1 Yr Ago: OpEd Appeal from Church in Kyiv, Ukraine


One of the leading supporters of the democratic movement in Ukraine was and is Pastor Sunday Adelaja of the Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations. The Nigerian-born, Soviet-educated Adelaja has had a tremendous impact in his country and has been involved in many of the debates, struggles, and controversies of the founding of a new nation. The New York Times has published a fuller description of his ministry in 2011.

He and his congregation could see the missile strikes that hit the Kiev area. He remains in the city, but as he is probably on a list of undesirables to the Russian government, he and his family may have to go into hiding.

Here is Pastor Adelaja’s encouragement to his congregation and to you:

The invasion of the Russian army into the territory of Ukraine has begun. The church prayed, we prayed and believed that this would not happen.

But the fact remains, it has already begun. We do not know to what extent this will reach. As the senior pastor of the church, I have advised all brothers and sisters to remain calm and to obey the instructions that the government and authorities give us.

In addition, those who have the opportunity to hide and secure themselves in safer places should take advantage of this. Yes, we pray, but in spite of prayers, we must do what is necessary to save and preserve ourselves. We know folk wisdom: God saves the safe.

We pray, we trust the Lord, but we also need to act.

First of all, it is necessary to provide security, protection, and everything necessary for our children, for our women, and our families. We believe and hope that the situation in Ukraine will normalize.

Pastor Sunday Adelaja. Photo: Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions

But more than physical security, one must preserve oneself before God and take refuge in God. We all know the 90th psalm. I think that now is the best and most necessary time to take advantage of it and live it.

“He who dwells under the roof of the Most High under the shadow of the Almighty rests, says to the Lord: “My refuge and my protection, my God, in whom I trust! safe; his shield and fence are his truth” (Psalm 90:1-4).

In addition to Psalm 90, there are several other Scriptures that I would like to offer you during this difficult time. I am sure that peace in the heart is the best security. If we can keep our hearts in peace and quiet, then no threat from outside will overtake us and destroy us. The words of our Lord Jesus confirm this.

“I have said this to you so that you may have peace in Me. In the world you will have sorrow, but be of good cheer: I have conquered the world.”

John. 16:33 says there will be all sorts of catastrophes and troubles in the world, but we have peace in Christ. If we can see ourselves spiritually in Christ, abide in Christ, then we will be safe. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

“I lie down calmly and sleep, for You, Lord, alone allow me to live in safety.”
Psalm 4:9 also says that the Lord will keep us safe and at peace at all times.

Let’s believe these Scriptures, spiritually move ourselves to a place of protection and safety in Christ Jesus. Imagine yourself in Christ, imagine that you are hidden in Christ Jesus.

“Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
John. 14:27 speaks of keeping ourselves in the world, despite all the cataclysms around us.

Personally, I am in Kiev now. Perhaps, in my situation, it was worth leaving somewhere, but I am still in Kiev and will look at the situation. 

I think there is probably a list of influential people in Ukraine, especially those who are under Russian sanctions or they are persona non grata. You may remember that I myself have been persona non grata in Russia since 2005. If the Russian army takes power in Kiev, then I understand what can happen. But just so you know, I’m here for now.

Me and pastor Bose, we are here, staying with the people. At the same time, I am aware that if there is an escalation of what is happening or things worsen, then most likely some kind of decision will have to be made. I advise the same to the people of our church, so that they will be ready and look for ways and opportunities to protect themselves, especially their families.

I bless you! With the peace of God!
Pastor Sunday Adelaja

Pastor Adelaja uploaded this picture to his blog.


Pastor Adelaja sent a video in which he recounts that he and his family made a harrowing escape: “We were traveling, some times walk, run, sometimes we are in the car, standing in long queues of people who want to escape for their lives in Ukraine.

I wanted to stay back and send my wife to get out of the country if necessary, but then I got information that in a few days, that was two days ago, the Russians were going to enter Kyiv. And from American intelligence, we got to know that they have a list of people for elimination. This is not for ordinary people, but it is for influential people, people who have a public opinion and i am on that list. I’ve been a personal enemy of Putin for close to 20 years now. He’s banned me from going to Russia. [Pastor Adelaja was educated on a Russian scholarship to be a journalist. He studied in Belarus before leaving for Ukraine to work in a video enterprise. Then, he was a prominent supporter of the democratic revolution in 2014.]

But before I left, we were able to gather some African students in my house; some people who live with me and some people came to join. We have an underground bunker in my house now; so everybody is in the underground bunker. I would have lived there , stayed back but when I was told that I am in the list, all our leaders in the church and people said i must live.

So, I had to quickly arrange for myself and pastor Bose to go to a safe place. So as I am talking to you right now, we are in a safe place.

Since leaving Ukraine, the pastor and his wife have been keeping in contact with his network of churches in Ukraine by Zoom:

I’m not in Ukraine but the churches are all over the place. They are operating all over the place, every single day.

There are over seven hundred churches in Ukraine that we started; I just need to meet them on zoom every month, and that’s it. My wife also pastors there; she does it online now. The Church of God is not a building; it is people.”

Although the pastor has turned over church space to be a medical clinic for Ukrainians injured in the war, Adelaja is not a supporter of the war with Russia. He believes that the Ukrainians In an interview published on February 23, 2023, in the Nigerian newspaper Premium Times, he is quoted as saying, “That’s who white people are – the pride of not giving up; that they stood up to the bully is more important than the fact their country has been destroyed. If I tell them what you just said now, they will tell me, “We will fight and win; we will rebuild later on.” Or some of them will say, “We will die, we will recruit into the war; we will send our children and wives away so that when they grow up they will rebuild.” That’s the kind of thing they are saying. And America is supporting that kind of view; Western media is supporting that kind of view.”

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