Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn wrote recently to parishes across the Diocese, calling people to redouble their prayers for Ukraine. He highlighted a number of initiatives:
The full letter is here.
Bishop Julian and his Leadership Team also wrote a letter to parishes at the start of the war which was sent to all in The Church of England in Lancashire condemning Russia's actions as a gross abuse of power and a criminal act.
Bishop Julian said: “My Leadership Team and I are horrified by the events of the past few days and the unprovoked and violent assault launched by the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
“Together we have sent a letter to all parish clergy across Lancashire which states that this invasion is a gross abuse of power and a criminal act, and it has rightly brought upon the aggressor condemnation and heavy sanctions.
"As Christians we may feel powerless in the face of such appalling violence. But as always, our response is to hold high the cross of Jesus Christ. On the cross Jesus died because of the violent abuse of power by those he came to save.”
Joining with recent prayers issued by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York our Diocese has also circulated our own prayer for the country and people of Ukraine.
It has been included in the Leadership Team letter and will be included in the ‘Parish Update’ ebulletin regularly sent to 2000 people. You can subscribe to Parish Update here if not subscribed already.
It was also posted to the Diocesan Twitter account and also on our Facebook account. (Social media links top right of this page).
We have an official Diocesan prayer for Ukraine which can be said at any time.
Almighty God, seated above all the affairs of humankind and sovereign over nations and leaders, hear our prayer for Ukraine at this time of war; that lives may be spared, that national boundaries be respected and that forces of aggression be restrained. Grant, Lord God, peace in your world in our time. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen
The Rt Rev. Julian Henderson has written a letter a clergy regarding the Home for Ukraine Scheme. He notes that:
This scheme has been commended by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Blackburn Diocese would also like to articulate their support. The Church of England has produced a tool kit for people and parishes wishing to support Ukrainian refugees which you can find here. It has also produced safeguarding advice for clergy wishing to welcome people into their homes and this can be found here.
A copy of the letter can be found here.
We have already heard of many parishes undertaking specific initiatives to support the people of Ukraine, as well as praying. We have gathered some links on below on this 'Ukraine prayer page'.
If your parish is also doing something, send us a website link with information and we will add it to the page linked to above. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, recently on BBC Radio Lancashire between 6am and 9am (available here or after on BBC Sounds) Joe Wilson's programme featured Bishop Philip speaking when attending a peace vigil in Burnley this week; also Archdeacon David and Rev. Canon Leah Vasey-Saunders of Lancaster Priory were interviewed at a similar event in Lancaster.
We have also had approaches about where church fundraising can be channeled and would direct people to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
The Church of England Diocese of Europe has also launched an appeal for humanitarian aid and you can find out more and donate via this page.
Follow the link and below are other recommended sites below offering ways to help the people of Ukraine at this time.
Ronnie Semley, February, March and April 2022