Reverend Mykhaylo Pozdyk, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Mary in Whalley, is asking people to pray for Ukraine as Russia continues to invade that country.
“Everybody is shocked, stressed out, that’s it,” he told the Now-Leader. “What can you do here?”
“So far I have already had some special prayer in church and probably tomorrow we’ll do the same. Pray for Ukraine, everybody, at home and at church.”
His church, located at 10765 135A St., has a congregation of 36 members. Most are elderly and have family and friends in Ukraine, including himself. Pozdyk immigrated to Canada 45 years ago.
“I have my sister in Ukraine,” he said.
Pozdyk hopes Canadians will provide “spiritual” help by praying for God “to give wisdom to people and stop that Putin.”
“Second, they can support, already there is support of Ukrainian army, can collect money definitely. And of course to put pressure on the Canadian government to give more support to the Ukrainian state.”
Yuliya Shokalyuk, who helps with monthly perogy dinner fundraisers at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cultural Centre at 13512 108 Ave., says most of her family is in Ukraine.
“It’s definitely crazy to think that we’re living in the 21st Century and people still have to be concerned with planes flying over and bombs exploding, and they can’t sleep at night and they have to hide in shelters. Some people don’t even have places to hide, so, concerning is not even the word to explain it.
“We’re worried, because we can’t do anything here sitting.”
Meantime, the City of Surrey is lighting up the plaza for seven days with the colours of Ukraine’s flag. Last Thursday, Mayor Doug McCallum issued a statement, declaring that “Surrey Stands With the People of Ukraine.”
“The premeditated war that Russia has declared on Ukraine is unconscionable and without justification,” his statement reads. “The City of Surrey stands with the people of Ukraine and our Ukrainian-Canadian community in Surrey. We stand in solidarity with the global condemnation of this unprovoked invasion and the plea for a quick end to all hostilities.”
Meantime, toward the beginning of the invasion, provincial Finance Minister Selina Robinson told a Surrey Board of Trade meeting last Friday that it’s “hard to know” what the impacts will be on B.C.’s economy.
“We’re watching this very closely,” she said. “But what I want to say is that British Columbia is pretty resilient, our economy is pretty resilient. Basically what we’ve seen through the pandemic and what we’ve seen through the flooding is people come together and I think we’ll continue to come together to make sure that we can get through whatever happens around the globe.
“But it also demonstrates a little bit of our fragility because we are part of a global economy and what happens on the farthest side of the globe can have an impact here.”