John Trefzger was out of the country when he first heard about Week of Compassion.
“It was 1944, and I was stationed overseas when Glen Oak Christian Church sent me the materials the first time Week of Compassion was promoted. I had been in India for a year and spent some time in Burma. I saw many people living in terrible poverty.
“I wrote home and told my wife, ‘Be sure to make a gift.’”
John’s wife Marilyn contributed to Week of Compassion that year, and over the course of an incredible life together — a life that included working at the family bakery in Peoria, IL, discerning a call to ministry and heading off to seminary, serving in ministry in congregations and as regional pastors, the Trefzgers always made Week of Compassion a priority, giving for 67 years.
That’s every year the offering has been received.
But it wasn’t just his resources that John gave. Week of Compassion wound its way deep into the fabric of his ministry. As a student at Lexington Theological Seminary, John preached his first sermon on Week of Compassion, peppering it with stories from his time in Asia. He introduced the offering at the church he served in Kentucky—a church that had never participated in the offering. He still remembers that the first collection they received counted eleven dollars and some change—a small offering that grew each year he was there.
And in his third year at that church, a member asked him, “Preacher, how long will we be taking this Week of Compassion offering?”
His answer came easily: “For as long as there is need.”
For 67 years, the Trefzger family has worked to meet needs all over the world through participating in the Week of Compassion Special Offering. Why not join their legacy of sharing? There is still need, but as long as there are folks with the deep faith of the Trefzgers, there will always be the hope and joy that comes with giving.
John’s wife, Marilyn, passed away in 2010.