April 4, 2022 By Web Editor
Churches and Christian organisations are responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with prayers, statements and appeals for aid:
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) joined with churches and faith-based organisations across Britain and Ireland to invite Christians to join together in an act of witness to pray and light candles for Ukraine, for an end to the conflict and for all those affected by the terrible impact of war, on Sun 3 April 2022. More
Emergency Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal
CAFOD and Christian Aid are among the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) members launching an appeal to help the people who have fled their homes to escape the conflict in Ukraine. The BBC reports that more than 4 million people have fled Ukraine and another 6.5 million may be displaced internally.
Church and other appeals
Sponsorship of Ukrainian refugees
The UK Government has announced a Homes for Ukraine scheme for those who wish to sponsor a ‘named person’.
On 1 April 2022, Reset Communities and Refugees launched a matching and training service to pair sponsors and refugees under the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme with support from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). Reset says it has ‘mobilised experts in safeguarding to assess sponsors and refugees to make sure that the matching is suitable’. The service is available via Reset’s Homes for Ukraine website.
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. More
The Refugee Council has published a response to the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Responses from churches and Christian organisations
Archbishops of Armagh
On 16 March 2022, the the Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin and the Church of Ireland Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop John McDowell, expressed concern about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine in their Saint Patrick’s Day message.
Baptist Union of Great Britain
The Baptist Union of Great Britain’s has a web page covering the war in Ukraine, including information for those interested in sponsoring Ukrainian refugees under the UK Government’s scheme, prayers for Ukraine, plus news and statements.
CAFOD has launched an appeal as a member of DEC (see above).
CAFOD’s sister organisation, Caritas Ukraine, and other Caritas agencies in neighbouring countries, are already on the ground helping people affected by this conflict. They are working to provide food, blankets and warm clothes to families who have been forced to leave everything behind.
The CAFOD website also has prayers for Ukraine.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales has a section of its website devoted to Ukraine.
Pope Francis called the war in Ukraine an act of violent aggression and a sacrilege without justification, and appealed for an end to the violence and for a long-term welcome of Ukrainian refugees, at the Sunday Angelus address with pilgrims in St Peter’s Square on 20 March 2021.
“In the name of God, I ask you: stop this massacre”, Pope Francis pleaded during his Sunday blessing on 13 March 2022, in St Peter’s Square, as reported in The Guardian.
Cardinal Nichols was among other London Church leaders who urged the UK Government to expand sponsorship to all Ukrainian refugees on humanitarian grounds.
On 4 March 2022, the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England and Wales, Ireland, and Scotland have appealed to Catholics to ‘sustain the prayer and self-denial of Lent as a constant offering to God, begging for an end to the pointless violence in Ukraine’. They ask fellow Christians everywhere, including Patriarch Kirill and all in the Russian Orthodox Church, to join in solidarity ‘in daily spiritual and practical efforts for a ceasefire, for humanitarian outreach and the silencing and laying down of weapons.’ They also call on the UK and Irish governments to ‘offer an open and generous welcome’ to Ukrainians seeking refuge from the violence.
On 28 February 2022, 8 Bishops wrote to UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to welcome the government’s “resolute defence of Ukraine’s sovereignty and opposition to Russia’s invasion” and to support a “swift peaceful resolution’ to the war in Ukraine”.
Cardinal Nichols called for an immediate cessation of the Russian attacks in Ukraine and for the protection of innocent civilians: “I appeal for all to pray for the people of Ukraine, who are suffering the brunt of this conflict. I pray for their strength and perseverance under this onslaught”.
Christian Aid is working with partner organisations in the ACT Alliance (a global faith-based coalition), to offer assistance to Ukraine refugees fleeing deadly violence and has launched an appeal as a member of DEC (see above).
It is calling on the UK government to help Ukrainian refugees and is encouraging supporters to co-sign a change.org petition being launched by Together With Refugees member, Freedom From Torture.
Prayer resources are also available in English and Welsh.
Church of England
The Church of England has a Responding to Ukraine page, including a parish toolkit.
The Church of England Diocese in Europe is holding an online vigil with prayers for peace in Ukraine every Wednesday at 17:00 GMT during Lent.
On 16 March 2022, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, held a video call with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to discuss the urgent need for peace in Ukraine.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed the UK Government’s Humanitarian Sponsorship scheme and says he looks forward to working with all partners to ensure it works as effectively possible (via Twitter).
The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, has called on the UK Government to lift significant visa restrictions for refugees fleeing Ukraine.
The Church of England has published liturgical resources from Common Worship.
At the outset of the conflict, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine as “an act of great evil”.
“Placing our trust in Jesus Christ, the author of peace, we pray for an urgent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian forces. We call for a public decision to choose the way of peace and an international conference to secure long term agreements for stability and lasting peace.”
