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Scottish Episcopal Synod: Call to help Ukrainian refugees

17 June 2022

Scottish Episcopal Church

The Revd Markus Dünzkofer

The Revd Markus Dünzkofer

THE Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod has deplored Russian aggression against Ukraine, after hearing an account of one priest’s journey to the Polish border.

Addressing the Synod last Friday, the Revd Markus Dünzkofer (Edinburgh), Rector of St John’s, Edinburgh, started in his native German, singing a short refrain: “Viel kleine Leute, an vielen kleinen Orten, die viele kleine Schritte tun, können das Gesicht der Welt verändern.”

Before translating this, he described his experience on the Polish border, helping refugees from Ukraine to reach sanctuary in Berlin. “Each face was special,” he said. “Each face carried the image of God. But it was the suffering God, God on the cross.”

Only after repeating the German phrase three times did he offer a translation: “A lot of little people, in a lot of little places, who walk a lot of little steps, will change the face of the earth.”

“We can all do some little steps,” he said.

Before the vote to endorse the Primus’s statement on Ukraine, the Synod heard from Sabine Chalmers, of Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees, an interfaith organisation that works to raise awareness and support refugees.

After reciting 2 Corinthians 4.8-9, Ms Chalmers described the experience of Philomena, a refugee and a friend. Ms Chalmers described Philomena’s experience of racism in Glasgow, and the dire quality of the food that she had to subsist on in an asylum hotel, receiving just £8 per week and not permitted to work.

When Philomena started attending her local church in Glasgow, however, she was “welcomed with open arms and made to feel at home”, and found “financial and emotional support”.

Ms Chalmers said that, “as churches and communities of faith, we are uniquely placed to offer personal, emotional, and spiritual support and care. . . Let us use our richness in experience and skill.”

She encouraged all members to do what they could, however modest it might seem. “There is always a role for everyone,” she said.

In his statement on Ukraine, the Primus, the Most Revd Mark Strange, wrote, “Let us welcome all who wish to come, let us speak out against tyranny, and let us pray for peace.”

He criticised the Government’s visa scheme for Ukrainian refugees, calling on the Government to “urgently increase the speed and capacity of our support for refugees”.

The motion was carried unanimously.

Click here for more coverage of the SEC synod

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