Although significantly different from the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program that we work with, the CUAET, an accelerated, special temporary residence pathway specifically for Ukrainians affords churches many ways to provide significant help to those fleeing war. (A description of CUAET can be found here.)
- The AGC is a long-time partner with Tearfund. Their partners on the ground are springing into action, especially those situated in border countries, preparing to welcome and support those in need. Donations can be made online, or cheques can be sent to the address at the bottom of that same web page.
- In a God-orchestrated way, Tim has connected with a Ukrainian businessman and his family who are doing what they can to find places to stay here in Canada for people he knows. This man is on the board for a Christian camping organization in Ukraine and has even visited Muskoka Woods Camp in Ontario. Money can be sent to Tim and Susan to disperse on your behalf for plane tickets, to help Ukrainians as they arrive, or as needs become known. None of these funds would be eligible for a charitable receipt.
Sharing our Homes:
- Ukrainians will need a place to stay when they arrive. If you have a room in your home and are able to welcome people to live with you for several weeks or months, let us know. Tim is working to connect Canadians (with space) to Ukrainians (who need a place to stay).
- A church community could support a few Ukrainian families. Not many of us are able to open our home and carry the added financial burden that entails. But as a church community, some homes could be opened and the whole church community could partner together to share the financial burden.
- Collaborate with another church in your community, working together to provide places to stay.
This is a great opportunity for churches to connect with organizations within our own communities.
- Contact your local Ukrainian Cultural Association and ask how you can help.
- Contact your local Member of Parliament (Federal) or Member of the Legislature (Provincial) to find out what is happening in your community. Let them know your congregation is willing to help in some way.
- Watch your local news to discover what others in your community are doing. Watch for ways to come alongside and assist the efforts of others.
- Contact your local Settlement Provider Organization as they work with refugees and newcomers. They may need extra volunteers to work with Ukrainians – helping with language, interpretation (if you speak Ukrainian), getting comfortable in the community, simply being a friend, etc.
As much as our hearts are pulling to do something, it is always best to go into ministry like this with realistic perspectives. What follows is not a comprehensive list but are a few ideas to foster conversations.
Although the government is considering implementing some kind of program for Canadians who are opening their homes to Ukrainians – perhaps monthly payments or tax credits – there is nothing in place at this point in time. Any expenses incurred need to be seen as gifts given with no expectation of reimbursement.
Although many Ukrainians have some degree of English, language may be a hindrance to communication. Google translate is very accessible, and interpreters may be available in your community, but you will want to consider potential language barriers and how important those will be in your context.
Quick arrivals are both good and a challenge – good for the safety of Ukrainians and a means for us to help while we are motivated; a challenge in that gaining cultural sensitivity and managing expectations may suffer.
Compassion ministries are predictably messy. When confronted with the mess, it is important to remain calm, to ask God for wisdom, to consider if anyone is in immediate danger, and then to stay in the mess with the people affected and look for the best way forward.
God is always present in the mess – often using circumstances to break away our own unhealthy habits or perspectives, to make Himself better known to us.
This is what the church was made for. This is our sweet spot. This is how we "live out loud" our love for Jesus.