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In the News

Churches "critical" in supporting Ukraine's people

Sarah Butler

2nd February 2024

An article from 2023 demonstrates that even in an arguably secularising UK, churches still play positive functions in our society. Durkheim and Parsons, amongst other functionalists, pointed to the galvanising effects of religion in society. This could include functions of support to those in need, and the vitalising effects of Christian norms and values passed on generation to generation.

This article tells us that Christian Aid is one of the charities helping to channel critical funds where they are most needed, explaining that “grassroots-level churches had been “critical in supporting the population” both in the Ukraine and in the UK.

The Orthodox church in Ukraine has split, with the Russian Orthodox now banned after Patriarch Kirill supported the war, and the Ukrainian Orthodox church is growing, and finding its place in the diaspora. This gives us an insightful contemporary example of how schisms and changes to established religious organisations can be prompted by global events.

The article also tells us that “Quite a lot of the bishops and priests have mentioned the desire for victory,” demonstrating the significance of religious leaders' voices, and that religious leaders continue to use their platforms to express their visions for society, often their desires for a better society, just as we have seen historically with Martin Luther King Jnr, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and others.

The article also prompts deeper thinking about the effects of globalisation on religion in contemporary society. Father Myroslav Pushkaruk is establishing Ukrainian Orthodox parishes here in Britain, demonstrating how global events can affect the spread of religious organisations.

The article finishes by pointing out how dynamic and unpredictable the war in Ukraine currently is, indicating the psychological functions of religion in helping ease existential threats to security, in providing strategies, cohesion and rituals to help its members remain calm during anxious times, and of course the solidarity of bringing people together during stressful and unpredictable times.

Sarah Butler

Sarah is an experienced Head of Social Sciences, EPQ Coordinator and Sociology examiner.

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