"You will all have been both saddened and shocked at news of the dreadful events in Ukraine as they have unfolded in recent days. The western world has united in condemnation of the actions of Russia’s President Putin, in launching a military invasion of his western neighbour. None of us can know where this will end, but it seems certain that there will be great loss of life and suffering for both soldiers and those citizens of Ukraine caught up in this campaign.
"I have many friends in both Russia and Ukraine, and messages from them in recent days have expressed their horror, fear and distress at what has happened. One wrote to me saying, “Please ask our Presbyterian brothers and sisters in Christ in Ireland to pray for us. That is our greatest need – to know that you are praying for us.” Another shared news of missiles and explosions near his family home in Kiev.
"It is clear that many people are choosing to leave their homes, and indeed the country, thus creating a fresh movement of refugees. Many will seek to move further west, perhaps eventually coming to these islands.
Dr Bruce concluded his letter, "Can I therefore ask you to consider leading your congregation in prayer this Sunday, asking God that the conflict would not spread further, that those who have lost loved ones will be comforted, and those who find themselves without homes would be led to places of welcome and shelter. Pray for the Christian Churches in Ukraine, for their endurance, protection and faithful witness in face of this time of trial. Pray especially that a way might be found to bring a peaceful end to this needless war."