A message from University Chaplain Kirstin Boswell on the violence in Ukraine

Rev. Boswell sent this message to the Elon University community on Friday, Feb. 25.

Dear Elon Community,

As I write you today, Russia is unleashing chaos and terror through a large-scale unprovoked attack on Ukraine. Europe is experiencing its first major war in decades. We watch in horror as our brothers and sisters in Ukraine are forced to flee their homes and find shelter underground to survive.

In uncertain times, it is normal to feel a range of emotions. Even as we strongly condemn these actions, it is also understandable to feel fear, sadness, anger, or even numbness. The reality is that however far we may be from Ukraine in distance, we are all part of the interconnected web of humanity. What hurts one of us, hurts all of us. A wrong perpetrated against one part of our human community is a wrong perpetrated against all.

Our faith traditions often give us a good framework for processing our thoughts and emotions in difficult times, and in our campus religious services this weekend we will be praying for peace and for those who are suffering. Today I am sharing brief reflections from the Elon University chaplains.

From Catholicism:

“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” –Luke 6:26

Jesus is clear that war and violence are the opposite of loving one’s enemies. We call on all people to cease war and violence.

From Islam:

The Prophet Muhammad said, “Verily, peace is among the names of God he has placed on the earth, so spread it between yourselves.”  — Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad

From Judaism:

“Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they practice war anymore.” — Isaiah 2:4

From Protestantism:

A Prayer for Ukraine

O Lord, God of life, as you care for all creation, give us your peace. May our security come not from weapons, but from respect. May our strength come not from violence, but from love. May our own wealth come not from money, but from sharing. May our path be not one of ambition, but of justice. May our victory not be one of revenge, but of forgiveness. Unarmed and confident, help us to defend the dignity of all creation. Sharing today and always the bread of solidarity and peace. Amen. — Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton


The Sacred Space and other locations in the Numen Lumen Pavilion are always available to members of the Elon University community for personal prayer and reflection. Please reach out to Truitt Center staff at 336-278-7729 with any questions.

For those who would like to learn more about the conflict, you are welcome to attend the moderated discussion, “Understanding the Conflict between Russia, Ukraine, and the West,” on Monday, Feb. 28, at 5:30-6:45 pm., in KOBC 101 – LaRose Digital Theater.

Our hearts and our prayers are extended to those who suffer in Ukraine, and everywhere.


Rev. Kirstin C. Boswell