Archbishop John Wilson visited volunteers at the White Eagle Club in Balham, south London, on Ash Wednesday to witness first-hand how the Polish community was responding to the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Ukraine.
The Archbishop, armed with some essential supplies for families, saw donations of clothes, pillows, duvets, toys and sanitary products stacked from floor to ceiling at the Polish social club.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced people and refugees are trying to cross the border into Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to escape the warzone.
“How important to hear the human stories, not simply to look at the politics of this, but to hear the human stories and to realise that in the midst of this war, there are brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, all caught up being separated from each other. This is true for the people of Russia as well. There must be Russian mothers whose sons are fighting in Ukraine, who are desperately worried and frightened.
“So again, we have to hear the human story in the tragedy, but also respond with human hearts of compassion and also with a will to help, which is more than words.
“It is important that we in this country, whoever we are, whatever we believe, if we know people from Ukraine that we reach out to them, that we offer them support, and that we are prepared to receive people from Ukraine into the sanctuary of this country, which has always been known for its capacity to welcome those who are under threat. If we lose that, we’re losing something of our humanity.”