Please see the Church of England website.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, addressed the Ukraine conflict in BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day.
Church of Ireland
On 9 March 2022, the Bishops’ Appeal said it is immediately releasing €20,000 (£16,600) to Habitat for Humanity and Christian Aid for their humanitarian responses.
The Church of Ireland’s Liturgical Advisory Committee has produced ‘Prayers in a time of war in the Ukraine’ for use in parishes.
They are available on the Church of Ireland website.
Churches’ Refugee Network (CRN)
On 17 March 2022, Revd Dr John Perumbalath, The Bishop of Bradwell, made a statement about the Ukraine crisis on behalf of CRN.
Church of Scotland
Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, encouraged people to take part in the #WePrayForUkraine event which took place on Sunday 3 April 2022 to pray for the people of Ukraine and for an end to the conflict.
He has also encouraged people to donate to charities supporting refugees from Ukraine.
The Church of Scotland has called on all parties to renew peacemaking efforts and prepare to offer humanitarian aid to the people of that country.
On 24 February 2022, Lord Wallace said:
“All of us have looked on in horror as Russian forces launched a full-scale assault on Ukraine in the last 24 hours.
“We urge President Putin to cease hostilities and call on all parties to agree a ceasefire and return immediately to the negotiating table.”
The Faith Impact Forum will continue to support their partner church, the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia, Ukraine (Egyházkerület Kárpátaljai Református), through prayer and advocacy.
The Church is also joining with the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the Conference of European Churches, and World Council of Churches (WCC) to work together to collectively support the churches and people of Ukraine in seeking a peaceful solution.
For the full statement, please see the Church of Scotland website.
Churches Together in England
Two statements were made during the CTE Forum which took place at The Hayes, Swanwick from 14–16 March 2022. On 16 March 2022, the CTE Forum delegates renewed appeals to the UK government to support the churches offering welcome and sanctuary to Ukrainian refugees. On 15 March 2022, the Presidents of Churches Together in England (CTE) and the Fourth Presidency Group made a statement on behalf of the whole of Forum, calling for ‘the immediate cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of invading forces and the observance of the Geneva Conventions’.
Church in Wales
The Church in Wales has a page of prayers and resources for the Ukraine crisis.
The Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John, is urged churches to take part in the #WePrayForUkraine event which took place on Sunday 3 April 2022 to pray for the people of Ukraine and for an end to the conflict.
On 2 March 2022, the Archbishop of Wales called for urgent support for Christian Aid’s crisis appeal for Ukraine (see above), commenting:
“We are all shocked and sickened by Russia’s merciless attack on Ukraine. A humanitarian crisis is unfolding rapidly as people flee for their lives and we must respond swiftly to help. I am calling on our churches and communities in Wales to step up and donate generously to Christian Aid’s appeal and sign the petition to the UK Government to do more to help refugees.
“We must also continue to pray for Ukraine and for all its people at this terrible time.”
Previously, the Archbishop of Wales said:
“I join with our political and church leaders in condemning the actions taken by the Russian Federation and urge a return, by all, to negotiation. I invite you to join me in praying for all those involved and for peace to return swiftly.
Conference of European Churches (CEC)
CEC has a page of reactions from churches on Russian aggression in Ukraine.
On 22 March 2022, members of the Joint Committee of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) called on leaders of the nations and the international community to do everything in their power to end the current war in Ukraine that is destroying lives and causing untold suffering. More
On 24 February 2022, the Conference of European Churches (CEC), the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), and the World Methodist Council (WMC) called for prayers of peace for the people of Ukraine and the region.
For the full statement, please see the CEC website.
Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, said:
“In this holy season of Lent across our Churches and Traditions, let us raise our hearts in prayer for an end to this war and conflict with the least possible loss of life, and for a restoration of peace and healing.
“We pray protection upon the people and the armed forces of Ukraine and Russia. We pray wisdom upon leaders and policy makers, that regardless of geopolitical considerations, the preservation of sacred life always stands paramount. We pray peace for a world that is still recovering from a global pandemic that has affected so many, and has had an immense toll on us all.
“May the Prince of Peace, our sovereign God, answer the prayers of millions around the world for an end to this war and further loss of life.”
For the full statement, please see the Coptic Orthodox Church UK website.
Fellowship of Reconciliation
The Fellowship of Reconciliation has a web page devoted to the Ukraine conflict, including a resource with prayers, a hymn and intercessions. The organisation holds a zoom based prayer meeting every Friday at 7.30pm. More
Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Prayer Service for Peace in Ukraine, and Dedication of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 25 March 2022 – Homily of Archbishop Dermot Farrell.
“War represents the failure of politics, politics and dialogue” – Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for Mass on the Feast of Saint Patrick.
Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT)
JPIT has a web page detailing how to help, including sources of prayers and a template letter for writing to your Member of Parliament about adapting the Nationality and Borders Bill to provide safe routes for refugees.
London Church leaders
London Church leaders have written to the UK Government, on 9 March 2022, urging it to expand sponsorship to all Ukrainian refugees on humanitarian grounds, allowing them to enter the UK as quickly as possible. More
The Methodist Church has a Toolkit for churches responding to the crisis in Ukraine.
The Methodist Church joined with Churches Together in England, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and Christian Aid to invite churches and Christians from across the UK and Ireland to come together on Sunday 3 April in an act of witness to pray and light candles for Ukraine, for an end to the conflict, and for all those affected by the terrible impact of war.
The Methodist Church issued a statement on Ukraine from the Methodist Presidency on 25 February 2022, saying:
“We are horrified and heartbroken as we witness the violent assault on Ukraine by the Russian military. This devastating action and ensuing loss of life have rightly been condemned across the world. It is a very clear violation of the UN Charter and as such imperils the foundation upon which international security is built and on which we all depend.”
See the Methodist Church website for the full statement.
Methodist Church in Ireland
The Methodist Church in Ireland is encouraging donations via the Methodist World Development & Relief Fund, has provided prayers and also updates from its partners in countries neighbouring Ukraine.
The church has published ten reflections on Christian social engagement in light of the war in Ukraine.
It has called on all Irish Methodists to pray for the crisis in Ukraine and has published a prayer on its website, which is also available as a Powerpoint.
Quakers in Britain
Quakers in Britain has a web page, Responding to the war in Ukraine, with all the statements and resources relating to Ukraine.
On 24 February 2022, the Quakers in Britain condemned the attack and called for an end to the fighting, saying it ‘is a grave development for humanity, and a violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations’.
Northern Friends Peace Board has compiled a list of resources to ‘increase understanding of the crisis and advocate peaceable action’.
Racial Justice Advocacy Forum (RJAF)
The Racial Justice Advocacy Forum calls for coverage, prayer and action for Black and Brown peoples facing racial discrimination amidst the invasion of Ukraine. Read the full statement.
The Salvation Army has programmes and personnel in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Romania, Moldova and other European countries who are able to offer practical assistance, and has launched an appeal.
Scottish Church Leaders Forum
A special ecumenical prayer for peace in Ukraine has been produced by the Scottish Church Leaders Forum in response to the invasion, and they “stand in solidarity with all those who face the perils of war and the fear that ensues when the bonds of peace are broken”.
Scottish Episcopal Church
On 8 March 2022, The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, commented via Twitter:
“The need is urgent. People in need must be welcomed now and the necessary administration can follow, without becoming a barrier to those we need to help immediately. I call on the Government: as we have been praying, so let us act: now.”
Previously, on 24 February 2022, he spoke of the need for prayer, and issued a call to offer support to those most affected by the ongoing situation in Ukraine:
“Now our thoughts and prayers must be with those who woke to the sound of missiles exploding, with fear for their children on active duty, and for those families fleeing from fighting.
“As Christians we are called to be people of prayer. Our prayer is for peace, and also for the strength to offer ourselves in the service of others.
“Let us pray today for peace, and prepare ourselves to offer support where it is needed.”
The full statement plus a prayer produced by the Scottish Church Leaders Forum is available on the Scottish Episcopal Church website.
United Reformed Church (URC)
The URC has a Crisis in Ukraine page on its website.
This includes prayers and details on how to help refugees. It also includes a link to the change.org petition calling on the UK Government to develop a comprehensive humanitarian response to the crisis, amend the Nationality & Borders Bill, and create a global resettlement programme to help bring a minimum of 10,000 refugees to safety in the UK every year.
World Council of Churches (WCC)
On 30 March 2022, the WCC convened an ecumenical roundtable consultation on the situation in Ukraine at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute.
In a letter to Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, and Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, on 23 March 2022, World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev Prof Dr Ioan Sauca urged the leaders to stop the war immediately and appealed for civilians to be spared from further attacks, and that humanitarian corridors to enable them to escape from peril be established, maintained and secured.
On 11 March 2022, the WCC said it was ‘appalled by the escalating impact of the conflict in Ukraine on civilians – the women, men and children of Ukraine – and by what appears to be increasingly indiscriminate attacks’. More
In a letter to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow on 2 March 2022, World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev Prof Dr Ioan Sauca asked the patriarch to mediate so that the war between Russian and Ukraine can be stopped. The WCC has also published Patriarch Kirill’s response.
The WCC has also endorsed an appeal issued by the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and urged President Putin to stop the war and restore peace to the people and nation of Ukraine.
On 24 February 2022, the WCC called for an immediate end to the current armed hostilities and ‘denounces any and every use of deadly armed force to resolve disputes that could be resolved by dialogue.’