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Eden Wild Goose - Ukraine response 

The context and contents of this page are rapidly evolving.
The latest post will be dated at the top of the page moving older posts down.
Letters and updates will be sent separately to those on the EWGUS support group.
Graeme Skinner graemevicarofeden@gmail.com 01228561358

12th July
We now have two families as guests from Ukraine in our community, supported and welcomed by local hosts, schools, County Council language tutors and neighbours.

29th June
A couple if days ago our I was spending some time with our first Ukrainian guest and she showed me a couple of cards that have been printed to help people think about the war. The first was a cartoon child hiding under a blanket in a dark room, the caption was ‘Glory to the heroes’. I was told it was to give thanks for the soldiers protecting the children who were hiding.

The second card was less obvious to us but not to Ukrainians. It showed a Ukrainian woman handing Putin a Pumpkin with the caption, ‘No means No’. I was told that handing someone a pumpkin was an
old tradition of refusing a marriage proposal. So I looked it up online to capture the full meaning and her is what I found.


Pumpkins are so popular in the United States of America when Halloween knocks on your door. My story will change your whole perception about pumpkins. You will understand why males in Ukraine associate different things with pumpkins. One thing for sure, it is not appreciated to own pumpkins. I will tell you even more: they are ashamed to receive a pumpkin. Why?
IMG 5668
It comes from medieval times, when a Ukrainian person wanted to marry a girl, he had to visit the house of the girl and make an impression on both parents and the girl. He also had to bring two closest people with him, preferably with a good sense of humour, because they would help him to impress future wife and her parents. At the end, those two “helpers” have to ask if the parents would approve the potential fiancé, but the girl makes the final decision.

Here comes the hump. If the girl handed a special crochet towel to those two people, and tied a ribbon on the wrist of a young fellow – it meant “yes.” Notice, no words are being exchanged. Here they say, “Less words, more actions.”

Now, if the answer was “no,” are you ready for this? Two “helpers” were not to receive anything, and the guy would receive a pumpkin. It was the girl’s way to refuse the proposal, and say she did not want to link her life with the man. Back at that time, it was a shame for a Ukrainian guy to receive a pumpkin. People would think that he had a bad reputation if the girl did not want to marry him. However, if he already owned a collection of pumpkins, received from other girls, one can only feel pity for the guy and pat his shoulder. If a family was known for having good-looking daughter(s), they had better stocked up a lot of pumpkins since their girl(s) would get a lot of guys proposing to them.

Nowadays, this tradition is forgotten. Men have to be more creative to earn one’s heart. Usually, a man buys a ring and takes a woman to a romantic place, gets down on his knee and says those, long awaited for some, words “Will you marry me?” However, the phrase itself, “receive a pumpkin” is still popular in Ukraine. It means that somebody was rejected in something that was important, whether it was a business or relationship matter. Sometimes, guys can tease their comrades by saying that their girlfriend gave them a pumpkin, which means they got rejected, just like centuries ago. So, Putin gets a pumpkin.

24th April
Today is Easter Day in Ukraine

Reuters have written an article on four women returning to Ukraine, giving an insight to this moment,  including...
Maria Verbyana, 19, moved to Warsaw to escape Lviv, Ukraine, a month ago amid the threat of Russian bombings. But, as Orthodox Easter approaches on Sunday, she could not imagine being away from her priest and family.
Late on Thursday night, she boarded a bus back home, determined to spend her Easter volunteering to help Ukrainian soldiers, performing folk songs and praying and singing with Father Taras.
She is one of thousands who are set to return to Ukraine for Easter, despite the ongoing risk of bombings and attacks as Russian aggression in Ukraine, especially in the East and South.
"Ukraine is now in the culmination of its history and therefore it will be the most special and sacred Easter in the history of Ukraine," Verbyana said.
"A monkey with a grenade lives next us, so it can't be safe anywhere, even in Lviv. But we will hope that this Easter will be special for us. And that indeed the Lord will protect us."
While over five million Ukrainians have left Ukraine since Feb. 24, data from the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR show that over one million have also re-entered. It is unclear how many of the returns are permanent.
Migrants choosing to go back said they were driven by an inability to find work abroad or a desire to be reunited with their families, while their homes were not being bombed or occupied.

15th April
A Gov.uk 'Homes for Ukraine' email is being sent around those who have registered but not yet had a matching. Here are some extracts from the text.

Over 200,000 expressions of interest (EOIs) have been received from people in the UK willing to offer accommodation.
Some applicants have been waiting nearly three weeks for their visa applications to be progressed or an outcome communicated, and we acknowledge that this is unacceptable. We are speeding up the processing of visas.
While many more sponsors will welcome Ukrainians in the coming weeks and months, we also recognise that not all those who expressed an interest in offering accommodation will be able to proceed: some homes, for instance, may be too remote for Ukrainian people who would like access to jobs or who may not be able to drive. Some sponsors, when informed of the level of support people fleeing Ukraine will need and the more detailed criteria, including accommodation standards and safeguarding checks, have chosen to withdraw. We appreciate this and the many reasons for withdrawal – it is no small commitment to host people fleeing a war zone. There will be many ways to help Ukrainians in the UK, other than providing accommodation.
There are instances, too, where Ukrainians with UK sponsors, who have had visas granted, have chosen to remain closer to home as the immediate threat of war fades from their home area. This should be respected by us all, while our doors remain open should circumstances worsen.

