Candle vigil held for Ukraine 

By Meliyah Venerable / Managing Editor 

Since February of 2014, the Russo-Ukrainian war has been a continuous “war” between the two neighboring countries of Russia and Ukraine. The war had yet to become physical, but that all changed on February 24, 2022. Russia began a large-scale military invasion of Ukraine, invading the country by air, land and sea. 

That day the world was shocked, scared and in complete disbelief. Many media sites have been on overdrive keeping people around the world caught up on the latest news that is happening in Ukraine. The Kyiv Independent is an English language online newspaper, and has been very active on Twitter. 

They said, “According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russia’s losses include less than 11,000 troops, 44 planes, 48 helicopters, 285 tanks and many more.”

But those numbers aren’t the losses of Ukraine, which have lost multiple buildings and houses, children’s hospitals, schools and most of all countless innocent lives. 

One of the things that make Missouri Valley College so special is the diversity of the student body. That being said, there are students from both Ukraine and Russia attending MVC. Students who have family and friends who are being attacked and here they are in the middle of Missouri… helpless, scared and clueless on the conditions of their home and their families. 

There is not much a small, private school can do for a whole country. But Campus Chaplain Reverend Nick Petrov knew there was something that could be done to help the students that are from Ukraine, and give them hope and peace of mind. On March 2nd, Petrov decided to host a “Candlelight Prayer Vigil for Peace in Ukraine” in place of his 7:30 a.m. Chapel. 

“A prayer vigil is a communal lament, an act of solidarity.” Petrov said, “The ultimate goal is that we as students, faculty and staff, all members of the Valley family, are concerned with the tragic events in Ukraine. Therefore, the vigil was a public witness that offered the Valley community a space to connect with God, so that God’s message of love and justice can be carried out through all these nearly 40 people that came.” 

Religious figures around the world declared Ash Wednesday, March 2nd the “Global Day of Prayer for Peace in Ukraine” so Petrov thought it would be perfect to give the Missouri Valley College community a time for prayer for Ukraine, and the students on campus that have been affected by this tragedy. 

In his email to students, Petrov said: ”Students, faculty, and staff of all faith traditions (and no tradition) are invited to come and join a Candlelight prayer vigil at the Stewart Chapel”

Over 30 people showed up to the vigil. That is three times the number of people that regularly attend the 7:30 a.m. Chapel. Students, faculty and staff all showed up to pray for peace in Ukraine. 

Associate Dean of Students, Elizabeth Bellamy said she attended the Vigil to “support and pray for peace, to participate in a community who cares, to offer support for those who are struggling, and to recognize the pain and suffering of the people of Ukraine and beyond.”  

“All of us have a direct relation to what is happening in Ukraine right now,” she said, “A fight for democracy and freedom is a fight for the dignity of all humanity. We have students on our campus from Ukraine and from Russia and other neighboring countries. We must act to support them and their wellbeing.”

The Missouri Valley community wants to extend their hearts out to the students who are directly affected by this invasion. Not only Ukrainian students, but the Russian students as well who are experiencing the tragedy, just in a different way. 

“Living in peace and harmony is a conscious choice. I am very grateful that we at MVC have a very diverse and vibrant student body that lives in peace and harmony. We hope that our example will be followed, especially in this time of political unrest. We hope for a de-escalation and an end to the war in Ukraine,” Petrov said. 

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