Bishops’ Appeal have updated us on their Ukraine Appeal which was launched last week to all parishes throughout the Church of Ireland, and which is ongoing. Bishops’ Appeal is immediately releasing €20,000 to Habitat for Humanity and Christian Aid for their humanitarian responses.
Jenny Williams, Chief Officer of Habitat, summarises the situation and outlines where Church of Ireland funds are being directed. She says:
“We are so thankful for that support which was mobilised by Bishops’ Appeal, and for all the support from churches.
“When conflict threatens to overwhelm, I am drawn to the words of Clarence Jordan, the spiritual father of Habitat who said, ‘It is not enough to limit your love to your own nation, to your own group. You must respond with love even to those outside of it…This concept enables people to live together not as nations, but as the human race.’
“In the pain of war we are praying that God’s peace and presence would be real, and that there would be a welcome wherever refugees need to find safe places to stay.
“The numbers of people fleeing from the place they call home is growing by the hour. UNHCR now estimate more than 2 million people have already fled their homes and many more are on the move.
“My colleagues on the borders are sharing heartbreaking stories of the women and children arriving with only what they can carry.
“Our focus is both on supporting people on the move and the longer–term shelter needs in host communities.
“Immediate needs: heat for camps, as well as temporary beds and emergency basic care kits which include power banks for phones, travel vouchers, some local currency and other essentials.
“In Romania many of the refugees will move onto other destinations and we are working in partnership with estate agents and hotel chains to ensure families have a safe place to rest, catch their breath and make plans for what is next.
“Our longer focus is already being put into place:
“Across the 4 neighbouring countries Habitat is helping coordinate what we are currently calling ‘Solidarity Shelter’ in partnership with local government and cities to help match and support refugees with shelter in private homes and in empty apartments.
“We also expect the scale up of our ‘empty spaces’ programme across the region which will require renovation of currently unused spaces, for example, in Poland we already deliver this in unused attic spaces of apartment buildings.
“Once funds are transferred, we will send on immediately.”
Thank you for your support for Bishops’ Appeal, both for Ukraine and for the projects in Honduras and Jordan which we are supporting as a diocese this Lent.