by Gabriela Denton, Communications Coordinator, and Viktor Billa, Organist
Ukrainian Family Assistance
In August, we sponsored the safe travels of a Ukrainian family, friends of Viktor and Yuliia Billa, from Poland to Tallahassee. They reached Tallahassee on August 15th. Olga came with her two boys, but her husband is still in Ukraine. They came with nothing. We are looking to help them out as best we can. They are in special need of clothing (summer and winter). Olga is size S-M, and the boys are 8 and 11 years old, sizes M (8) and L (10/12). If you have anything in their sizes (used or new), please bring it to the church office. The boys are also in need of school supplies. Gift cards to stores like Target or Walmart for them to pick out necessary items would also be very helpful. Your help and support are much appreciated.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Trinity member and artist Patricia Beall was moved to create a painting, which she presented at Trinity UMC in honor of Viktor and Yuliia Billa and all Ukrainians. Here, she describes her process:
“I created the painting entitled ‘Rebuilding the Nest,’ using the acrylic pour method, along with hand-painting the trees and branches and using the leftover ‘pour skins’ that drip from the wet painting, peeling them off the plastic and designing the birds out of those in order to complete the collage. I started this painting before the invasion of Ukraine and wanted to use the bright and sunny colors that I love. After the invasion, I began to think about the undaunting task facing the Ukrainians when this war will be over (God willing, they WILL be victorious), and they must rebuild their country and restore their national treasures and artwork. As a former art restoration expert, I kept that in mind and added the branches in the birds’ mouths as they fly towards the still standing trees in order to show the collaborative effort it will take for EVERYONE from EVERYWHERE to pitch in and accomplish this. The people of Ukraine are important. Their sovereignty is important. Their standard of living is important, and their culture is important and must not be lost.
Right: Patricia Beall presenting her original painting entitled “Rebuilding the Nest” on March 27, 2022.
“I have been painting since I was a child, but started painting with this method in earnest since my stage four cancer diagnosis five years ago. I was able to teach classes in my home studio for several years but had to go on hiatus when my medical condition worsened a few months ago
“While living and working in Hendersonville, North Carolina, I owned an art gallery that featured art from Soviet Russia. Many of the paintings depict the wheat production and landscapes from Ukraine and the surrounding villages and locals, most all painted before the fall of the Soviet Union. I also began mentoring refugees from South Sudan in 2001 and helped them create an art business featuring their ceramic cows, so refugees and Eastern Europe have been near and dear to my heart for years. I still own quite a few of these Soviet era paintings, and many of my own acrylic pour paintings are displayed at Kool Beanz Cafe today.”
Trinity members were deeply moved by the plight of Ukrainians, and since the invasion, have donated $22,635.25 directly to relief efforts in Ukraine through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). An update from UMCOR: “Grants for immediate relief have been given to United Methodist partners to provide direct aid inside Ukraine as well as to support those who have fled the violence. UMCOR is working through Methodist churches in neighboring nations—Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Grants provide transportation assistance, humanitarian supplies such as food, water, clothing, shelter and medication, as well as legal services and safe spaces for families, women, children and those with disabilities. In addition, UMCOR has funded the transport of more than $1 million in medical supplies to hospitals in Kyiv, with more supplies scheduled in the coming months. UMCOR is in continuous dialogue with UMC entities and other partners throughout Europe to identify additional ways to assist. The situation in Eastern and Central Europe is constantly evolving and with Ukraine’s economic losses already estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, recovery efforts will take years. Global Ministries and UMCOR will continue to respond in the months and years ahead.” (taken from UMCOR’s web page on Ukraine relief, accessed September 20, 2022. https://umcmission.org/umcor/umcors-response-to-the-crisis-in-ukraine/)