14th April

Boden clothes are offering free items for children of Ukrainians being hosted here. I have put the link here for future reference for those who would appreciate it.

Mini Boden clothing for Ukrainian children. We want to support as many customers as possible who are hosting Ukrainian refugees in their homes. As such, we will provide Mini Boden clothes for refugee children aged 12 and under.  When applying, you'll need to check with the children's parents or legal guardians that they are happy for the child's size, gender and current address to be shared with us. This is so we can send the right clothes to the right address. Stock is limited, but we'll help as many children as we can.  You may be contacted to provide proof that you are hosting a refugee.

Easter Song for Ukraine
Ukrainian Church singing on the streets of Amsterdam just after the war started. 

A Traditional Easter Ukraine
A short video from Christmas 2021

11th April
If you will be filling in a Visa application form, here is a very helpful 45 mins video from Sanctuary Foundation on how and why the hosts and guests fill in the application.
'The government's innovative Homes for Ukraine programme has had an unprecedented response. A brand new system has been launched for this sponsorship, and the Home Office are offering us this unique opportunity to understand better how to navigate some of its complexities. This Q&A event will help all those seeking to assist Ukrainians to come to the UK. We will be discussing issues such as: Who should fill in the form? Where can we get help if we get stuck? What documents do we need to have ready? What happens next?'

9th April
Listening to the voices of Ukrainians struggling with what they see in their own words is a heart wrenching a bewildering experience. Here is a blog written by Rev. Dr. Roman Soloviy who is leader within the protestant churches in Ukraine, 'Theology After Bucha: Reflections on the Russian Atrocities against the People of Ukraine.' 

Roman is linked to the Dnipro Hope Mission who have been working in Ukraine for the last ten year serving those in need from the war that started then in Crimea.  The UK link James Searle wrote a blog this week‘Frontline Ministry’ in War-Torn Ukraine

7th April
A Guardian Newspaper story of Ukrainian children arriving in Scotland

There is an internationally renowned Children's Choir in Kyiv. They recorded two pieces of music just before the war in Ukraine and they sent these pieces last week to Saul Zaks. who wants to spread this beautiful music to the world. This is a story that can best be told with music. Because it is about music - about music as a source of hope in a war. About a fight to get that music out into the world now. 

4th April 
Short video Krish Kandiah of  Sanctuary Foundation
'Don't give in to the darkness - bring light' 

Update notes
Greetings Pryvitannya (I think)
One couple in our group found a match - complete with phone calls and a provisional agreement to invite her over – however she had friends and family with her and understandably she wanted to bring others in her circle with her. So, we managed to make some links for all three families/people from within EWGUS but within a few hours the folk from Ukraine had linked up elsewhere.
We had a few learning points from this. Firstly, we couldn’t have moved faster at our end but know that they need to move even faster there and secondly, we can expect requests to come in groups who want to be near each other.  

28th March
BBC Sounds Radio 4

Letter from Ukraine   
Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov - author of Death and the Penguin - gives a personal account of daily life in war-torn Ukraine.

26th March
Update from this week's meetings

Recording and notes from the Zoom and in St Paul's Holme Eden Meetings
on 23rd and 24th March

Link to the Association of British Insurers
If you are a homeowner in the UK and want to temporarily house refugees who have been displaced from the conflict in Ukraine as non-paying guests in your home, you do not need to inform your insurer and your cover will remain the same. The page on Supporting Ukraine is vey helpful for anyone hosting or involved in transport. 


24th March

Sanctuary Foundation in Moldova (3 mins video)

23rd March Coming Events 

Mothering Sunday 27th March 2022
Afternoon tea 1pm to 4pm

At Hallbankgate Hub
Prices £8.50 per person
Children under 10 years £4, under 2 years free
Pre-booking advised: 016977 46698
Treat someone special to you
All profits to support Ukrainian refugees
Saturday 9th April 10am-12 noon Coffee morning
The Border Kirk (Church of Scotland) Chapel St, Carlisle
Proceeds will go to the DEC Ukraine Appeal.

