Young people were everywhere! They were on stage. They were in the audience. They were behind the scenes. These young people were serving others, and they were praising God.
A high level of participation by dedicated and enthusiastic young people was evident during the 73rd annual conference of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention in the United States that was held in Levittown, Pennsylvania on Labor Day weekend.
Young people from various churches sang, played musical instruments, preached, served and worked in various capacities behind the scenes to make the event a huge success as Regeneration Church hosted the conference from Friday, August 31 to Sunday, September 2, 2018.
The praise ensemble from Resurrection Church led the congregational singing in Ukrainian and English, including some new songs that had never been sung at a UEBC conference.
The choir of Regeneration Church consisted overwhelmingly of young people. It sang Friday evening under the direction of Alik Hontar.
The youth choir from the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Philadelphia sang nicely under the direction of Diana Savchuk during the Saturday evening youth program, which was held in the auditorium of a nearby school.
Other highlights of the youth program were a girls trio, a sermon by a seminary student from the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Crum Lynne, Pennsylvania, and a solo by Alina Rabchuk, who is a member of Grace Ukrainian Baptist Church in Warminster, PA. The UEBC’s youth leader, Denis Sichkar, a member of the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Philadelphia, did an outstanding job as emcee.
A 10-minute video was shown depicting some of the youth activities that were held during the past year, including outreach events such as sponsoring a “pizza house” at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and a coffeehouse in Ocean City, New Jersey, where the young people witnessed to foreign students who were working at summer jobs.
Young people also made up a huge part of the audience, which was estimated around 650, according to a pastor.
Throughout the conference, young people also played a big part in such duties as operating audio and computer equipment, serving food, working at registration tables, and helping in other ways.
The Sunday morning worship service also was held at the nearby high school. The men’s choir from the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Philadelphia was conducted by Volodymyr Maykut. A combined choir was directed by Ivan Velenchuk from Grace Ukrainian Baptist Church in Warminster, Pennsylvania.
Guest speakers and seminar presenters based their messages on the theme of the conference – “Our Unchanging Christ” – and on the conference’s Scripture text from Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
The Rev. Alex Savych, a pastor and also an instructor and academic dean at the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary in Lviv, Ukraine, preached and also presented a seminar on the topic of “The Family Where Christ Is the Center.” The Rev. Elisey Pronin, a pastor and an instructor at the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary in Lviv, preached during the conference and also presented a seminar on the subject “Christ, Me and the Modern World.”
Another guest preacher was the Rev. Vadim Dashkevich, pastor of “Spring of Life” Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Sacramento, California. He told the young people that the message of Christianity is “love sacrifices” and that salvation and eternal life are available only through Jesus Christ.
Delegates elected a new president for a two-year term. He is the Rev. Roman Kapran, pastor of the Slavic Baptist Mission-Church in Newark, Delaware.
The Rev. Viktor Kuzmenko, a member of the Ukrainian Baptist Church of Chicago, was elected as vice president for domestic missions to fill the position vacated by Rev. Kapran.
The ladies elected Mrs. Svitlana Khrystenko as the leader of women’s ministries. She is a member of Regeneration Church.
The other officers remain the same. The vice president for foreign missions is the Rev. Ioann Ustenko, pastor of Regeneration Church. The secretary is the Rev. Igor Melnichuk, pastor of the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The treasurer is the Rev. Leonid Bliznyuk, pastor of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Rev. Kapran, age 50, was born in Ukraine and immigrated to America nearly 20 years ago. He and his wife, Ira, have two children. Rev. Kuzmenko, 55, immigrated to America 20 years ago. He and his wife, Erina, have three children. He is board-certified as a pastoral counselor by the Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors.
Anyone interested in supporting the work of the UEBC — such as missionaries, the Lviv seminary, camps for youth and children, visiting and assisting local churches, and convention expenses – may write a check payable to Ukrainian Missionary and Bible Society and may send it to Rev. Leonid Bliznyuk, P.O. Box 353, East Petersburg, PA 17520-0353 USA.