Church of Ireland Home

Diocesan News

A warm Donegal welcome for refugees from Ukraine

The Bishop’s Curate in the Moville Group of Parishes, the Rev Alan McCracken, has been acknowledged for his ministry among Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war in their homeland and settled in Inishowen in north Donegal.

Mr McCracken was invited to meet the Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, when she visited the peninsula, recently, to meet families who were currently living in Donegal and those who had welcomed them to the community and helped them integrate.

Alan and his wife, Karen, have made befriending those fleeing the war in Ukraine a key part of their ministry in Inishowen. “It can be hard for us to understand the plight of these refugees,” Mr McCracken says, “The violence of the war they’re fleeing; the trauma of being uprooted; arriving in a new country; getting used to new surroundings, new neighbours, a new culture. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus makes clear what he expects of us. As Christians, we are required to welcome the stranger in our midst.

“Karen and I have been happy to do that. In fact, we have been blessed, in return, for reaching out to our new neighbours, and made many wonderful new friendships that will, we are sure, prove lifelong.” Alan and Karen have formed the Inishowen Ukrainian Arts & Crafts Group which meets regularly in two locations, St Eugene’s Hall in Moville and the community centre in Quigley’s Point. The project has been sponsored by the Benefact Trust. Recently the groups have been making Christmas gunks and Christmas cards which will be on sale at the Mullan Hope Centre Christmas market. Proceeds will be donated to the Mica Crisis Fund.

The arts groups will continue to gather into the New Year, running different themed craft classes. Those in Moville are being led by Hanna Skoroplias, who comes from Ukraine, while the Quigley’s Point classes are being taught by Rev Alan and Karen.The meeting with Ambassador Gerasko took place at Carndonagh Community School during an event attended by scores of Ukrainian refugees. The occasion was blessed with entertainment representative of both countries – with Ukrainian music and Irish dancing – and Hanna and her daughter, Solomiia, presented the ambassador with Irish–themed Christmas cards.

The main photo, below, shows (from left to right): Solomiia and Hanna Skoroplias of the Inishowen Ukrainian Arts & Crafts Group; HE Larysa Gerasko, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland; the Rev Alan McCracken and Mrs Karen McCracken.

More photos are available on the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe’s Facebook page.

Our use of cookies

Some cookies are necessary for us to manage how our website behaves while other optional, or non-necessary, cookies help us to analyse website usage. You can Accept All or Reject All optional cookies or control individual cookie types below.

You can read more in our Cookie Notice


These cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

Analytical cookies help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on its usage.