Christ has instructed the Church to care for the vulnerable and those in need. This is when our Christian witness speaks loudest. For this reason the Irish Mission is joining people around the world in extending a helping hand to those displaced by the war in Ukraine.
One of our first initiatives was an in-person visit at the border between Romania and Ukraine from 18-22 March. A short visit into Ukraine revealed a great need for prayer and action; that need has also been made evident by the increasing number of refugees reaching our shores.
The next initiative was to lay out a plan of action for continued support and guidance on addressing the refugee crisis that we are now a part of. Members of the pastoral team, the IM ACS leadership, and church members actively involved in providing assistance to displaced Ukrainians met on Tuesday, 29 March to discuss this plan.
Here follows some steps that you can undertake to provide concerted and concrete help during this time.
ACS has created a fund to assist Ukrainian Refugees. If you would like to make a donation towards this fund, please use the IM account with the reference Ukraine Aid.
You can also donate to ADRA UK.
If you would like to donate clothing, food, etc, please use the drop-off centres in your town.
There is a real need for accommodation. If you are able to help host, please contact your Pastor. Whoever wants to provide accommodation needs to be aware of the reality of the situation. It is not going to be easy and there is no guarantee of how long it will be required.
Here are some guidelines for hosting families.
- Although the Government will be assisting financially, it is possible that there will be additional needs. The host should be prepared to facilitate these, especially as getting jobs for the refugee may not be easy or immediate.
- It is important for host families to be as accommodating as possible and to realize that personalities and cultural practices differ.
- You will not be able to make specific requests such as, “I would like a girl,” or “I will only take an elderly lady,” or “I would prefer teenage boys.” If someone wants to make themselves available, they should do so accepting whoever is coming.
- You need to register and will then be screened to know exactly what you can provide or do.
- Consideration will also be made with regards to what amenities are close to your location – such as public transport, shops, schools, etc.
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The refugees need support in many ways, like learning English, finding jobs, helping their children. Reach out and befriend them. Find out how you can work with others in your community to support them. As a church, create a warm welcoming space for them to receive spiritual support. Let your Christian witness speak by your actions.