Austin church comes together in solidarity with Ukraine on Ash Wednesday

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(ABC 6 News) – Local organizations continue to show their support for the current crisis in Ukraine and one of many churches is standing in solidarity with those in Ukraine.

"Our stomachs churn as we witness Russia wage war in Ukraine," Pastor David Stoeger at Austin Congregational UCC said. "To people who prepare to flee for safety from the places they call home and those who cannot leave."

The Austin Congregational UCC held its annual Ash Wednesday service, which marks the beginning of Lent.

"Is a time of remembering our mortality, of remembering the things that matter in life and especially in this time of conflict," Stoeger said.

Youth of the congregation made crafts before the service where they learned about peace, justice and the people of Ukraine. They shared with the congregation what peace means to them.

"Peace is being caring. Peace is a hug," one said.

Pastor Stoeger tied the message of peace into prayer.

"We’re going to keep in our prayers the people of Russia and their military as well because we know that a lot of the people in the military in Russia and the people of Russia have not asked for this war either," he said.

"(I’m) on Twitter and see what other horribleness is happening and it just keeps going," Darla Lee, an Austin resident, said.

A simple church service was an escape for some.

"Something as simple as the music. To me, the music in church is really important. It’s just such a big part of the mood," Lee said.

The service concluded with a fitting song chosen by Pastor Stoeger: ‘Give Peace a Chance’ by John Lennon.