Updated 8 March 2022
Some of CTE’s Member Churches have Ukrainian nationals as part of their worshipping communities in Britain. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has strong links with the Ukrainian Catholic community, a tradition in communion with Rome following the Greek Eastern Rite; the Oecumenical Patriarchate supports the Ukrainian Orthodox community; and the Russian Orthodox Church similarly includes some Ukrainian Orthodox believers — while other Member Churches have sister churches in Ukraine. For instance, the Baptist Union of Ukraine is one of the largest Baptist communities in Europe, with over 125,000 members and 2,382 churches; and there is a Church of England congregation in Kyiv.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Meeting in London, on 4 March 2022, the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England and Wales, Ireland, and Scotland have appealed to Catholics to ‘sustain the prayer and self-denial of Lent as a constant offering to God, begging for and end to the pointless violence in Ukraine’. Read the full appeal.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference and a President of CTE, has called for an immediate cessation of the Russian attacks in Ukraine and for the protection of innocent civilians.
“I appeal for all to pray for the people of Ukraine, who are suffering the brunt of this conflict. I pray for their strength and perseverance under this onslaught.
“The international community must unite in seeking an end to this conflict through peaceful means, including dialogue and negotiation, as the only way forward.
“It is their responsibility to ensure that international law and territorial sovereignty are respected. We must also keep in mind the plight of those who will become refugees as a result of this attack and the humanitarian crisis that will inevitably follow.
“In this precarious moment for the people of Ukraine and further across Europe, I pray for the victims of this conflict and their families.”
Pope Francis has announced 2 March (Ash Wednesday) as day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine. He appealed to those “with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war, who is the Father of all, not just of some, who wants us to be brothers and not enemies.”
Church of England
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine as “an act of great evil”.
They urged Christians to make Sunday 27 February a special day of prayer for Ukraine, Russia and for peace. They are also supporting a global day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday.
“Placing our trust in Jesus Christ, the author of peace, we pray for an urgent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian forces. We call for a public decision to choose the way of peace and an international conference to secure long term agreements for stability and lasting peace.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury and CTE President, Justin Welby, addressed the Ukraine conflict in BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. Read the full Thought for the Day text.
His Eminence and CTE President Archbishop Nikitas said “May the black clouds of despair, violence, and hatred soon dissipate in order for the heavenly Light from above to shine brightly down on the pious faithful in Ukraine”.
Coptic Orthodox Church
His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Archbishop of London and Papal Legate to the United Kingdom commented:
“Just over a week ago it would have been inconceivable for most of us to imagine that there would be a war in Europe, and yet today we see the pain and destruction of war unfolding before our eyes in the streets, villages, and cities of Ukraine. We are seeing the now-too-familiar images of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children being internally and externally displaced; once-settled people being faced with uncertainty, and families being separated by war and conflict.
“With the presence of twenty-four-hour reporting, we can become too easily distracted by the analysis of maps, charts and statistics, and forget the very real personal and human cost that is being met by very real people in-country, and by their families and friends around the world.
“In this holy season of Lent across our Churches and Traditions, let us raise our hearts in prayer for an end to this war and conflict with the least possible loss of life, and for a restoration of peace and healing.
“We pray protection upon the people and the armed forces of Ukraine and Russia. We pray wisdom upon leaders and policy makers, that regardless of geopolitical considerations, the preservation of sacred life always stands paramount. We pray peace for a world that is still recovering from a global pandemic that has affected so many, and has had an immense toll on us all.
“May the Prince of Peace, our sovereign God, answer the prayers of millions around the world for an end to this war and further loss of life.”
The Methodist Church has issued a prayer for Ukraine and compiled additional worship resources.
Baptist Union of Great Britain
The Baptist Union of Great Britain’s website includes statements and prayers from The European Baptist Federation (EBF), BMS World Mission, the International Baptist Theological Seminar and others.
United Reformed Church
Visit the URC website for prayers and details on how to help refugees.
The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT)
JPIT is The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church working together for peace and justice. Here’s their prayer for Ukraine:
Quakers in Britain
Quakers in Britain condemns the attack and calls for an end to the fighting, saying it “is a grave development for humanity, and a violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations”. Read the full statement.
The Salvation Army has programmes and personnel in Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Romania, Moldova and other European countries who are able to offer practical assistance, and has launched an appeal.
Christian Aid and CAFOD
CTE Agencies Christian Aid and CAFOD are among the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) members launching an appeal to help the people who have fled their homes to escape the conflict in Ukraine.
Racial Justice Advocacy Forum
Conference of European Churches (CEC)
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) have joined with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), and the World Methodist Council (WMC) to call for prayers of peace for the people of Ukraine and the region.
They have issued an invitation to an online prayer service on Ash Wednesday, 2 March at 17:00 (CET). The service will bring together Christians from Ukraine and other parts of the world, seeking peace and an end to the ongoing conflict.
World Council of Churches (WCC)
WCC urges President Putin to stop war and restore peace to Ukraine. Read the full WCC statement.
“We are living in days that are both perilous and unpredictable…”
The formation of Churches Together in England and its sister ecumenical instruments in 1990, happened alongside the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The current ecumenical experience in England of growing depth and breadth of relationships between churches developed against this background of a European life without a Cold War and the perceived threat of nuclear war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. CTE General Secretary, Rev Dr Paul Goodliff, observed “Events can seem to move slowly for decades, then suddenly, like a tectonic plate shifting with an earthquake, the familiar order of things changes profoundly in days. We are living in such a time. With the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the economic isolation of Russia on the global stage, and its unforeseen outcomes, we are living in days that are both perilous and unpredictable. In such a time the churches call for prayer.”