20th March BBC Radio Cumbria

Helen Millican 
on BBC Sounds
Thought for the Day from Archdeacon Lee Townsend
then Graeme Skinner on Eden Wild Goose Ukraine Sanctuary

16th March 2022 Update

Sanctuary Foundation broadcast a 90 minutes event on Wednesday 16th March
Here is the recording

15th March 2022 Update

If you have been in touch with me..
Thank you for your offer of support through Eden Wild Goose alongside the Gov.uk ‘Homes for Ukraine’ campaign. Some of you have offered ‘Anything I can do’, including meals, transport, local advice, children’s activities, translation… Others have been considering offering accommodation and some have already signed up to with the campaign.
Our EWG Ukrainian Sanctuary community support group numbers are growing by the hour as a local resource to help and support guests and hosts once/if there are people from Ukraine who begin arriving here. Every offer has been noted – we await developments and see what evolves over the next few weeks. EWGUS is simply being offered as a support alongside the nationwide Gov.uk campaign.
The next step, for those offering accommodation, if not already done so, is to sign the Gov.uk Homes for Ukraine campaign 
After the first phase, when known or named people will be arriving, Gov.uk will be linking hosts with others who are arriving. As yet how this works is uncertain, however please note the reassuring comment from Elizabeth Mallinson (a key person in the County Council) that ‘Both the County Council (lead authority for refugees) and the City Council will let residents know via their Web pages and councillors will be briefed on what is happening and what to do. Please note that all sponsoring households will be subject TO SECURITY AND SAFEGUARDING CHECKS before they can receive a family’.
Anyone who wants to be part of the local community support group (Eden Wild Goose Ukraine Sanctuary) needs to book in with me so I can coordinate local offers and needs as they arise in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for doing that already. It would also be helpful but not essential to register with Sanctuary Foundation, as they and other experienced groups within their network will be giving us access to resources and wisdom that few of us have in this unprecedented situation.
About Sanctuary Foundation
Sanctuary Foundation is running an online training event Wednesday 16th March 19.30-21.00. You can sign up here. Even if you are not able to be a host, and I imagine much of the talk will be about, that looking at the information below. If you are offering to help in any way, it will still be very useful to know what is happening so you can dovetail into the campaign more effectively and be part of the local community support group.
Wednesday 16th March 7.30pm event sign up
 'Thank you for pledging to be a Humanitarian Sponsor for Ukrainian refugees. The details of the government scheme are being developed at pace. At this event you will hear from experienced refugee experts, Ukrainian refugees, people who have experience hosting refugees and government officials involved in designing the programme. We will seek to answer some of the following questions:
How will the process work?
What if I don't know anyone in or from Ukraine that needs help?
What does a host do?
What kind of safety checks will there be? about my children?
How can I prepare?’ 

The EWGUS community group is a response network being set up at this moment to help and support local hosts and guests and offer practical assistance for the next few months as needed; we are stronger together. Our hearts and minds hold those in great need at this time as we each pray or feel into this situation in our own way. I will be updating information on this link as the situation is changing all the time.
EWG Ukraine Sanctuary update page
Eden Wild Goose is a community facing initiative, started by the churches, to engage with ‘Life in all its fullness’. We run a Community Choir, Craft Group, Nature Group and a wide range of other activities alongside a prayer movement. The centre of our activities is in Wetheral Civic parish and the villages around.
What is Eden Wild Goose?
Graeme Skinner
01228 561358

220315 General EWG Sanctary in

14th March Update
How can I help Ukrainian refugees coming to the UK?

The UK government has announced it is developing a new humanitarian sponsorship programme that will allow an unlimited number of Ukrainian families to come to the UK. With this in mind, Eden Wild Goose is suggesting a possible method of responding, beyond what you might already be doing towards support through the Disasters Emergency Committee in countries around Ukraine. The Sanctuary Foundation is focused on the coming need here in the UK. It is a partnership between registered UK charities, churches and other agencies to support and coordinate a rapid response to this crisis as Ukrainians begin to arrive in our country. Read about it on
and watch the interview by Caitlin Moran with Dr Krish Kandiah about the Ukrainian Refugee Sponsorship programme.
There are already over 10,000 pledges of support for this Sanctuary Foundation initiative across the UK. 

What can you do?
Firstly, give financial support through The Sanctuary Foundation to cover grants to churches and charities who help prospective sponsors (those who offer 'on the ground support') with welcoming and offering hospitality to refugees as well as the modest central costs in organising this vital work. 

Secondly, Eden Wild Goose is collecting names of those who might be able offer accommodation, meals, local advice and friendship should the need arise in our locality for any refugees who come to live here (Wetheral Civic Parish, east of Carlisle). We can offer better support as a 'Community Sponsorship' group advised and supported by RESET Communities and Refugees. https://resetuk.org/Contact Contact me within the next 2-3days in case we need to act fast. Rev Graeme Skinner, 01228 561358 or graemevicarofeden@gmail.com to offer practical support. Please use my email address rather than Messenger or reply on Facebook. This does not replace the individual response to the Gov sign up - that will still be needed for vetting and funding, but if we pool our names and offers here as well we can work collectively and locally to support refugees and hosts. I'm keen to know of any local Ukrainian or Russian speakers.
Thank you.