“Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve.” Marianne Williamson

“There may be trouble ahead” is the opening line in Irving Berlin’s classic 1936 song “Let’s face the music and dance”. It seems strangely appropriate given the global outlook today however, I was curious to discover what life was like in 1936. Distressingly familiar, unfortunately. Conflict across Europe, European nations annexing other countries and major world powers agreeing to support one another should Russia attack their borders. Here is just a few of the events in the 1936 calendar:

  • Germany violates the Treaty of Versailles by reoccupying the Rhineland.
  • Italy annexes Ethiopia after capturing its capital Addis Ababa.
  • Japan formed its own puppet state of Mengjiang in northern China.
  • Spain experienced an Armed Forces rebellion against the recently elected leftist Popular Front starting the Spanish Civil War. Later that year the Axis powers decide to intervene.
  • In Italy dictator Benito Mussolini proclaims the Rome-Berlin Axis, establishing the alliance of the Axis powers.
  • In Berlin, Germany and Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact, agreeing to consult on measures “to safeguard their common interests” in the case of an unprovoked attack by the Soviet Union against either nation.

It seems history repeats itself all too often. However in every conflict we have seen remarkable responses from individuals and communities. It is no different this time. We know of people leaving their families and jobs compelled to do something and driving lorryloads of food and medical supplies to where it is most needed. Others have travelled from safe countries to refugee camps and war zones to get friends, family members and others to safety.

On the 14th of March the government announced the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Since then around 150,000 people have offered to share or even give homes to families fleeing the conflict. Individuals have felt compelled to help “people just like them”. Around the country mothers groups collect food, clothes and toys to send to Ukrainian mothers groups currently sheltering in Poland and Moldova. Churches and local charities are re-directing their funds to support sister churches not just in Ukraine but across the countries providing shelter for  families.

As mentioned in our recent client bulletin, we brought forward our planned financial support, to send funds to charities who ensure most, if not all of the funds are allocated to the areas of greatest need. We supported Christian Aid, Tearfund and Echoes International. In keeping with our goals, this year we have provided £55,600 across a number of local and international community-based efforts, £10,000 more than last year. Thank you for your charity nominations, please keep them coming.

It is difficult to imagine the human cost of the conflict and we continue to look for ways to help. There may well be trouble ahead, but there are also many who will run to help, support and care for those caught up in a struggle not of their own making. Our thoughts and prayers are still with those families and communities impacted by this unnecessary war.