We will all have seen the pictures of people who have had to flee their homes because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Around the country, churches are praying for the people of Ukraine and for the international response, encouraging our government to show hospitality to Ukrainians, giving to organisations that provide relief, and offering or preparing to offer hospitality themselves.
Join in! Here are suggestions for prayer, action, and giving.
Whether in quiet prayers of our own or in public prayers in church, we can keep the people of Ukraine, the situation in the country, those helping people who are fleeing, and the broader international response in our prayers.
We are tweeting (@ccowinfo) Bible verses and prayer points.
The Bible Society has a very powerful video of Christians around Ukraine reading Psalm 31. View it – or if your church uses online video, download it and use it in your service.
Formal prayers or liturgies
Prayers from the Baptist Union
Prayer from the Bishop of Oxford
CAFOD – A Prayer for Ukraine, with more prayers for peace
Church of England – Prayers for the Peace of the World (from Common Worship, recommended by CofE for services for Ukraine)
Council of European Churches
Bishop David Hamid, Church of England Diocese in Europe – Prayer for Ukraine
Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonites in Canada
Methodist Church – A range of prayers and hymn suggestions
Orthodox Church in America – statement followed by suggested intercessions
Pope Francis’ prayer for peace
United Reformed Church – Prayers for Ukraine. Collection including prayers from JPIT, the Communion of Protestant Churches in Europe (which includes the Lutheran Church in Russia and the Orthodox Church in Ukraine), the Chairs of the London District of the Methodist Church, the Northern Synod Moderator, and Inderjit Bhogal.
A liturgy for grieving a national tragedy – The Rabbit Room
If you’d like to join with others in prayer online, take a look at the European Baptist Federation’s Wednesday prayer gatherings on Zoom or the Fellowship of Reconciliation Friday prayer meetings.
If you would like to donate to humanitarian relief for people in and displaced from Ukraine, suggestions include:
Disaster Emergencies Committee (15 leading humanitarian agencies),
All We Can/Methodist Church
BMS: World Mission appeal
The Bearr Trust (recommended by Quakers in Britain),
The Diocese in Europe/USPG
The Salvation Army
If you would like to donate to help Ukrainian refugees in our area, please consider donating to local refugee charities, which need our support to provide advice and assistance to Ukrainians arriving in the UK alongside their existing clients. Charities include:
The Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme allows individuals to register to sponsor Ukrainian refugees, providing them with accommodation for at least six months. The Government has said that an unlimited number of Ukrainians can come through this route – which means that many people will be able to play a role in welcoming people who have been displaced by the Russian invasion.
We’ve started to build a map of who’s doing what – and have suggestions and resources for getting involved.
On the map below, red markers represent statutory authorities, aquamarine represent community groups, green represent places of worship or church groups, and dark blue represent agencies.
Click on the markers to get details of activities
Hosting – Registering, Matching, Preparing & Best Practice
I’m interested in hosting - what advice do you have?
Hosting someone, even if it’s only six months, is a serious commitment. Before undertaking it, it’s good to think through the implications as fully as you can.
- Sanctuary Hosting, which has been helping people in the Thames Valley host vulnerable migrants and refugees for years, has a brilliant Hosting Good Practice Guide, which includes five key questions to ask yourself before you offer to host. You can also hear advice from experienced hosts (in newspaper articles and TV and radio interviews) on their media page.
- The Diocese of Oxford also has some helpful questions to ask yourself and put together a really good briefing by video , which covers many FAQs.
- You might want to take a look at the welcome pack from VITA (see below) – the points it raises give an idea of questions that may come up.
- The Government lists answers to frequently asked questions relating to council tax discounts, mortgage and household insurance, tenancy agreements, leaseholders, etc. Please note that they suggest you might want to have a legal agreement in place with your guests. The Diocese of Oxford is suggesting that you not this, as there could be consequences that would be unhelpful (take a look at this document on preparing your house or their video from about 55 minutes in).
How do I register to host?
To register your interest:
- If you’re an Anglican in the Diocese of Oxford, you can register with the Diocese of Oxford which will be working with Citizens UK to help resettle Ukrainians,
- If you’re a Baptist, you can register with the Baptist Union, which is working with Citizens UK and RESET.
- More generally, you can register on the Government’s site or with the Sanctuary Foundation which Krish Kandiah has set up to help (they have a super video, which is worth watching and sharing).
If you have any questions about the different options, and aren’t in the Diocese of Oxford or Baptist Union, please get in touch. We’re working with the different denominations and organisations, and can answer frequently asked questions.
Is there help with paperwork?
