The 74th UEBC conference was a success. Hundreds were blessed by the preaching and singing.
Many blessings flowed during the 74th annual conference of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention in the U.S. during Labor Day weekend 2019 in Philadelphia.
Seminars, children’s activities, speakers from Ukraine, choirs and panel discussions were among the highlights besides the worship services. Included were congregational singing, a solo, a duet, a trio, and a poem written and recited by a 91-year-old man. College stipends were awarded.
The president, Rev. Roman Kapran, presided over the gathering, which proceeded with the theme of “Growing Up, Building Up, Proclaiming.” The Scripture text was taken from 2 Peter 3:18 – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
The First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Philadelphia did a fine job of being host for the event – including ladies preparing meals and men serving as parking attendants. Complimentary bottles of water were plentiful and readily available to attendees.
The opening service Friday evening, Aug. 30, included some very nice singing by the Philadelphia choir under the direction of Volodymyr Maykut. An interesting message was delivered by missionary Mick Stockwell, who spent 15 years in Ukraine.
Saturday, Aug. 31, was filled with meaningful seminars in the Ukrainian and English languages.
* Pastor Champ Thornton from Delaware spoke on “Is Preaching Enough? Missing Words in Churches Today.” He outlined what the ideal church would produce. Believers: who are being built up; who are filled with the Spirit; who are not hardened and deceived by sin; who are filled with love and good works; who become more useful, more courageous, more strong.
* Another seminar titled “The Impact of the Church on the Economy and Society” was led by Professor Roman Sheremeta, PhD, an economist from Cleveland. He asserted that “God put you at this specific time of history, at this specific place and gave you specific talents to fulfill His plan.” Then he challenged his listeners by asking, “Are you fulfilling God’s plan?”
Ukrainian-language seminars were presented by:
* Pastor Vasyl Furta, vice president of the Baptist Union of Ukraine
* Roman Kravchuk, leader of youth ministries for the Baptist Union in Ukraine
* Andrey Bondarenko, from California, director of the mission “Light in the East”
* Rev. Vyacheslav Paliy, pastor of New Way Slavic Baptist Church in Baltimore
Children’s programs were offered concurrently with the seminars, including Awana Club, “Moon Bounces” and outdoor activities.
The Saturday evening youth program and the Sunday morning worship service were held in the auditorium of a nearby high school.
On Saturday, the praise team from Regeneration Church in Levittown led the congregational singing with a blend of traditional and contemporary songs in two languages, such as “Jesus Messiah, Name Above All Names.” The 50-voice youth choir sang beautifully, including an arrangement of “Alleluia, for the Lord God Almighty Reigns” with “How Great Thou Art.” The choir was directed by Diana Savchuk, who is the youth choir director at the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Philadelphia.
Pastor Champ Thornton preached a strong sermon on the topic “To grow in the grace of Jesus Christ, you must gaze on the glory of Jesus Christ.”
The youth leader of the church association, Denis Sichkar, presented a six-minute video highlighting the involvement of young people throughout the past year.
Rev. Roman Kravchuk’s message was titled “To grow in Jesus Christ is to proclaim the Gospel.” He urged Christians to go to people to witness and not wait for them to come to a church building. We need to notice their needs. We need to show mercy. We need to interact practically in people’s lives.
Afterward, the youth returned to the Philadelphia church for fellowship, including a question-answer session led by Bohdan Shumylo and Vlad Babich that included Rev. Roman Kapran, Rev. Roman Kravchuk and Dr. Roman Sheremeta.
Sunday’s worship service featured a combined choir conducted excellently by Brother Ivan Velenchuk, music director for the church association. College scholarships were presented to three students, plus two others who weren’t able to attend. The sermon was delivered by Rev. Vasyl Furta from Ukraine. Also on Sunday, a picnic for youth was held at a park.
Throughout the conference, some pastors gave sketches of their church’s involvement. For example:
* Rev. Ioann Ustenko, pastor of Regeneration Church in Levittown, Pennsylvania, reported that his congregation is remodeling a building in a new location that will seat 500 people. It could open next year.
* Rev. Sergio Sauchuk, pastor of Grace Ukrainian Baptist Church in Warminster, PA, pointed out that his church has been concentrating on studying and singing the psalms for the past three years.
* Rev. Leonid Bliznyuk, pastor of the Ukrainian Baptist Church of Lancaster, PA, said his church often holds joint events with the Slavic Baptist Church of Stevens, PA.
* Rev. Igor Melnichuk, pastor of the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Minneapolis, reported that his church participates in humanitarian projects and has been creating small groups.
* Rev. Volodymyr Vilchitsa, president of the All-Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Fellowship (diaspora), mentioned plans to reprint the bilingual Bible that was published five years ago because it has sold out.
* Rev. Paul Demyanik, president of the western association, noted that the First Ukrainian Baptist Church of Seattle (in Federal Way) now has about 700 members and probably is the largest Ukrainian Baptist congregation in North America.
* Also giving sketches were Rev. Victor Pilipchuk, senior pastor of the First Ukrainian Baptist Church of Parma (Cleveland); Deacon Leonid Letushko from Ukrainian House of Gospel in Richland, New Jersey; Pastor Andrey Dribnokhod from Slavic Baptist Church of Stevens, PA; Rev. Vyacheslav Paliy, pastor of New Way Slavic Baptist Church in Baltimore; Rev. Viktor Kuzmenko from the Ukrainian Baptist Church of Chicago (in Berwyn); and Rev. Anatoliy Sakhan, pastor of the Ukrainian Evangelical-Baptist Church in Vineland, NJ.