Continuing to encourage the Church to pray for the people of Ukraine, Dr Bruce also asked PCI members across Ireland to give generously to the Church’s partners involved in providing humanitarian aid to those fleeing the conflict and those trying to get aid into Ukraine.
Calling on PCI members to consider their response to this humanitarian emergency, the Moderator said, “Further to my letter last week to ministers calling for congregations to pray for the situation in Ukraine, tragically the bombardment of the country and its people by Russian forces has continued, with the fear and suffering of people living in Ukraine increasing each day. The United Nations estimates more than 1,000,000 people have now fled the country and many more are expected to follow.
“I have therefore launched a Moderator’s Appeal towards the emergency relief effort to help people in Ukraine and those fleeing the conflict. I am confident our members will respond as generously, and sacrificially, as they have done on so many previous occasions,” Dr Bruce said.
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) is immediately releasing £60,000 (€72,350) to be distributed equally between its relief and development partners Christian Aid (Ireland) and Tearfund, and also to one of its partner churches, the Reformed Church in Hungary and its relief and development wing, Hungarian Reformed Church Aid.
Dr Bruce explained that these agencies are all experienced in supplying and distributing humanitarian aid and assistance, not least to refugees and displaced people fleeing regions of conflict, and whenever possible, will extend their reach into Ukraine itself.
“Hungarian Reformed Church Aid was among the first organisations to mobilise its staff and volunteers to provide immediate assistance. It delivered its first food packages to the Ukrainian-Hungarian border on the morning of the invasion, and has already sent more than 10 tonnes of non-perishable food across the border,” he said.
“They have welcomed people fleeing the war at train stations and at the border distributing food, tea and drinking water. They have also provided translation assistance and transported people to nearby shelters, or public transport hubs. In conjunction with the Hungarian Reformed Church’s Bethesda Hospital, they are providing medical assistance to people arriving in Hungary and also sending medical supplies to Transcarpathia in western Ukraine.”
Supporting the appeal, Rev Dr Liz Hughes, convener of PCI’s Council for Global Mission, also explained that Christian Aid (Ireland) and Tearfund are working with a range of partners on the ground in neighbouring countries and hope to work inside Ukraine as and when circumstances allow.
“Their partners are providing for the immediate needs of the huge numbers of people fleeing Ukraine every hour. They are also working round the clock providing food, bedding and temporary accommodation to the people. In recent days one of their local partners has distributed 28 tonnes of food supplies and other lifesaving essentials to displaced people in Ukraine,” she said.
Dr Hughes also pointed out that £30 could provide essential hygiene supplies for three people for one month, £50 could provide blankets for four families, while £100 could provide emergency food for two families for one month.
Dr Bruce concluded by saying, “I encourage people to continue to pray, asking God that the conflict would not spread further, that those who have lost loved ones would be comforted, and those who find themselves without homes would be led to places of welcome and shelter.
"The messages I have received in recent days from friends in Ukraine have expressed their horror, fear and distress at what is happening. 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.”
“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,” the Moderator said.
Photos: Refugees fleeing-Ukraine (1) photo credit Tearfund Jana Cavojsk and (2) photo credit Christian Aid (Ireland) - Hungarian-Interchurch-Aid
Moderator's Letter to Ministers re Ukraine Appeal
Ukraine Crisis PowerPoint slides – Traditional Screen Size
Ukraine Crisis PowerPoint slides – Widecreen Size
Ukraine Crisis PowerPoint Script
Ukraine Crisis Appeal logo
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