War in Ukraine: responding

Advice for parishes and clergy on helping refugees

The war in Ukraine has led to an understandable outpouring of concern and many people are eager to help if they can. The announcement by the UK Government of a scheme whereby refugees may be welcomed into private homes has already had a large number of responses and the Diocese has received enquiries from clergy and parishioners who are interested in taking part in the scheme.

The purpose of this note is to signpost people in the Peterborough Diocese to the ways they can most helpfully support the many refugees, whether they come to Britain or find refuge elsewhere.  This situation is constantly changing, so we will issue updates when necessary.

The Church of England has produced some very helpful material in the form of a ‘toolkit’ that can be found here.

We recommend that you read this material carefully, as it covers most of the topics that need to be thought about.
 

Helping those still abroad

If you wish to help those who are still in Ukraine or other countries, we recommend that you send donations to either:

  1. Emergency Ukraine appeal from the Diocese in Europe and USPG  - details can be found here.

or:

       2. Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine \Appeal – details can be found here.

We do not recommend arranging local collections of clothing, foodstuffs, etc. that are then transported to Eastern Europe.  There is congestion in the places where the lorries have been arriving and there are not local resources to cope with receiving these things.  Donations of money, as above, are the best route because the organisations behind them have the infrastructure and logistics to get what is most needed to the places where it can do most good.


Helping Refugees who come to the UK

Those who arrive here are likely to need a lot of support in settling into this country.  Everyone will be suffering a degree of trauma through what they have experienced and may be very vulnerable.  They will be facing a very uncertain future.  Ensuring that Safeguarding is a top priority is essential. The toolkit is full of practical suggestions for individuals and churches.

One thing you may wish to consider is how as a church community you might welcome one Ukrainian family. One person could be the ’Sponsor’ who offers accommodation, completes the form, is DBS checked etc as per the government scheme, but the whole church community work together to welcome, befriend and support the Ukrainian family unit who come and those who accommodate them. 

If you have room in your home and are considering offering accommodation under the Government scheme you must first register at the official site here. Clergy should also read the advice about safeguarding from the Church of England here. Anyone living in a house owned by the Church should also contact Janine Weaver, the diocesan property officer janine.weaver@peterborough-diocese.org.uk  for specific advice about legal and other requirements and to enable links to other appropriate diocesan advice and support.

These notes will be updated should we become aware of any other particular ways of helping refugees through the new Government scheme. We will also continue to explore the scope for working in partnership with other bodies, be they statutory or voluntary, as the situation develops.

Andrew Roberts Diocesan Secretary 22/03/2022


Prayers 

The Lord shall give strength to his people;
the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.
(Psalm 29.10)

God of strength and peace,
send your blessing on the people of Ukraine.
Sustain them in their struggles,
hold them in their fear,
protect them from all danger and
be for them the hope they desire;
for Jesus Christ's sake.

Amen.

 

Almighty God,
from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed:
kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all, the true love of peace
and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom
those who take counsel for the nations of the earth
that in tranquillity your kingdom may go forward,
till the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


 

From the Bishops' Office 

Bishop Donald, along with other bishops, is calling for special prayers for Ukraine and Russia in churches on Sunday.

In a joint pastoral letter, the archbishops of Canterbury and York have said the following:

"As Christians, our response to a crisis must always be rooted in prayer. And so we invite you to join with us in praying most earnestly for an outpouring of the Spirit of God, that the world may once again choose peace, strengthening those international bodies that enable us to work and live together as one humanity inhabiting one world.

We pray for those in Ukraine who suffer grievously, for all who take decisions around the world, and for the people and leaders of Russia too.

However and whenever you pray, pray that the world may choose peace, and be assured of our prayers for you."