'Register support for Ukrainian refugee programme'
UK churches - including Baptist churches - are being encouraged to register their support of a UK sponsorship programme for Ukrainian refugees
A website has been created (www.sanctuaryfoundation.org.uk) to enable churches to make an early pledge to sponsor some Ukrainian refugee families.
The Sanctuary Foundation has been set up with help from Stewardship and RESET (the UK’s Community Sponsorship learning hub) so that Christians can be first in line to respond to the programme the government is developing.
The Sanctuary Foundation is led by Baptist Dr Krish Kandiah, who has in recent times also created initiatives to welcome people from Hong Kong and Afghanistan.
He said, 'We are watching with interest the UK government's plan to roll out a Humanitarian Sponsorship programme that may allow an uncapped number of sponsored Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK.
'In anticipation of this, we are looking for all potential sponsors - UK churches, individuals, businesses, schools and families - to register their interest in supporting such a programme.
'If we see a significant response, as I believe we will, then this will not only inspire the government to be more ambitious with the scheme, but it will also encourage the Ukrainian people that we are willing to pray for them, and also welcome them into our homes and communities.
'Is there any chance your church can make an early pledge to sponsor some Ukrainian refugee families?
'The Sanctuary Foundation has been set up with help from Stewardship and RESET so that Christians can be first in line to respond to this exciting programme the government is developing.
'Each response gives us an opportunity to say to our government and our friends from Ukraine that we are keen to welcome refugees to the UK, so please do pledge your support if you can.'
Potential ways churches could be involved include:
Welcoming a Ukrainian family to live in your community
Finding and possibly furnishing suitable accommodation
Raising of support funds ( in previous sponsorships this has been £1k - 9k per family)
Befriending and integration support through volunteering your time
There had been almost 1500 pledges by the end of last week (11 March), including churches such as Griffithstown Baptist Church in South Wales.
This had grown to 19000 (including 1000 churches) by Tuesday (15 March).
The call was welcomed by the Baptist Union’s Public Issues Enabler, Steve Tinning, who said, 'A number of our churches have been engaging in a form of Refugee Sponsorship for many years and consistently talk of it being one of the most transformative experiences of ministry they have embarked upon.
'I warmly commend it to you.'
Following the announcement of the Government's 'Homes for Ukraine' scheme, Krish is encouraging people to register both on the government portal, and with Sanctuary Foundation for 'support, training and soon matching with families from Ukraine.'
Find out more here: www.sanctuaryfoundation.org.uk
Should you register an interest with Sanctuary Foundation, do please let Steve know, as we would love to support any Baptist church which has an interest in expressing hospitality and welcome to refugees. Contact Steve via this form.
Welcome Churches has also set up www.ukrainewelcome.org – a helpful website containing all sorts of information in English and Ukrainian for those arriving in the UK from Ukraine.