Norwegian Bible Society hosts conference for Russian and Ukrainian religious leaders

Norwegian Bible Society hosts conference for Russian and Ukrainian religious leaders

Norwegian Bible Society - September 08, 2014

The Norwegian Bible Society is bringing together religious leaders from Russia and Ukraine this month to discuss the current crisis between the two countries. The conference will take place in Oslo from September 9-12, and is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Delegates will meet Norwegian church leaders and other key figures, such as the Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute. But most of their time will be spent together, focusing on how the situation has affected the communities they lead.

Those invited include leaders of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Churches, as well as Jewish and Muslim leaders. Heads of religious freedom organisations will also attend.

“We are privileged to have this opportunity to host such a broad panel of religious leaders,” comments Norwegian Bible Society General Secretary Rev Dr Ingeborg Mongstad-Kvammen. “This wide representation from both nations will help to ensure that a robust and positive dialogue takes place.”

“Religious leaders play an important role in civil society, and I hope that this conference will be a positive move towards reconciliation.”

The Norwegian Bible Society has worked closely with churches and Christian organisations throughout the region for many years and has significant experience of bringing together different church confessions. The stated goal of this conference is to bring about mutual acceptance and understanding.

“We hope that the dialogue between these religious leaders will serve as a model for further discussion,” adds Dr Mongstad-Kvammen.

“The Bible contains a very strong message of peace. We are part of the United Bible Societies, which has member Bible Societies in more than 140 countries. We work with churches of all denominations to make this book of peace - the Bible - available to everyone.”

“This gives us credibility as hosts and facilitators who can bring about fruitful conversations between leaders from both countries, despite theological, cultural and political differences.”

Norwegian Bible Society asks for prayers for the meeting as follows:

  • Pray for safe travels
  • Pray that each delegate comes with an open heart and a real willingness to listen, to share and to and seek understanding.
  • Pray that Bible Society staff are able to create a warm and friendly space that encourages open and honest dialogue between delegates.
  • Pray that this conference will make a positive contribution towards reconciliation between Russia and Ukraine.”

Tony Peck, EBF General Secretary reports that Ukrainian and Russian Baptists attending this conference include Gregori Komendant, Igor Bandura, Sergei Debelinskiy, Vitaly Vlasenko, and for Norwegian Baptists, Terje Aadne. Please pray that this coming together of key religious leaders will make a real and lasting contribution to and end to the violent conflict and peace and reconciliation in Ukraine, and with its neighbour Russia.

This story first appeared on the website of Norwegian Bible Society and is used with permission.

For further information, please contact:
Rev Dr Ingeborg Mongstad-Kvammen (General Secretary)
Telephone: +47 926 94 587