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A Plano Pastor Talks About The Ukrainian Upheaval's Effect On His Church

Caydee Daniel
Leonid Regheta (right), pastor of Plano's River of Life Church, with KERA's vice president of news Rick Holter (left).

For the last several weeks, reverberations from the upheaval in Ukraine have been felt here in North Texas, where several thousand Ukrainians have settled. 

At Plano's River of Life church, the congregation includes people from 15 Russian-speaking countries. Balancing those divergent views is a challenge for pastor Leonid Regheta. In this week's Friday Conversation, he sat down with Rick Holter, KERA's vice president of news, to talk about handling the conflict from the pulpit.

  Interview Highlights: Leonid Regata on...

...coming to the United States: "Back in 1989, before the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, my parents had a brief window of opportunity to pack up a few suitcases and move to the U.S. as religious refugees." 

...mediating the discussion in his congregation: "Ukraine [as a country] is very diverse. The points of view of what is and what should be are very diverse, and to think otherwise would simply be wrong. My goal is not to just provide a platform for people to express their point of view, but to allow them to consider the validity of other points of view and at least have an attempt to find a common ground."

...his hopes for Ukraine: "I would like to see Ukraine establish itself the way Finland has done in the past... Ukraine should not be under Russia or under the West. Ukraine should be an independent country with  it's own identity, proclaiming to the rest of the world its beautiful culture."

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.