Baptist churches and welcoming Ukrainian refugees
I was a stranger and you invited me in
Many of you will have heard that the Government have announced plans for a scheme that will enable individuals, churches, businesses and charities to welcome Ukrainian refugees into homes across the UK. The Baptist Union would encourage member churches to stand with the people of Ukraine during this time of huge distress, anxiety and dislocation.
If you or your church are interested in sponsoring Ukrainian refugees we would encourage you to read more about the scheme here. We offered an online meeting via Zoom on Wednesday 13 April for those people who are offering accommodation.
If you have specific questions that relate to the use of your church properties, please direct these to your Baptist Trust Corporation. However, we have answered some of the key legal and governance points you will need to consider in this Appendix (updated 21 April 2022).
Once you have decided you would like to explore options further, we would encourage you to consider one of the following routes.
If you know the names and location of the Ukrainian refugees you would like to sponsor, it will be possible for you to apply directly through a Government website from Friday 18 March 2022 – you can register your interest here. Those you would like to sponsor will be able to fill in a visa application online. This is the fastest and most efficient way for you to bring those you would like to sponsor to the UK as soon as possible.
If you do not have a particular person/people in mind, we would encourage you to register an interest with the Sanctuary Foundation. This is a project set up by a well-respected Christian leader, Krish Kandiah, to connect potential hosts with 'Reset' – the Government tendered agency with years of experience supporting community sponsorship projects. As and when a referral process is established, Sanctuary Foundation will help you get started on your journey towards sponsorship.
We are exploring opportunities for Baptist Associations and/or local ecumenical hubs to partner with CitizensUK to welcome a number of refugees into a particular region. Citizens UK’s ‘Sponsor Refugees’ project is the largest Lead & Principal Sponsor under the existing Community Sponsorship Scheme and their specialist staff will be able to offer step-by-step, training and support to the partners. To find out if there is a CitizensUK partnership in your association/region please fill in the form below.
We are also exploring what might be possible in partnership with our friends at the European Baptist Federation to connect refugees being supported by Baptist Churches in Ukraine, and the surrounding countries, with Baptist churches in the UK. Currently EBF are working extremely hard to support churches in their humanitarian relief efforts, so anything around sponsorship may take some time to establish. We will update this page should things progress.
Supporting you and each other in welcoming refugees
With the right support, hosting refugees can be one of the most fulfilling and mutually rewarding experiences imaginable.
The commitment it takes to be a good and responsible host to refugees cannot be underestimated. We are extremely keen to ensure that you are receiving all the training and support you will need, and that you have someone you can go to for guidance or advice.
With that in mind, we would like you to fill in this form
, whichever route you choose. By doing so, we will be able to keep in touch with everyone in the Baptist family who is exploring refugee sponsorship/support, ensure you are finding suitable partners, and set up a Baptist Refugee Network to share experiences, resources and other forms of support.
Thank you for expressing an interest – we will, of course, be praying for you on your journey, and for the refugees on theirs.
Fill in our Baptist response form here
(Baptists Together Public Issues Enabler – Faith & Society Team)