Ukrainian Union Conference

Adventist Teachers Gather at Education Congress in Ukraine

By the end of 2023, there were 24 Adventist educational institutions in Ukraine, including eight elementary schools, 15 middle and high schools, and one higher educational institution, statistics say.

Valentyn Zahreba, Ukrainian Union Conference and ANN Staff
Adventist Teachers Gather at Education Congress in Ukraine

[Photo: Valentyn Zagreba, Yuriy Polishchuk]

Recently, 240 participants attended the Adventist teachers' congress "Education for the Mission. Save Children for Eternity" on the campus of the Ukrainian Institute of Arts and Science in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Dr. Lisa Beardsley-Hardy (PhD, MPH, MBA), head of Education at the General Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and her husband, Dr. Frank, attended the event.

Representatives of 24 educational institutions—schools, lyceums, gymnasiums, and the institute—gathered on June 17-20, 2024, in Bucha, Kyiv region, to exchange experience, improve teaching methods, and explore the main theme of the congress: implementing the mission in the educational process.


Dr. Kostiantyn Kampen, a director of Education at the Ukrainian Union Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, in his introductory speech to participants, reminded them that the mission of the Adventist school is to provide quality education, fulfill the mission of comprehensive formation of students, and be a center for missionary training. Each school, from the beginning of its creation, develops, gradually fulfilling these tasks, so it is important that graduates of Adventist schools not only receive a quality education but also be ready to serve society.

Dr. Beardsley-Hardy, Dr. Andrii Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Adventist Center of Higher Education, Viacheslav Kulaha, head of the Publishing department of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Ukraine, and the director of the "Source of Life" Publishing House, greeted the congress participants. 


The congress was also attended by the presidents of the Ukrainian Conferences: Vasyl Chopyk, Mykola Boiko, Lviv Vertylo, Oleksandr Vashchynin, and Dmytro Popravkin.

On the first day of the congress, Dr. Stanislav Nosov, president of the Ukrainian Union Conference, spoke about the importance of a teacher's personal example and its influence on students, just as Jesus showed the character of the Heavenly Father when he came to Earth.

Dr. Beardsley-Hardy presented several topics during the congress. In particular, in the topic titled "Education for Mission," she shared a story of John Andrews, the first Adventist missionary in Europe. She emphasized that Adventist education should be focused on students' intellectual, moral, and spiritual growth, while Adventist schools should create a space that will be a foundation for children's growth, where each will feel supported. 


She also provided practical advice on digital hygiene and discussed the influence of devices and social media on the self-perception of the younger and adult generations. The topic was “Arrested Development: Impact of Social Media on Children’s Mental Health and Spiritual Formation.”

Using the results of research on the relationship between the development of a child's academic abilities and the time spent with parents, she recalled that this principle was established by the Lord and recorded in Deut. 6:6-9.


In the topic "The Role of Education in the Strategic Plan," she considered indicators of effectiveness in the field of education, such as the involvement of students of Adventist educational institutions in service, their deep understanding of the basis of biblical doctrine, which demonstrates God's love, students' understanding of their body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, and a responsible attitude to health.

Dr. Kampen presented two topics. The first topic, "Approaches to Integration of Faith in the Educational Process," considered three approaches: isolation, interaction, and integration. Adventist educational institutions' mission is to make the acquisition of knowledge and spiritual growth a simultaneous activity. This workshop presented examples of integration processes that Adventist schools can apply.

In the second topic, Dr. Kampen shared the experience and statistics of Adventist schools in Ukraine on the involvement of students in spiritual growth. In 2023, 37 representatives of the school community—students, their parents, and teachers—joined the church. Kampen emphasized that the best age for a child to decide to join the church is 12 years old because at this time, a child begins to realize that his decisions shape his spiritual life.

Yana Reznikova, a teacher from Lviv who directs educational activities in ADRA Ukraine, spoke about projects for the educational process, including inclusive ones. Usually, public educational institutions are financed by the state, so the church must seek financing from non-governmental funds to implement all educational services. ADRA Ukraine offers assistance in this.

Every day, the participants of the congress shared stories of students' conversion to God and the experience of organizing educational processes during the full-scale Russian invasion.

Dr. Ivan Chernushka shared the story of the opening of the first Adventist school in Ukraine. Dr. Liudmyla Shtanko, president of the Ukrainian Institute of Arts and Science, talked about the school's opening as a result of the higher education institution's activities. Valentyn Pedchenko spoke about the experience of the city Bila Tserkva church community in Kyiv in implementing school activities; Dr. Valentyn Shevchuk spoke about the establishment and history of the school in Lviv.

Serhii Vershylo, a director of a Bible school part of Hope Media Group Ukraine, prepared a presentation of the online platform as a tool for preaching the Word of God.


Also, every day, the participants attended thematic seminars, which were chosen based on their areas of interest. 

In addition, teachers presented their activities with the help of open lessons, and every evening they introduced their colleagues to peculiarities of the functioning of their institutions with the help of creative performances.

Iryna Bohachevska (PhD), a professor and director of the Department of Philosophy and Pedagogy of the National Transport University in Kyiv, attended one of the congress's parts. She thanked Adventist school teachers for their contribution to Ukrainian education. Although she is not a church member, she actively cooperates with the Adventist Church in the field of education.

You are doing a holy thing, said Dr. Bohachevska. You are saving the souls of Ukrainian children from an enemy. "I hope that thanks to your activities, Ukrainian children will receive something that will be their shield against numerous threats," she said. We should remember Otto von Bismarck's words: "Wars are won by pastors and village teachers," that is, education and faith.


On the last day of the congress, a round table was held, during which the attendees heard answers to topical questions related to the educational process. The experts of the round table were the heads of Adventist educational institutions: Alla Haisan, Mykola Kahaniuk, Dr. Shtanko, as well as Vasyl Chopyk, a president of the Western Conference, Dr. Kampen, Dr. Nosov, and Dr. Beardsley-Hardy.

According to statistical data, by the end of 2023, there were 24 Adventist educational institutions in Ukraine, including eight elementary schools, 15 middle and high schools, and one higher educational institution, in which 2,663 students received educational services, and 473 teachers carried out pedagogical activities.


The original article was provided by the Ukrainian Union Conference.

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