A few new faces joined the executive committee. During the business session on Saturday morning at The Gospel Church in Richland, New Jersey, elected as secretary for a three-year term was Rev. Igor Melnychuk (Ігор Мельничук), pastor of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Minneapolis.
Elected to a three-year term as vice president for home missions was Rev. Roman Kapran (Роман Капран), pastor of the Russian-Ukrainian Mission/Church in Delaware.
Elected as vice president for foreign missions for a three-year term was Rev. Ioann Ustenko (Іоанн Устенко), pastor of the Regeneration Church in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Elected as interim president for one year was Rev. Anatoly Moshkovsky (Анатолій Мошковський), a member of the Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Crum Lynne, Pennsylvania. Because of a limit of two terms, he could not be re-elected to a third term.
Rev. Leonid Bliznyuk (Леонід Близнюк), pastor of the Ukrainian Baptist Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was re-elected to a three-year term as treasurer.
Brother Dennis Sichkar (Деніс Січкар), from the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Philadelphia, was elected for a three-year term as leader of the youth, and sister Vera Bondarenko (Вера Бондаренко), from the Regeneration Church in Levittown, remains as leader of the women’s ministry.
The observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation manifested itself mostly in the sermons preached during services and seminars.
The main speaker was Rev. Igor Bandura (Ігор Бандура), vice president of the Baptist Union in Ukraine. He presented a seminar on Saturday on the topic “Faith Alone.” Hе preached Sunday’s main sermon on the topic “Christ Alone.”
In the morning on Saturday, Rev. Roman Kapran led a seminar “Achievements of Reformation,” pointing out on historical and practical parallels and differences in reformation of churches.
During the youth program on Saturday evening, pastor Kevin Marcico from Maryland preached a powerful message in the English language. He was from the Southern Baptist Convention’s North America Mission Board. Pastor Marcico used an interesting illustration by having a boy walk around the auditorium carrying a backpack, only to find out at the end that he was carrying a huge rock. His message referred to Hebrews 12:1-2 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Another good sermon was delivered Saturday evening by Rev. Dennis Kanchurin (Деніс Канчурін), associate pastor at Regeneration Church in Levittown, Pennsylvania. His topic was “Scripture Alone”, and he examined the authority of Scripture, the power of Scripture and the secret of the Bible.
The choir from The Gospel Church sang nicely on Friday evening under the direction of Andrey Letushko (Андрій Летушко). Songs that blessed the listeners included “Отче Наш” (The Lord’s Prayer), “Ти мій притулок є” (You Are My Hiding Place) and “Великі та дивні діла Твої, Господи” (Great and magnificent are Your works, Lord).
A combined choir sang wonderfully on Saturday evening and Sunday morning under the masterful direction of Ivan Velenchuk from Grace Ukrainian Baptist Church in Warminster, Pennsylvania. The audience appreciated some new songs and new arrangements, including the lively “Прокидайся раненько” (Wake up early), “Псалом 24” (Psalm 24), “Величне і святе Твоє ім’я” (Great and Holy is Your Name), “Твоя любов” (Your Love), “Ласка Чудова Божа” (Wonderful Grace of Jesus), “Вірую” (I Believe) and “Блаженний муж” (Blessed is the man).
The worship team did an admirable job leading the congregation in singing, including some songs in both Ukrainian and English, such as “Shout to the Lord,” “Because He Lives”, “Draw Me Close to You”, “Lord Reign in Me” and “Christ Alone, Cornerstone.”
It should be mentioned that Jane Letushko from The Gospel Church sang a super solo of “It is well with me” on Saturday evening.
The topic of “Grace Alone” was presented on Friday evening by Rev. Viktor Schipaylo, pastor of the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
Other speakers included Rev. Anatoliy Sakhan, pastor of the Ukrainian Baptist Church in Vineland, New Jersey; Rev. Yuriy Kovch, pastor of the host church; Rev. Yuriy Golas, pastor of the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Sacramento, California; Rev. Vyacheslav Paliy, pastor of “New Way” Church near Baltimore, Maryland; and Rev. Paul Demyanik, president of the Western Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention and pastor of “Living Hope” Ukrainian Baptist Church in Vancouver, Washington.
The host for the conference, which was held from September 1 to September 3, was the Gospel Church in Richland, New Jersey. The worship services were held in the auditorium of Buena Regional High School.