The Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary (UBTS) announced they will provide education to students for free during the war.
The seminary explained that the country is grappling with an almost 30% inflation rate and it is now focusing on getting financial support for its programs instead, reports Evangelical Focus.
“Our lives have changed a lot in the last six months. There are things we cannot control. But we can definitely invest in ourselves, in other people and in the Church,” a message on UBT’s Facebook page read.
“We do not want the financial problem to hinder learning. Therefore, it was decided to cancel tuition fees for the next academic year 2022-2023 for undergraduate, bachelor’s and master’s degree students of all courses.”
We do not want the financial problem to hinder learning. —Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary
The president of UBTS, pastor Yaroslavl Pyzh, said they have 150 new applicants for their master’s and bachelor’s courses already. “We have another 100 that are on certificate level, and we expect another 500 on other certificate programs and we have a group of students in Poland, about 110 students that are already studying because those groups are among the refugees and Ukrainians in Poland and Czech Republic. So I don’t expect any kind of shortage of students.”
The seminary added new subjects around trauma to its curriculum. In an interview with Premier Christian News, Pyzh said, “We’ll be starting this new year with what we call ‘debriefing’. So, the first two hours [students] will go through this specific process. It’s a very old process where we will ask them for different questions and let them kind of reflect on it.”
Six months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, UBTS became the only operating theological seminary in the country, with many pastors and 150 of its students staying to help displaced Ukrainians.
Pyzh mourns the loss of 400 Baptist churches since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, but he’s still optimistic of rebuilding the nation. “The real challenge is similar to Nehemiah’s challenge,” he said. “It’s not only rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. It’s rebuilding the nation of Israel, of worshiping God. That’s the same thing here in Ukraine.”
The pastor pointed out that rebuilding church leadership is one of the seminary’s priorities. Dozens of pastors were forced to leave Ukraine because of the war and the gap has to be filled in with new leaders. “The real build is the rebuilding of leadership capacity, because if you rebuild buildings and you have no pastors to lead churches, I don’t think it’s going to do any good,” he added.
UBTS is located in the western city of Lviv, less than three miles from the airport and 43 miles from the Polish border. It opened its doors to displaced Ukrainians, provided housing for people and helped thousands relocate to safer grounds. The small seminary partnered with six We Care centers in Ukraine so it can respond to the needs of the war and create something to stay within the community for a long time.
“Every day we have enough faith to carry on doing what we are doing,” Pyzh said. “God renews that faith every single day. The reason we have strength is because we know His faithfulness.”