caps) and the chapel (places for worship).

Despite the fact that the act of Turov Martin passed sixteen centuries, the task of those who call themselves chaplains today have not changed. The conference “Light of Hope” president of the IGO «Olive Branch International» Bruce Galen Kittleson really, in my view, accessible, concisely and completely gave the definition of modern chaplain, “Chaplain – is someone who is always moving forward in every way physically, spiritually or morally wounded person. ” Kittleson and other speakers Christians, urged participants of the forum and, in fact, everyone who wants to be a chaplain, “finally leave comfort zone, their own religious community, which is all right, and go outside – in the world to those in need real spiritual help and support. ” Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, President of IGO “Olive Branch” dean Pastoral-Chaplaincy Department of the Kyiv Theological Seminary Valentin Korenevych complementing opinion Bruce Kittlesona, unveiled his speech “Holy annoyance”, whose meaning can be expressed in the following sentence: we can not remain indifferent to the what is happening around us, something about wrong, always cause our hearts just ache and desire to make a difference – even when it seems illogical or impossible.

The conference “Light of Hope” was drafted projects intended to change society in habitats chaplains had produced a common vision Chaplaincy ministry. Participants learned about the latest effective methods and ways of practical ministry chaplains was drafted overall strategy of interaction with other organizations and religious denominations in Ukraine. In addition, they stressed the need to improve education and improve chaplaincy exchange Chaplaincy experience.

In particular, in a solemn atmosphere was honored Ukraine’s first graduate pastoral – Chaplaincy Department of the Kyiv Theological Seminary: sign chaplain received bachelor KTS, Senior Warrant Officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Semkin who was born in Kuban, but served in the Ukrainian army in Brody. Chairman KSF “Coast of Hope”, a senior chaplain of Our Lady Church of Ukraine, Colonel Valery Trufanov proposed chaplains than academic education they acquire in KTS, create in Ukraine four centers of practical training chaplains: in Cherkasy, Mykolayiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Alexandria. Vice President of IGO “olive branch” of the Armed Forces Lt. Nicholas shared his extensive experience Dudko Hospital chaplaincy that has accumulated in Cherkassy chaplains (on the basis of which will be created one of the centers) for their years of service to sick people in hospitals. Experience chaplains in the army colonel shared MAT Sergei Dashyvets (Dnepropetrovsk), Colonel Vyacheslav Shelest (Russian Federation) and the rest of the soldiers. Leonid Smyetanin (Lugansk) summarized his own view and a multi-method chaplains who minister to people in prisons. Colonel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Oleg Sidorenko (Odessa), which in the past took part in “blue helmet” UN peacekeeping mission in Yugoslavia and now president of the Association of Ukrainian police, except in terms of the question of police chaplaincy in Ukraine (and spiritual help requires both `ash, and his guard), shared with the audience Chaplaincy verses, of which he is the author. Jaroslaw Jaworski (Alexandria) announced new practical steps in Ukraine – sports chaplaincy, whose goal is improvement as athletes and their coaches, and the general youth, children and youth. Separate subject was in the Navy chaplaincy and port cities: Representatives Mariupol, Nikolayev and Odessa also shared their experience in this regard. Practically, in the conference, both as speakers and in the working groups took all 72 participants.

Captain II rank U.S. Navy helmsman Chaplaincy Department IGO «Olive Branch International» Don Kramblit who visited the fourth time in Ukraine, arrived in Kyiv with a constant companion of his wife, Gwen, and, as always, with a whole bunch of naval “sea” stories, which for 28-year service naval chaplain Don taught me a lot.

Once, says Don Kramblit in foggy weather, one admiral, commanding off sidelights, sailed the sea. Behold, he was informed that front – lights. Admiral communicates by radio with the ship going forward, and said: “This – Admiral U.S. Navy. Sailors, command you to change the course of your ship! “Admiral sails on, but the ship coming toward him, not away draws and a sailor on the radio with his answer:” I’m sorry, sir, but I can not change the course of the vessel. ” Admiral ordered again and again. And every time it hears stubborn refusal sailor across the connection. Finally, when the sidelights oncoming ship remain, there is already counted several tens of meters, Admiral, raging, screaming no longer his voice: “Hey you or not? I – Admiral U.S. Navy. If we do not change course, sailors, for you expect serious problems! .. “At the end of the line break, and then hear the voice of the sailor, who, full of despair and inability to change something shouted:” Sir, for all his desire, I can not able to change course. I – the lighthouse … ”
The truth is, said Don Kramblit that only part of its maritime history – the truth. But do not comprehend hint Helmsman Chaplaincy of IGO «Olive Branch International», the audience could not. A story is a parable reiterates: what would have made man on the way, whatever significant status it had before the service or in the community, even if it has the highest admiral-presidential status, there is someone whose course is always more correct than her own. Is a rock – name which the Lord God – which way and the truth of which is exclusive and not subject to revision, because they are true. And not a God in us, as it sometimes seems someone, and we look up to God and his commandments, changing a course to avoid a disaster in my life. The simplest of these truths on paper tablets, but the most difficult for practical implementation is: love thy neighbor as thyself. And this commandment have to learn to follow not only the Ukrainian chaplains, but anyone who wants to hope for something good to come in their present and future life, who wants to rely on the inextinguishable flame of hope (which as beacon lights in front of us by God so that in the fog complex social and political life to show us the way to the haven of human happiness).

Vitaly Kvitka, head of the Alexandrian press service of the Union of Officers of Ukraine

P.S. At the end of the international conference “Light of Hope” Bruce Galen Kittleson, Don and Gwen Kramblit and Valentin Korenevych visited Alexandria, Khmelnytsky Cherkasy, in practice acquainted of the chaplaincy centers in the field, the Ukrainian problems and their solutions.