Church response to Russian invasion of Ukraine – updated Dec 22

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* Updated 1 December 2022 *

Churches and Christian organisations are continuing to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with initiatives to host refugees, prayers, statements and appeals for aid.

Quick links

Sponsorship of Ukrainian refugees

The UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme is for those who wish to sponsor a ‘named person’. The Ukraine Family Scheme allows applicants to join family members, or extend their stay, in the UK.

Extra advice is available from the Welsh Government for sponsors in Wales. Although the principles of the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme are the same across the UK, differences exist for some public services.

The Scottish Government introduced a Super Sponsor scheme, designed to provide a quicker and safer route for displaced people from Ukraine to come to a place of sanctuary. However, the Scottish government has announced a pause to the scheme. The Scottish Government website provides an update.

The Irish Refugee Council has information about travelling to and entering Ireland for those fleeing Ukraine after the Russian invasion, including links to information provided by the Irish Government. It quotes the Irish Government, on 21 October 2022, stating that it cannot guarantee it will be able to provide temporary accommodation to all people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Reset Communities and Refugees launched a matching and training service to pair sponsors and refugees under the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. The service is available via Reset’s Homes for Ukraine website.

Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) launched a Ukraine Matching Service in November 2022 for the Catholic community to help recruit hosts from across the UK willing to support displaced Ukrainians.

In October 2022, the Methodist Church announced it was partnering with Citizens UK’s Communities for Ukraine Scheme and appealed for church members to host a Ukrainian family.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain has a web page with information for those interested in sponsoring Ukrainian refugees, including a response form to enable the organisation to keep in touch with Baptists exploring refugee sponsorship/support.

The Church of England has produced a parish toolkit and safeguarding guidance for those looking to help refugees, including via the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Welcome Churches is working with churches and organisations across the UK to identify Ukrainian families in need of accommodation. It has also launched a website providing information for those arriving in the UK from Ukraine in English, Ukrainian and Russian.

The Sanctuary Foundation is supporting the ‘Homes For Ukraine’ Scheme, resourcing hosts and guests, and advising the government. It works closely with refugee charities and other partner organisations to welcome Ukrainians to the UK, and runs a Refugee Support Course.

A ‘Welcome Centre’ has been set up in London by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family in partnership with the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, based in Weighhouse Street in central London, aimed at being a single point of contact for essential information for arrival, settling and long-term living in the UK. There is an associated website providing useful information for those arriving or those looking to support them.

The Refugee Council published a response to the Homes for Ukraine scheme when introduced in March 2022.

Church and Christian organisations’ web pages on Ukraine

Churches’ Ukraine Refugee Roundtable

May 2022

13 May 2022

Solidarity with the victims of war in Ukraine

Since the invasion of Ukraine churches in Britain and Ireland have been responding to the escalating humanitarian crisis and expressing their solidarity through prayer initiatives and advocacy, with the support of the national ecumenical instruments.

A statement was issued from the Churches Together in England (CTE) Forum on 15th March 2022 and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) has been collating the information, statements and prayers prepared and issued by churches across these islands, on this web page.

On Sunday 3rd April the national ecumenical instruments joined with Christian Aid to promote acts of prayer and witness with the theme #WePrayforUkraine.

Facilitating collaboration

CTE, with support from CTBI and Cytûn (Churches Together in Wales), has been facilitating fortnightly roundtable discussions for member churches and partner organisations to promote collaboration, as well as sharing of information and best practice, across a range of areas including (i) arrivals — safe passage and accommodation; (ii) community supports — developing networks of support to address people’s needs beyond housing; (iii) advocacy and public messaging — including engagement through the churches’ international networks.

A key objective for these roundtables is to maximise the support available through collaboration and sharing of resources.

Appeal for Support

At our most recent roundtable we heard from Mar Awraham Youkhanis, Bishop of London for the Assyrian Church of the East, about their work in using their church networks to bring refugees from the Assyrian-Ukrainian community safely to London.

Through contacts in Ukraine and surrounding countries they have been able to initiate the application process for 50 families (over 170 people), with arrivals now beginning to take place.

The urgent priorities for support relate to accommodation and associated costs. To date the diocese has found rooms for approximately 75 people, but financial support is required to cover the costs. The cost of accommodation for a family for six months is estimated at £9000. A Go Fund Me page has been set up and any support would be appreciated.

Secondly, the diocese is seeking accommodation for the remaining families, and it is hoped to secure a property or properties that will allow families to be housed together to facilitate access to services and so that people can have a community of support. Information on potential properties in London should be sent to Bishop Mar Awraham Youkhanis.

Handbook for Ukrainian Refugees

A member of the roundtable has shared a handbook which provides an introduction to life in the UK for Ukrainian refugees, written in the Ukrainian language. If you have any queries relating to this handbook, please email.

Keep informed

Members are encouraged to bring updates and any appeals for support to the fortnightly roundtables.

If you would like to join the Churches’ Ukraine Refugee Roundtable, or if you have information or an appeal to share, please email your request or information.

Emergency Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

CAFOD and Christian Aid are among the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) members with an appeal to help the people who have fled their homes to escape the conflict in Ukraine. The BBC reports that 5 million people have fled Ukraine and another 7 million may be displaced internally.

CAFOD Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Christian Aid Ukraine Crisis Appeal

Church and other appeals

All We Can (Methodist relief and development) and the Methodist Church in Britain

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal

Church of England Diocese in Europe and USPG

The Methodist Church in Ireland

Salvation Army

SCIAF

Post expires on February 4th, 2023

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