Holding Ukraine in our hearts and minds

First published on: 5th May 2022

As the crisis in Ukraine continues to unfold, churches across our Diocese are showing their solidarity with the eastern European nation.

Hexham Abbey has been flying a Ukrainian flag – made by congregation member June Olliver – from its roof in a display of support for the country.

The abbey, which hosted a peace vigil soon after the Russian invasion, posted on Facebook: “Our thoughts and prayers will continue to go out to them in a plea for a peaceful resolution.”

The flag will be flown on significant dates and anniversaries as the conflict continues.

In another show of allegiance with Ukraine, a prayer board has been placed in the abbey to allow visitors the chance to write and display their prayers.

Two flower pots, featuring the colours of the Ukrainian flag, have also been created by the abbey’s gardening team and are prominently displayed in the Refectory Café Garden.

Children from the abbey’s Tots’ Praise group have planted sunflowers in the pots to signify hope and support.

And Knitted sheep – including blue and yellow designs – have helped families find their way round the abbey’s Easter Trail.

At Newcastle Cathedral, Ukraine ribbons depicting its iconic Lantern Tower have been sold to raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah was one of many people in attendance at the cathedral’s candlelit vigil for Ukraine held in St Nicholas Square and led by Canon Clare MacLaren at the end of March – marking one month of conflict in the country.

Many churches are continuing to hold prayer vigils, quiet space for prayers and fundraising events for the DEC appeal and the USPG Ukraine Emergency Appeal.

Some people in our Diocese have also registered with the Sanctuary Foundation and other organisations to offer refuge for displaced Ukrainians.

For more information about how you can support Ukraine through prayer, financial support and community action, please read the Church of England’s dedicated webpage.

These resources include a parish toolkit, Homes for Ukraine safeguarding guidance and prayers.

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