We recommend working through a formal programme (for example, those run by RESET, the Sanctuary Foundation, the Diocese of Oxford or the Baptist Union). If you do this, there should be help with the paperwork.
You might want also to take a look at the visa application questions, which can be seen here in both English and Ukrainian and watch this ‘teach-in’ with the Home Office organised by the Sanctuary Foundation
How will safeguarding work?
- In addition to checks prior to visas being issued, all households receiving guests from Ukraine will receive checks by your local council on the property and household. All households will be visited to ensure the accommodation is fit for purpose and suitable to receive guests.
- If the accommodation is self-contained or only adults without specific vulnerabilities (see below) are coming into the property then Basic DBS checks are undertaken on all adult members in the sponsor household.
- If children under the age of 18 are going to be accommodated in the household, then an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the children’s barred list) will be undertaken on all people in the sponsor’s household over 16.
- Local Authorities will follow existing guidance for regulated activity with vulnerable adults. Where the local authority officials know that there is an adult guest arriving in the household, who is vulnerable (due to illness, disability or age) and has particular needs for which the sponsor is to provide support, a request for an Enhanced DBS check with check of the Adults’ Barred List can be made.
Check with your local council for further details.
There’s also some really good advice from the specialist charity Thirty-One Eight in this video from the Sanctuary Foundation.
A helpful ‘welcome pack’
Vita Network has prepared a brilliant ‘welcome pack‘ for hosts to give guests. It enables you to share practical information about arrival, access to the property, wifi, what parts of the property are available to guests, kitchen/laundry/bathroom instructions, safety instructions, and house rules on a variety of topics, and information about local institutions and services.
Preparing to host children
Sanctuary Foundation has a helpful set of checklists for helping people preparing to host babies and young children. This includes a form to fill in if you need specialised baby goods.
Hosting – Support for Hosts and Guests
What advice does the UK Government offer?
The UK Government has prepared a welcome leaflet for Ukrainians arriving in the UK. This leaflet is at present only available in English, but a Ukrainian version should be available soon. The leaflet provides a summary of the different settlement paths, guidance on travel to the UK and meeting up with sponsors, advice on ‘settling in’ – including accessing benefits, education, and healthcare – and information about legal rights and responsibilities. It’s a useful thing for hosts and community/church groups to read through, as well as guests.
What are local councils doing?
Each local authority will be operating within the Government guidance (which can be found here), but it’s worth checking their webpages for the specifics on support they will be offering.
- Oxfordshire County Council* Really helpful!
If you have questions that the website doesn’t answer, there’s a dedicaated Oxfordshire Ukraine helpline: +44 1865 966444 / 01865 966 444 (opening hours: 8.45am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Closed weekends and bank holidays). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Oxford City Council
- Cherwell District Council
- West Oxfordshire District Council
- South Oxfordshire/Vale District Council
Where can I find language support?
Want to have a conversation even if you don’t speak any Ukrainian at all?
- Try Google Translate. It’s not perfect, but it will generally get the sense of things correct. Many groups are finding it very helpful.
Working with children?
- Twinkl.co.uk has free, downloadable resources that may be of use. These include a simple ‘How do you feel today’ sheet showing pictures of different emotions, with phrases (eg “I’m happy”, “I’m worried”) in English and Ukrainian, bilingual ‘daily routine’ communication fans, ‘new starters to English’ bilingual vocabulary cards for older children and adultsa, sheets of key vocabulary (eg clothes, conversation prompts) and more.
Want support with translation of a document?
- Get in touch with us – we may be able to find you some help.
- Charity Translators has a list of translation services.
- Translators for Ukraine also has a list of translators.
Want to help Ukrainian friends learn English?
- UTAlk offers both a free app to learn Ukrainian and a free app for Ukrainian speakers to learn other languages.
- The Open University has some free online self-taught English courses
- Sanctuary Faringdon recommends the Dorling Kindersely ‘English for Everyone Vocabulary Builder’ – you can buy copies here.
- We’re building a list of online and in-person classes that are happening locally.
- In early May, the Ukrainian Institute London will be starting free English lessons for Ukrainians displaced by the war. Their school is supported by British Land and Paddington Central, who will be providing space for classes at The Storey Club in Paddington. They will be offering classes at beginners/elementary level for adults. To be added to the waiting list for English lessons, please email email@example.com
Want to learn a little (or a lot of!) Ukrainian? Here are some courses that will fit different learning styles.
- Duolingo offers a free, interactive online course. You can learn in bite-sized chunks, learning the way you would learn to speak. Really good if you’re trying to learn in the midst of other things, prefer to be computer-based, and can only give a few minutes at a time.
