Dr Bruce asked church members across Ireland to give generously to the church’s partners involved in providing humanitarian aid to those fleeing the conflict and those trying to get aid into Ukraine.
The moderator said: “Further to my letter last week to ministers calling for congregations to pray for the situation in Ukraine, tragically the bombardment of the country and its people by Russian forces has continued, with the fear and suffering of people living in Ukraine increasing each day.
“I have therefore launched a moderator’s appeal towards the emergency relief effort to help people in Ukraine and those fleeing the conflict. I am confident our members will respond as generously, and sacrificially, as they have done on so many previous occasions.”
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is immediately releasing £60,000 to be distributed equally between its relief and development partners, Christian Aid (Ireland) and Tearfund, and also to one of its partner churches, the Reformed Church in Hungary and its relief and development wing, Hungarian Reformed Church Aid.
Dr Bruce (pictured) explained that these agencies are all experienced in supplying and distributing humanitarian aid and assistance, not least to refugees and displaced people fleeing regions of conflict, and whenever possible, will extend their reach into Ukraine itself.
“Hungarian Reformed Church Aid was among the first organisations to mobilise its staff and volunteers to provide immediate assistance. It delivered its first food packages to the Ukrainian-Hungarian border on the morning of the invasion, and has already sent more than 10 tonnes of non-perishable food across the border,” he said.
Supporting the appeal, the Rev Dr Liz Hughes, convener of the Presbyterian Church’s council for global mission, also explained Christian Aid (Ireland) and Tearfund are working with a range of partners on the ground in neighbouring countries and hope to work inside Ukraine as and when circumstances allow.
“Their partners are providing for the immediate needs of the huge numbers of people fleeing Ukraine every hour. They are also working round the clock providing food, bedding and temporary accommodation to the people. In recent days one of their local partners has distributed 28 tonnes of food supplies and other lifesaving essentials to displaced people in Ukraine,” she said.
Dr Hughes also pointed out that £30 could provide essential hygiene supplies for three people for one month, £50 could provide blankets for four families, while £100 could provide emergency food for two families for one month.