History of the church
Word of Life Church in Donetsk was founded in year 1990 by Leonid Padun, after he along with 8 other young men, went out to the city streets to preach the Gospel. In May the group of believers started gathering in a private house, and in his apartment. By Fall they moved to the Palace of Culture “Power plant”.
Soon, because of the changes in political situation, religious freedom came to the country (at that time it was USSR) and believers of different churches were permitted to profess their beliefs freely, preach the Gospel, be in touch with brothers in faith from other countries, receive and distribute Christian books. At that time members of different foreign missions visited Donetsk and representatives of Swedish biblical center "Word of Life" were also among them.
In November 1991, when law on freedom of faith and religious organizations came into effect, Word of Life Church in Donetsk registered as a legal entity which helped it become more efficient in its work. At that time the congregation numbered more than 500 believers.
In 1993 Bible School was opened and in 1995 it was transformed into the Word of Life Bible Institute and registered as a religious educational establishment. The teaching staff consisted of Ukrainian ministers, who at different times graduated from Bible Schools in Uppsala (Sweden), Tartu (Estonia), and Vilnius (Lithuania).
At the end of the year 1993, by the members of religious communities from different regions of Ukraine, was formed the Spiritual Center of Independent Ukrainian Full Gospel Churches, with Leonid Padun as the head of it and base at the Word of Life Church in Donetsk . About 30 religious communities participated in the foundation of this association. In April 1994 the center was registered at the state department of religious organizations. In 1999 the association was named Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church (UCEC).
Over the years Donetsk church maintained and developed a partnership relationship with the Word of Life Church in (Uppsala, Sweden). In 1997 on Leonid Padun's initiative Ulf Ekman became his pastor. From 2002 World of Life Church in Donetsk became one of biblical centers of "World of Life". However, in the end of 2012 Swedish biblical center "World of Life" and Donetsk church terminated their relations.
From 1995 World of Life Church in Donetsk uses the building situated at 100 Tkachenko St, which was purchased in 2006. It is occupied by the Bible Institute, offices of different church ministries, UCEC, and elementary school. Every Sunday several meetings are being held in the hall with seating capacity for 1000 people.
In 2005 the church received a plot of land on Sokolinaya St. for building a spiritual center with a sanctuary which seats 7000 people and offices for church administration and ministries.
Word of Life Church in Donetsk is the base for religious community of UCEC. There is a UCEC’s center in Kyiv, 8 regional administrations, 3 missions and 3 religious educational establishments. UCEC actively participates in relations between church and government and interdenominational relations in Ukraine. UCEC is the member of Council of Ukrainian Christian Churches Representatives (from 2003), All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (from 2004), Ukrainian Council of Evangelical Protestant Churches (from 2005), Ukrainian Bible Society (from 2009). Accredited representatives of UCEC are engaged in a dialogue with different authorities, religious organizations rights government commission, and law development as a part of the freedom of conscience workgroup in the Ministry of Culture.
Every year UCEC holds an international conference in Word of Life church in Donetsk which brings together thousands of believers from all parts of Ukraine and other countries.
Leonid Padun is a senior pastor of Donetsk church "World of life" and senior bishop of Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church from the time of their foundation.