So there I was. . . hiking along a rocky seashore trail in Northern Ireland one week during my sabbatical. I had heard about a secluded beach at the base of a cliff near the town of Ballycastle and I wanted to see it for myself. I parked my car at the start of the trail, walked downhill through patches of sticky mud, and made it down to the water. I walked past the deserted ruin of a house, following the trail, scrambling over piles of rocks and around muddy puddles. Finally, I made it to a flat, open space and came upon an elderly woman sitting beside the trail. She was alone and I was alone. She greeted me warmly (like lots of people do in Ireland and Northern Ireland). “It’s a beautiful afternoon,” she said. “Yes it is,” I replied. Then her face changed. “The world’s in quite a state right now,” she said. “Yes, it is,” I replied. Standing in the quiet beauty of where we were - with the waves splashing the shoreline - the violence in Ukraine seemed so far away, but it was on both of our minds. “Oh, what can be done to help?” she wondered out-loud. I was wondering the same thing.
I know that Ukraine has been on a lot of peoples’ minds. Thankfully, our denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has been hard at work supporting our ministry partners, including Hungarian Reformed Church Aid, Friends of Community of St. Egidio, International Orthodox Christian Charities, and the Lutheran World Federation supporting refugees with food, hygiene items, potable water, baby supplies, first aid, psychosocial support and more. The PCUSA has been doing all this through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
Just as the elderly woman and I wondered on that beach if there was anything that could be done, I know that many of you have been wondering the same thing. In May, BPC will be collecting a special offering for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s efforts in Ukraine. You’ll be hearing more about this in the coming weeks. If you don’t want to wait for May, you can text PDAUKR to 41444 to make a direct gift to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and designate it for Ukraine. For more information, you can also go to this website to find out more: https://pda.pcusa.org/situation/ukraine/.
See you in church!
Grace and Peace,