General Assembly, Thoughts From Joplin, and Long-Term Recovery Training

The Compassion Hall of Fame at General Assembly

Week of Compassion is taking over the Country Music Hall of Fame. That’s right! At this year’s General Assembly, on Sunday, July 10th, we will be hosting our very own “Compassion Hall of Fame,” an evening of celebrating with our valued partners, enjoying light fare and great music together. 

You can also enjoy a special concert benefiting Week of Compassion on the same evening from 7-8:30 and return for more opportunities to celebrate and meet some of the many inductees to the Compassion Hall of Fame. To buy your tickets, find out about Week of Compassion related workshops and other events, follow this link.

A Reflection from Joplin, Missouri

Being a person in my sixth decade of life, I remember when my mother would put out her blue CWF Blessing Box -- the blue hard plastic box, not the paper boxes used today at times. It was a reminder of the faith story she would tell me about the “least coin.” And then we would put coins into the box; it seemed like forever before they would be collected. But year in and year out we would remember the story and place coins in the box, wondering how they might be put to use.

On Tuesday last week I was walking with Jill Michel, the senior pastor of South Joplin Christian Church. We were visiting some of her members’ homes -- at least the places where they once stood. We came to the home of Avis Stiles, 91 years young. Her children, Amy Duell of Colorado and Richard Stiles of Kansas City, were at the home, looking through the splintered wood that once made up her walls and the shattered furniture they used to sit on during their visits home. 
We stood in a circle, sharing stories of how “Mother” tried to make it to the bathroom during the tornado in search of a safe space. All of a sudden, however, the front door disappeared and the walls crumbled. 

When she realized where she was, she was almost waist deep in the remains of a shattered home. Neighbors had to lift her out of the pile and take her to the hospital. Now her children had orders and a list of things to find as they scoured the remains of a lifetime.

On this day the request was to look for her CWF bag, a Nicaraguan cotton bag where she placed her keepsakes from years of meetings. As we were talking about the “ladies of the CWF at South Joplin,” I casually looked down in the center of our circle. There, as we gathered on a pile of debris, I caught a glimpse of a familiar blue box. I wondered how many coins had found their way into it over the years. 

Even in the midst of destruction we can be reminded, if but for a moment, of the many blessings we have received and the grace that has nurtured us.
We know the continued blessings of a church family, of friends, and of strangers. Those who, in the midst of these terrible moments, bring grace and blessings through Week of Compassion, through Disciples Volunteering and through the day-to-day dialogue of help—we know them all. We also know the words oft-repeated among Disciples at times of disaster: Pray, Pay and Stay. But it is hard to stay when our friends are in need. We are thankful for those words and the continued actions; the blessing they give in moments such as these. And thoughts of gratitude well up and words cannot capture them. But to all who have prayed, stayed, traveled and given in many ways…thank you, thank you, thank you.
- Dr. G. Mike Weinman, Area Minister
  Ozark Lakes Area, CCMA

Southeastern Missouri Long-Term Recovery Training

Continuing CWS's response to the record-breaking floods and tornadoes across the country this spring, Emergency Response Specialist Bryan Crousore will be meeting with and training local ministers, social services agency personnel, public officials and other interested persons from southeast Missouri next week.

Identical sessions will be held on Tuesday, June 14, at the SE American Red Cross, 2430 Myra Dr., Cape Girardeau, MO, and on Wednesday, June 15, at the United Methodist Church, 1307 N Main, Sikeston, MO. The training will cover all aspects of Long-Term Recovery and will prepare these groups to form, manage, and operate long-term recovery groups for the three counties in the flooded areas of southeast Missouri.

Please pass the word to any churches or other contacts you have in this area and encourage them to participate. The training is a free gift of Church World Service, with logistical support by FEMA, and open to persons of all faiths (or none). Registration is not required. There will be a nominal charge for lunch at the Cape Girardeau location. Lunch will be provided by the host church in Sikeston.

Questions? Please contact Bryan at

This Week's Responses

Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
Missouri (3), tornado relief and recovery
U.S., 2011 Spring Storms
Georgia, resettled refugee assistance
Georgia, church fire
Mississippi, tornado relief
Angola, flood relief