Hospice Mission Trip to the Ukraine Planning
Epworth Villa's Quality Life Hospice
After the Trip Report

Epworth Villa residents welcome The Reverend Alexander Merzlyakov, a United Methodist pastor from the Ukraine to the pulpit. Rev. Merzlyakov will be in Oklahoma to help coordinate plans for a mission trip from Epworth Villa’s Quality Life Hospice to help the City of Lugansk, Ukraine understand and establish a hospice ministry. It is hoped that the Lugansk program will be the model for the creation of hospice ministries across the Ukraine. Ukraine community leaders approached Rev. Patrick Whaley, of the UMC, requesting the assistance in bringing a team of professionals from the United States to educate them on hospice care.


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Mission Trip to the Ukraine from Tony Gaeddert on Vimeo.

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Epworth Villa Vesper Services from Tony Gaeddert on Vimeo.


Reverend Alexander Merzlyakov tours Epworth Villa from Tony Gaeddert on Vimeo.


Quality Life Hospice Mission Trip to the Ukraine

 Team Member(s): Shannon McClure, Kristen McCarty, Mark Galaway, Walt Thoni, and A. Vail Stephens.
 Dates: May 7th-21st, 2011

Purpose: The purpose of this trip is to equip, encourage and enable specifically the city of Lugansk, Ukraine to establish a Hospice Ministry. The team will present a three day educational conference outlining the framework for establishing a hospice program. The city of Lugansk will host this conference for medical personnel and government leaders throughout the entire country of Ukraine. The Mayor, City Council Representatives, Medical School President, Dean, teachers and students, doctors, nurses, family members and at least some clergy members will participate in the training. The program should become the model for the creation of Hospice Ministries across Ukraine. Following this conference the Epworth team will spend intentional time implementing the model program within Lugansk.
 Background: The impetus to bring hospice care to the Ukraine, and to Lugansk specifically, was the death of a popular physician within the community. Diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and having heard of the hospice care, he requested that his daughter learn more about the hospice philosophy and care for him in his final days accordingly. This enabled him to die peacefully at home and helped the community recognize the importance of learning more about end-of-life care. The community leaders approached Rev. Patrick Whaley, of the UMC, requesting his assistance in bringing a team of professionals from the United States to educate them on hospice care.
 Rationale: The Ukraine is predominately atheist. The prevailing religion in the Ukraine is Orthodox Christianity which emphasizes rituals and traditions and views suffering at the end-of-life as part of the human condition as you are “wrestling with God”. Therefore, when someone enters the dying process they are largely ignored. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United Methodist Church has been sponsoring missions in Russia and the Ukraine and has established a growing protestant presence. As an affiliate of the United Methodist Church, Epworth Villa and Quality Life are in a unique position to partner with the church to fulfill this very important mission which will bring comfort and compassion to the Ukrainians at the end-of-life.


In the Ukraine

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UMC LivingFaith in Lugansk Facebook Page Epworth Villa Facebook Page