The Church response to the Ukraine Crisis

Ukrainian flag

Church of Scotland congregations have been moved by the intensifying humanitarian crisis in Ukraine as the Russian invasion devastates large areas of the country, sending millions of refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries. Many have been contacting Church of Scotland staff to ask what the Church is doing and how they can support people in the region, host refugees or help in any way.

The Church of Scotland has established a Ukraine Response Group to coordinate the Church's response. Here is a summary of the actions being taken. This will be updated as the situation changes.

Peacemaking

Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly, and Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, convener of the Faith Impact Forum, have repeatedly urged the UK Governments and all those with influence in the region to support all efforts to make peace.

The Faith Impact Forum is in regular contact with partner churches in the region, including the Reformed Church in Hungary and the Transcarpathian Church, offering moral and spiritual support.

The Moderator has written to the Ukranian and Russian Consuls in Edinburgh urging an end to the war and to pursue a path of peace with justice for all people in both countries.

Lord Wallace has also written to the senior Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Great Britain to express our solidarity with the Ukrainian people and to the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain (within the Ecumenical Patriarchate), copied to their Bishop in Edinburgh.

The Moderator has joined Pax Christi Scotland in a letter to Patriarch Kyrill of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, urging him to advocate for peace.

Donation to relief efforts

If you haven't already done so, you can help by donating to churches and church-related organisations working in the region. Congregations and individuals have now raised more than £367,277 for the emergency response of the local churches, helping support the Ukrainian Church and those in surrounding countries to continue their witness and support those seeking refuge from the war. The Church is also encouraging people to donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a group of UK charities that includes Christian Aid and is working across the region.

Donate through the Church of Scotland

Support the emergency response, including the Reformed Church in Hungary Aid, by donating to the Royal Bank of Scotland Church of Scotland:

  • Account Number: 00134859
  • Sort code: 83 06 08
  • Reference: RCHA donation and the donor's name

Find out how RCHA is using the donations.

If eligible, please also complete the Gift Aid Declaration form by filling out the HMRC gift aid form, ensuring the Charity Name is completed as "The Church of Scotland". The completed form can be returned to the Church of Scotland by email to sfadmin@churchofscotland.org.uk. Alternatively, a cheque can be sent payable to The Church of Scotland with an accompanying letter and completed gift aid form.

Donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee

  • Donate online at dec.org.uk
  • Donate by phone at 0370 60 60 900

Gift Aid can also be applied to your donations.

Donate to support Ukrainians in Scotland

The Salvation Army is providing vital vouchers worth £30 to Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers (currently accommodated in hotels with merely £8 support a week) in Scotland, which can be used in the Salvation Army's charity shops to buy clothes and other prime necessities. This safeguards the individual's personal dignity, and allows them to choose goods that they need the most.

You can help The Salvation Army to provide these vouchers by making a donation to the scheme, using the donation button and specifying "Voucher scheme for Ukrainians and asylum seekers" in the comments section.

Action to welcome refugees

The Church has a long history of receiving and supporting refugees and leads the multifaith partnership, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees. Many congregations are involved in supporting refugees through welcoming, befriending and sponsorship. If you are interested in exploring ways you and your congregation can get involved in welcoming Ukrainians, please contact our Churches Support Officer, David Moodie (david.moodie@churchofscotland.org.uk) or visit the SFAR website to find 7 things you can do to respond to the situation in Ukraine.

Hosting refugees

One way you can support Ukrainian refugees is through sponsorship. Our briefing for churches page addresses some key questions that anyone who is thinking of sponsoring should consider before agreeing to open up their home or property to individuals or families from Ukraine.

The UK Government enables Ukrainians who do not have family connections in the UK to be sponsored to come to the UK by local communities, charities, and businesses in the UK. This scheme is called Homes for Ukraine and the Scottish Government has registered as a "super sponsor" under this scheme, which removes the need for Ukrainian applicants to be matched to a named individual before they are cleared to travel to the UK through the visa system. The Scottish Government have published a guide for hosts offering accommodation under the Scottish Government Super Sponsor scheme.

We have advice about ensuring good safeguarding arrangements are in place for Ukrainian refugees. This will be updated as more information becomes available.

You can find info on how to apply for the Homes for Ukraine programme in English, Ukrainian and Russian.

Our guide, Sanctuary in Scotland, provides information on refugee issues for faith groups in Scotland. It includes facts and figures, definitions, current issues and ideas for practical action by and for faith communities in Scotland.

If you are currently hosting Ukrainians or providing support as a congregation, please get in touch, we would love to hear your experiences.

Congregations

The law department has produced a guide with advice and information about how to approach hosting refugees for congregations that wish to host refugees in manses. This includes a suitable style of Agreement as well as information about consents, insurance, duration and other matters that must be considered before a manse is offered as accommodation.

Church staff and congregations met on Tuesday 29 March to discuss these issues and to answer questions. The Principal Clerk, Faith Action, Scottish Faiths for Refugees, the Law Department, the General Trustees, Safeguarding and Communications were part of the discussion. Video of the meeting is now available below.

Individuals

For individuals who are interested in hosting, the UK Government has created the Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme. You can register interest on the Homes for Ukraine page. Hosts will receive £350 a month as a "thank you" from the UK Government.

Holding Ukraine in Prayer

You can find specially written prayers on the Prayers for Ukraine page or download God With Us, a worship resource on the theme of refugees, migration and sanctuary.

Congregations can also use these suggested songs from the Church of Scotland hymn book CH4 as part of your response in worship to the situation in Ukraine.

Nationality and Borders Bill

The Moderator has also joined a group of 1,000 faith leaders to call for changes to the Nationalities and Borders Bill, which was passed in June 2022, so it is more welcoming to refugees. The Act will have a devastating impact on people who reach the UK without the correct paperwork. You can support this effort by writing to your MP.