The invasion of Ukraine, one year on: a time for prayer and reflection
Churches are being invited to pray, reflect and respond around the anniversary of Russia’s military assault on Ukraine on 24 February. The Revd Fiona Bennett, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, has issued the following statement and prayer:
“The anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is an occasion for lament and sober reflection. Over the last year, Russia’s military action has led to devastation and destruction on a massive scale, and thousands of deaths and casualties among Ukrainian civilians. Nearly eight million Ukrainians have fled the country to seek refuge. The conflict is also taking its toll on people in Russia, as economic sanctions bite, political freedoms and access to information are restricted, and many men have been conscripted to fight. The human cost of war is vast and the legacies of war stretch for generations. Our prayers are with all who suffer and grieve.
Amidst the overwhelming horrors of this war, there are nonetheless glimmers of hope. Ukraine’s people and its leadership have shown remarkable resilience in the face of President Putin’s aggression. The welcome that Ukrainians have found in other countries, including through many in the UK who have opened their homes to strangers, is heartening. We must be mindful that as the war continues, so does the need for generosity in offering hospitality and humanitarian support. So ‘let us not become weary in doing good’ (Galatians 6:9).
Ultimately, the suffering will only be ended by dialogue which establishes a just peace that provides security for all. As we express solidarity with the people of Ukraine on this sorry anniversary, we pray that opportunities will soon open up for this to begin.”
God of peace and justice
With sorrow and lament, we hold the situation in Ukraine before you, a year on from the Russian invasion.
We long for an end to the conflict and the bloodshed and suffering.
We remember people in Ukraine living in fear of death and destruction.
We pray for all who grieve lost lives and opportunities.
May those who have been displaced find safety and welcome in their new communities.
We pray that those with authority and influence will work for a just peace which provides security for all.
As we hold in our prayers all affected by the war,
we pray that they may know that they are held in your loving arms.
In your name we pray,
How you can get involved
On the day of the anniversary, Friday 24 February 2023, ecumenical services and vigils are being held in cities around the UK, organised in conjunction with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Community. Details can be found on the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland website: Church response to Russian invasion of Ukraine
Christian Aid is inviting churches to join together in an act of witness to pray for Ukraine on Sunday 26 February, for an end to the conflict and for all those affected by the terrible impact of war. It is also asking for donations towards its work to assist people who have been displaced because of the conflict. Read more here: Prayers for Ukraine – Christian Aid
Further worship and reflection materials are offered by the Methodist Church-Ukraine Anniversary Services
There is an ongoing need for people to host people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Find out more about this, and other ways in which churches can and are responding to the situation, on the URC’s Crisis in Ukraine web page: Crisis in Ukraine – United Reformed Church
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