JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As tensions between Russia and Ukraine rise, residents of Jacksonville have begun to worry about loved ones still in Eastern Europe.
For nearly 30 years, Russian and Ukrainian church members have gathered at Lake Shore Baptist Church. Now they are praying for peace in Eastern Europe.
Reverend Anatoly Kadaev has been part of the First Russian-Ukrainian Baptist Church in Jacksonville since its beginnings in 1993. He has seen it grow from three dozen members to more than a hundred.
“Some people are Russian like me, some are Ukrainian,” Kadaev said. “We have never had any tension in our church body due to the situation in Ukraine.”
The church family does not let differences settle between them, Kadaev says. A Russian himself, he married his Ukrainian wife more than 50 years ago.
“Although I am Russian and its Ukrainian, we feel peace and understanding between us, and I wish the same for the countries and peoples of Ukraine and Russia,” he said.
Current tensions between Russia and Ukraine worry Kadaev; he and his wife have family in both countries.
“The main concern is the future of the young population,” he said.
Although he understands that peace does not happen overnight, Kadaev continues to pray for it. He adds that no matter what happens between Russia and Ukraine, his church will remain united.
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