The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, has encouraged people in the diocese to support the people of Ukraine in his recent presidential address to Diocesan Synod.
Bishop Nick spoke about the various ways we can help those supporting people in need of aid in and fleeing from Ukraine.
Referring to his work in the House of Lords this week, he told the online meeting:
“Ukraine is at the top of everyone’s agenda.
“There has been a huge amount of diplomatic work and I have been in daily briefings, particularly with the UK Ambassador to Russia and all I can say is that the picture changes by the minute"
On the plight of refugees, Bishop Nick said the nub of the Government’s argument was the need to ensure that arriving refugees pose no threat to national security.
“Although it seems to me you hardly need to infiltrate, if you can get through Heathrow with Novichok in your luggage and a valid passport," he reflected.
He said the Church of England was working towards providing clear guidelines and advice regarding the potential hosting of refugees, which would be a complex process requiring realism and long term commitment rather than immediate emotionally-driven responses.
“There is no point putting stuff out to parishes when we know the rules may change the next day.
“For example, the Church of England has to decide whether it, or dioceses, would become sponsoring bodies for arrivals, or whether to support existing charities already in that role,” Bishop Nick said.
He urged people not to attempt to donate goods or items to those in need in Poland or Ukraine, but to give money to those charities.
“You can donate money and when media interest is turned off, the Church will be in this for the long term.
A government announcement on sponsorship of refugees is expected on Monday and Bishop Nick said there would be serious and complicated matters for parishes and individuals to consider regarding for example, the safety of women and children refugees and the necessary security checks on those volunteering to take people into their home.
He added that the national church is currently preparing a toolkit of advice to help diocese and parishes navigate the challenges ahead and pointed people to the information given below:
The Church of England Diocese in Europe and USPG, the mission agency, have launched an emergency appeal to get aid to people, with funds raised by the appeal supporting Christian charities and churches carrying out humanitarian work both in Ukraine and responding to the arrival of refugees in neighbouring countries.
Bishop Nick also talked about the Disasters Emergency Committee, which brings together charities such as Christian Aid, CAFO and Tear Fund.
DEC charities are experts in humanitarian relief.
Donations to their Ukrainian appeal go to member charities and their local partners responding in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.
The UK Government has announced it is developing a new humanitarian sponsorship programme that will allow an unlimited number of Ukrainian families to come to the UK.
This humanitarian sponsorship route is currently being designed, but churches, individuals, schools and businesses are being asked by The Sanctuary Foundation to register their interest in becoming a sponsor.