Welcoming Ukrainian guests
Stan Hazell reports on a church initiative in Gloucestershire
A Mamma Mia themed night at Thornbury United Reformed church in south Gloucestershire might seem a long way from the horrors of the war in Ukraine. But the ukulele band entertaining the audience was largely made up of Ukrainian refugees.
They are among more than 90 Ukrainians – mainly women and children – hosted in the town as a result of a groundswell of local support with local churches at its heart. The town now hosts one of the largest groups of Ukrainian refugees in the county.
With the refugee crisis escalating, local churches asked what they could do. Thornbury URC, which has a membership of just 35, along with members from joint pastorate Trinity-Henleaze in Bristol, were among those who collected essential items to be sent to Ukraine.
Thornbury Baptist Church already had WhatsApp groups supporting potential hosts and volunteers and the URC team joined them. Heather Staley from the Baptists played a key role directing those interested to appropriate agencies. Soon she was dealing with a flood of responses…
This is an extract from an article published in the April 2023 edition of Reform