GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Members of Pilgrim Congregational Church in Green Bay offer their prayers and support for the people of Ukraine this Easter Sunday.
"When the Ukraine crisis first started, we were just trying to find ways to just say we love them. We put up banners and we lit up our pillars in blue and yellow,” said Andy King, the senior minister for Pilgrim Congregational Church.
The church shares their building with Grace of Salvation, a congregation that consists of a local Russian, Ukrainian and Moldovan community.
The church also announced their Easter offering was going toward Ukrainian support.
"It was just natural to care. I think all of us in our community care about what is going on, but when you're right here with people who have family in Ukraine, who maybe just immigrated to Ukraine, it's just heartbreaking, and it's so concrete and so real. Their faces are just right in front of you,” said Molly Tomashek, the pastoral intern for Pilgrim Congregational Church.
Two Ukrainian members of Grace of Salvation share how difficult it is this holiday to know that many of their loved ones are still in Ukraine.
"They're seeing the missiles that fly over the top. They're all worried. They're all in the a situation where they don't know what to do,” said Vasilik Viznyak, who is originally from Ukraine.
Vitaliy, another Ukrainian man, shares what his brother is currently going through.
“What Vitaliy is saying is that his brother lives from Kyiv. He’s from Southern Ukraine where they’re taking in the people where it’s more quieter,” said Viznyak who is translating on behalf of Vitaliy. “He [Vitaliy’s brother] had to leave everything as the Russians threatened again to fly or they're hitting them with missiles in Kyiv. So he's worried, because he's in the 11th floor. He took his family and left out of Kyiv and then went to the church they belong to over there, in the basement."
It is our Northeast Wisconsin neighbors like these men and this congregation whose families are going through the unimaginable.
"People are burying their own in the front yard. Why? Because it's so hot in aspect of war. They can be shot, they can be shot by the soldiers that are there,” said Viznyak.
In the meantime, members of both congregations say they're continuing to pray and hold on to hope that the situation in Ukraine will soon get better.