The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany met with other organizations February 28, 2022, to discuss concrete steps to help refugees affected by the war in Ukraine. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Germany, the Advent Welfare Office (AWW), and the Friedensau Theological Seminary are among the organizations involved. A working group known as Russian-speaking Adventists in Germany is also involved, leaders reported.
The Adventist Church and the other organizations came together to reactivate the Together for Refugees steering group, which, under ADRA leadership, is set to assist refugees from Ukraine as they seek protection in Germany. It is a partnership that collaborated successfully during the refugee crisis in 2015 and now seeks to build on the experience acquired at that time.
“In the past few days, we have received numerous reports and calls for help, which has made us very concerned,” Johannes Naether, president of the North German Conference, said. “As a church, we want to use our means and facilities to assist people suffering the escalation of violence in Ukraine.”
In the coming days, the Adventist Church, ADRA, AWW, and Friedensau will share information on what concrete steps the alliance is planning, where volunteers and those seeking help can find information, and where and how to donate to the cause.
Help Is Already Underway
ADRA Germany is already active both in Ukraine and on the Polish-Ukrainian border and is “working with reliable partners and Adventist communities on the ground to ensure that our humanitarian aid can quickly reach those who need it,” leaders stated in a press release. ADRA will provide welcome packs of clothing, food, and cash vouchers, as most banks in Ukraine have ceased operations. In addition, leaders are planning to provide long-term psychological counseling so refugees can process the traumatizing experience.
The agency is part of a worldwide network with more than 118 independent country offices and about 7,500 full-time employees. ADRA Germany was founded in 1987 by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and carries out projects in development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
AWW is a nonprofit association and, together with a number of social institutions and various subsidiary societies, is part of the social work of the Adventist Church. The organization manages day care centers, retirement homes, addiction counseling centers, hospices, and other social institutions, as well as local helper groups.
In 2015, ADRA and AWW, together with other actors within the Adventist Church, launched the Together for Refugees alliance, which has been taking care of refugees as they search for a dignified, self-determined life.