Newcastle Diocese responds to Ukraine

First published on: 3rd March 2022

The Prudhoe Parish Church Hall, full of donations for Ukrainian refugees

Churches across our Diocese have responded to the Ukraine crisis with heartfelt compassion and love.

Thousands of bags full of vital supplies for displaced Ukrainians have filled church pews and halls as the people of our Diocese support the humanitarian aid effort.

Prayer vigils and special services have taken place, and blue and yellow flags and ribbons have been prominently displayed in churches as a gesture of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Many churches too have organised fundraising initiatives and collections to support charities working on the frontline.

Volunteers within Ponteland provided children's toys to be donated to refugees of Ukraine 

Overwhelming response

Following a request from a resident, Prudhoe Parish Church opened its doors as a collection point resulting in a landslide of donations including camping beds, bedding, non-perishable food and toiletries.

Vicar Daniel Freyhan said: "The whole idea came not from us but a lovely Romanian lady who is part of the Prudhoe community. She asked if we could do some collections in the hall as she was broken-hearted to see all that was going on in her home country, where people are pouring over the borders in desperate need and they're overwhelmed trying to help them all."

Several van loads of donations were driven to London and then transferred to a lorry owned by a Romanian church, before travelling to Ukraine and neighbouring countries to help the three million refugees who have now fled their war-torn country.

Churches in Northumberland became drop-off points for donations following an appeal led by Northumberland County Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, who has helped coordinate donations in the county in conjunction with Newcastle's Polish Centre.

In Ponteland, a three-day collection saw a double-length garage fill with donations. A Praying Hand sculpture in St Mary’s Church, with yellow and blue balloon attached, also welcomed people to pray for Ukraine.
All Saints Church, Rothbury acted as another community hub in the coordination of the relief effort. A collection point set up in the church was overwhelmed with donations from residents.

Donations to both St Mary’s and All Saints, which included baby food, toys, medical supplies and toiletries, have been sent to the strategic reserves warehouse located in the ÅšwiÄ™tokrzyskie Voivodeship province of Poland and are being distributed to centres of temporary stay for Ukrainian families.

St Andrews Church, Cambois also became a collection point for donations as did the parish of Whittingham, Edlingham and Bolton and the parish of Alston Moor.

In Newcastle and North Tyneside, many churches including St Columba’s Wideopen launched appeals for donations.

On Facebook, St Columba’s posted: “When we delivered the first of two carloads to the Polish Centre which was acting as a hub, they were sorting and packing donations into endless cardboard boxes and then into a series of vans. Later, they were still sorting, and filling a huge articulated lorry. These were firemen helping but there were many other volunteers and a constant stream of donations.”

The majority of collections have now finished in light of the incredible response to appeals and the shift in focus as the Government introduces its Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Instead, monetary donations to the USPG and Diocese of Europe Ukraine Emergency Appeal or the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal are encouraged.

All Saints Church, Rothbury was overwhelmed with support for its collection point

Prayers for peace

In Newcastle Cathedral, a candle has been lit in the nave since the beginning of the conflict and on 3 March, the cathedral bells tolled for seven minutes to mark seven days since fighting broke out in Ukraine.

At a cathedral concert, the Ukrainian national anthem was played by Orchestra North East in support of the country which led to a standing ovation.

Churches within Morpeth Parish have created a Peace Wall outside of St James The Great to show their allegiance with Ukraine. As part of their ‘Prayers for Peace’ project, ribbons and pens have been left for people to add their prayers and support those caught up in the war.

Blue and yellow ribbons have also been tied on the railings outside of St Cuthbert’s, Allendale by members of the church and community.

Over 30 people, young and old, held a vigil for Ukraine at Alston’s Market Cross, where they stood holding candles and Ukrainian flags. Those with Ukraine connections spoke of the country and people they loved, prayers were said, songs were sung, poems recited and silence was kept.
Among those present was Eve Carter, a young woman who was about to travel to Hungary to help Ukrainian refugees.

The vigil started and finished with music played by Josephine Dickinson on the Carillon of St Augustine’s Church, including the Ukrainian national anthem, and followed the Ash Wednesday service there, where prayers were also said for Ukraine.

Revd Mark Nash-Williams, the Vicar of Alston, said: “It was quite moving to see how much people care about Ukraine. In these days of instant communication, we can’t pretend that what’s happening in Ukraine doesn’t concern us. We can see it, and we know instinctively that it’s people just like us who are dying and fighting.”

A service of prayer for Ukraine held in St Jude’s Church, Knaresdale attracted more than 30 people and raised over £500 for Ukraine.

And in St Augustine’s, Alston a candle is burning day and night for Ukraine, and will do so for as long as necessary.

During a sports session led by Hat Trick at Holy Spirit Church, Denton, the young participants tied yellow and blue ribbons on the tree outside the church in support of all Ukrainians.

Anne-Marie from Hat-Trick Sessions, said: “We are showing some support and community spirit within our West Denton session in these difficult times. It is great working alongside the local church who offer great support with indoor venue space, and who also give their time to get involved in the sessions and have great relationships within the community.”

St Columba’s, Wideopen, held a service of prayer for peace in Ukraine, raising over £100 for Red Cross in a post-service pancake party on Shrove Tuesday.

The vigil held at Alston's Market Cross invited prayers, songs and silence for the people of Ukraine

If your church is doing anything in response to the Ukrainian war, please let us know at

Blue and yellow ribbons were placed outside of St Cuthbert's, Allendale

The Praying Hand statue at St Mary's Church, Ponteland

St Columba's, Wideopen had their donations helped onto a truck by a group of volunteers and firemen

St Columba's raised money selling pancakes on Shrove Tuesday

The Peace Wall located outside of St James The Great

A candle has been lit in Newcastle Cathedral since the beginning of the conflict

Donations at All Saints Church, Rothbury filled the pews! 

Students at NCEA Warksorth rallied support for Ukraine

Food bank pick up packs shaped in a heart at NCEA Warkworth



Powered by Church Edit