We have witnessed great sorrow over the last few weeks – tragedies and tears – but we have also witnessed how we can come together as Sisters and Brothers in Christ. The Community Services departments in the NEC, SEC, BUC and the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Missions stand together to respond to support the Ukrainian refugees coming to the UK. Emergency funds have been established to create the "Cities of Refuge" project.
Our motto is the fulfilment of Isaiah 58:6-9,
"Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" (vs 7).
How can you get involved?
There are two ways you can get involved:
- Register your interest to house Ukrainian refugees on the government website. You can do this by clicking here. Please let your pastor know that you have registered so that we can establish how many households need support and where it's most needed.
- We need volunteers who can serve as translators, mental health practitioners, social workers, interview trainers, CV builders, teachers, befrienders, childminders, and many more so we can offer a service package that will help enrol children in schools, provide day-care or crèche, offer trauma-informed therapy, provide English classes, help registering with a GP, help find basic amenities, open a bank account, and help with a job search. We are very excited about this project and need all of you to make it a reality. Please register with this form if you can support through volunteer services.
We plan to create a database to match Adventist families from Ukraine with Adventist families in the UK to ensure our sisters and brothers from Ukraine arrive in the country to a safe, Christian home.
E.G.White applauded the work that was done for refugees (from a fire in San Francisco) and calls us all to action,
"Were there not others of our brethren in Oakland and Berkeley who had opportunity to do as Brother Rice did in caring for those who were in want and suffering after the fire in San Francisco? Why did they not see their opportunities, and stand right up to help and strengthen the needy? Brother and Sister Rice gave the outcasts a welcome. There were refugees in tents all around them. These campers had permission to use the house and had many liberties. Did you not all see this? Could not some of you have come and said to Brother and sister Rice, "Won't you let us share with you in this burden?" - 22LtMS, MS 93, 1907, par. 29
You can also watch a video from Dr Beatrice Kastrati by clicking here.
NEC Community Services Department spearheading the preparation for receiving refugees
Talking about the department's response, Beatrice writes,
"As the newly appointed Community Services director and only beginning my service in this NEC department a few months ago, I didn't anticipate facing a European refugee crisis right from the start. However, I can fall back on my experience of leading ADRA Albania for five years, and I feel that the Lord has placed me into this position, at this time, by His divine will and providence.
The situation breaks my heart, and the pain and suffering is unfathomable. The helpfulness and empathy of our church members across the NEC fills me with joy, though. Apart from generously supporting the ADRA crisis appeal, many private church initiatives have sprung up: collection and transportation of goods to the border regions of Ukraine, special offerings and daily prayer meetings. For example, the Lord made it possible to partner with my daughter's primary school, where they collected financial donations and goods, which were given to ADRA."
Over the last couple of weeks, there have been a number of initiatives to support the Ukraine crisis. You can read them here:
- Ukraine Crisis Response by the BUC
- Adventist Community Services respond to Ukrainian crisis
- Three pastors and an elder from the NEC travel to Ukraine
There are two YouTube videos kindly provided by the Sanctuary foundation, giving information how we as individuals as well as churches can sponsor Ukrainian refugees:
The sanctuary foundation also helps match refugees with households in the UK. You can find out more by clicking here.
For more information, contact the NEC's Community Services Director, Dr Beatrice Kastrati, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0115 960 6312.