Hundreds rally to house Ukrainian refugees after plea from Bishop of Horsham

Hundreds of people across Sussex are getting ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees into their homes following a call for help from the Bishop of Horsham.

The Bishop, the Rt Rev Ruth Bushyager, wrote to all 365 parishes in the diocese asking them to register to be part of a humanitarian sponsorship scheme that enables Ukrainians to enter the UK.

Around 70 Sussex churches registered immediately and a growing number of families and households are now waiting for visa clearance before welcoming the refugees into their homes.

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She said: “We are seeing an outpouring of hospitality in this unprecedented situation.

The Bishop of Horsham, the Rt Rev Ruth Bushyager SUS-210501-125452001

“Communities across Sussex, as in the rest of the United Kingdom, are coming together in remarkable ways to prepare to support Ukrainians, many of whom are vulnerable women and children who have suffered great trauma.”

In Southwater the Bishop of Lewes, Will Hazlewood, spoke at a recent peace vigil held for Ukraine, hosted by the Southwater Interfaith Forum at Holy Innocents Church.

He emphasised that all faiths seek peace, saying: “The peace which God offers us is not a human sort of peace but the peace which sees us as infinitely worthy and precious.

“Seeing the devastating suffering brought on by this war, we seek to share God’s peace and call each person, each refugee, our friend.”

Father Mark Heather from Steyning told of several offers of rooms and one of an entire house.

So far, he said, contact has been made with a family from Kharkiv, two parents and four young children.

The church is also supporting a local community action group, Steyning Refugee Help, which has been revived with a relaunched website, https://steyningrefugeehelp.co.uk

This continues and builds on existing support for refugees in the town.