- The publishers of Teach Yourself Ukrainian have made both book and audio available free of charge. This is a more traditional way of learning a language, helpful if you like structure and grammar from the outset and want to practice some offline.
- UTAlk offers both a free app to learn Ukrainian and a free app for Ukrainian speakers to learn other languages.
- If you have blocks of time to spare and are someone who learns more through sound than sight – and if you’re prepared to pay! – you might want to try the Pimsleur course. It’s organised in half hour blocks and focuses on training the brain to listen and respond to the spoken language.
Dealing with trauma
Many of the people who are arriving will have been dealing with significant trauma.
If you’re a host, you may find it helpful to look at these resources:
- A World Vision expert describes children’s responses to the trauma of conflict, and how you can respond
- Training videos and resources in English to help you and your church grow in your awareness of trauma and its impact on the lives of many refugees. Also a video “Looking after Myself” available with subtitles in Ukrainian, Russian and other languages to share with refugees and asylum seekers you know (Resource hubs accessible to churches in its Welcome Network)
Save the Children:
Help with Employment
On Friday, 22nd April, from 10:00 until 3:00, the Oxford University Hospitals will be hosting a recruitment open day for refugees based in the Oxfordshire area. There is a free shuttle bus to and from the event, which is going to be held at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington, Oxford, and free parking for those who come by car. The event will showcase opportunities in healthcare support, nursing, estates and facilities, and administration and clerical roles. Further information is at https://www.ouh.nhs.uk/working-for-us/events/
Welcome Churches’ Ukraine Welcome site has helpful advice on creating a CV/resume and applying for a job.
Ukrainian Culture, History and Traditions
Listen to a briefing on Ukrainian Culture, History and Tradition, given by Alexandra Sevko and Mick Polleck
Other Ways to Show Support
If you, your church, school or neighbourhood are not able to offer accommodation, but would like to help welcome and support people who are sponsored to come to our area, you can also register this with the Sanctuary Foundation, the Diocese of Oxford, and/or let us know.
There is plenty to do in terms of helping people arrive and settle in. Local groups will have need for help with transport, registering people for services, translation, and many other areas. Churches may also wish to do special activities: we have some suggestions below.
Resources for Churches
Ukrainian/English Worship Resources
We’ve prepared these for the most common versions used in different churches. Please let us know of any we’ve missed.
The Ukrainian Catholic Church generally uses the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom or, less frequently, the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great. There is a version of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom in traditional English here and in modern English here (note that it’s put up by an American church, so the prayers for church leaders have US names. In the UK, the Eparchial Bishop is the Rt Revd Kenneth Nowakowski). There’s also a very helpful explanation of the Ukrainian Catholic Divine Liturgy here.
If you want to provide translations of the Bible readings in church, a free online Ukrainian Bible is available from Bible Gateway The Bible Society is also offering free hard copies of the Bible in Ukrainian and Russian to churches that are welcoming people from Ukraine. Find out more and register your interest here
If guests are arriving in your area, you may want to offer them ‘welcome gifts’. Every family’s circumstances and needs will be different, but here are some things that have been suggested by Ukrainian colleagues and community groups.
A ‘welcome basket’ for cooking
‘Home cooking’ is a source of comfort for many. When your guests arrive you might want to give them a box of ingredients they are most likely to want to use – together with a gift card to a local food shop, so that they can top up later on. We’ve got two lists – one that a colleague at the Ukrainian School in Reading created for us, which is largely made up of foods that you can find at a large supermarket, a link to a Facebook post by Olia Hercules with a wider range of foods, some of which will primarily be available at local Polish shops, and a list that adds a few goods from Olia Hercules’ list to the basic basket.
Template for Welcome Leaflet
As a church or group of churches you might want to give people a Welcome Leaflet with information about local services and details of activities you are offering. You can adapt our
Example text specific to Didcot is included in grey type which you can substitute with the relevant details for your area.
We are looking to get this template translated soon.
There will be Ukrainian masses at St Anne’s Church, London Road, High Wycombe HP11 1ET at 2pm on 22nd May, 26th June, 24th July, 28th August, 25th September, 23rd October, and 27th November.
New local initiatives by groups, churches and individuals are springing up across the Thames Valley responding to the crisis in Ukraine. We can help connect you with others taking action near you – email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many organisations are offering training and information events for people wanting to welcome Ukrainians – see our frequently updated Events calendar for further details, or, if you’re looking for something more specific, get in touch.