Responding to Domestic Disasters: Joplin, Tuscaloosa, and the Gulf Coast

Disciples congregations are generous communities, always ready to answer the call to serve. This year, this has been evident in the enthusiasm churches have shown in registering to volunteer as part of the recovery in Joplin, MO. Week of Compassion celebrates its partnership with Disciples Volunteering, and with all of you. Currently, the number of volunteers wanting to volunteer in Joplin outnumbers the number of spots available through August at the Disciples Volunteering Mission Center at South Joplin Christian Church. Likewise, the Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) serving Joplin is still collecting information regarding the number of volunteers for which it will be able to provide work. As committed partners of the LTRC, we do not want to provide more volunteers than there is work. Likewise, as committed partners to our Disciples congregations, we do not want to put work groups from our churches in situations where they travel-sometimes great distances-to Joplin, only to find that there is no organized work for them to contribute. 

Disciples Volunteering is clear about its mission of disaster response: though they may not be the first folks on the scene of a disaster, they are committed to the long-term rebuilding of communities, and are among the last ones to leave a community to which they have made a long term commitment. While the Joplin Mission Station may currently be full, there are still excellent opportunities to respond to significant needs in Tuscaloosa, AL (currently around 20% of its needs are open) and there are many spots available for groups interested in volunteering in Slidell and Lake Charles, LA. We encourage all of our incredible mission groups across the country to consider these areas as places to serve. 

For more information, please visit Disciples Volunteering here

Children’s Disaster Services 

Since 1980, Children’s Disaster Services, a ministry of Church of the Brethren and partner of Week of Compassion, has met the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation.

Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by natural or human-caused disasters. More information is available here.

The volunteer workshops offer training in care for children who have experienced disasters. Hosted by local congregations, the workshops also offer participants a taste of living conditions in disaster-affected areas as they sleep overnight in church facilities.

Once participants complete a workshop and undergo a rigorous screening process, they may apply for certification to serve with CDS as a volunteer. Although many volunteers are motivated by faith, CDS training is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Cost is $45 for early registration (three weeks prior to start date). The fee includes meals, curriculum, and one overnight. Cost for registrations mailed less than three weeks in advance is $55. Workshops are limited to 25 participants. A Workshop Registration Form in pdf format is available here

Please check out the list of upcoming trainings to see if one is near you:


St. Clairsville, Ohio

March 9-10, 2012

Thoburn United Methodist Church

209 East Main Street

St. Clairsville, OH 43950

Contact - Linda Hudson, 417 740-695-4258


Dallas Center, Iowa

March 9-10, 2012

Dallas Center Church of the Brethren

1207 Ash Avenue

Dallas Center, IA 50063

Contact - Carol Hill, 515-677-2389 (h), 515-240-6908 (c)


Snellville, Georgia

March 16-17, 2012

Snellville United Methodist Church

2428 East Main Street

Snellville, GA 30278

Contact - Mike Yoder, 404-597-2137 or Carrie Yoder, 770-634-3627


South Haven, Minnesota

March 16-17, 2012

Koinoina Retreat Center

7768 Pilger Ave. NW

South Haven, MN 55832

Coordinator - Lorna Jost, 605-692-3390 (w), 605-695-0782 (c), or

Children's Disaster Services - 410 635-8734 or 800 451-4407 option 5


New Carlisle, Ohio

March 16-17, 2012

New Carlisle Church of the Brethren

219 N. Main Street

New Carlisle, OH 45344

Contact - Rita Lane, 937-845-2066 (h), 937-657-7325 (c)


Cerro Gordo, Illinois

March 23-24 2012

5:00 PM Friday - 7:30 PM Saturday

Cerro Gordo Church of the Brethren

102 E. Durfee Street (PO Box 45)

Cerro Gordo, IL 61818

Contact - Rosie Brandenburg, 217-763-6039


La Verne, California

March 24-25, 2012

8:30 a.m. Saturday - 10:30 a.m. Sunday

La Verne Church of the Brethren

2425 E Street

La Verne, CA 91750

Contact - Kathy Benson, 909-593-4868 (h), 909-837-7103 (c)


Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

April 13-14, 2012

5:00 PM Friday - 7:30 PM Saturday

Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren

777 South Mt. Joy Street

Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Contact - Lavonne Grubb, 717 367-7224 (h) or 717 368-3141 (c)


Louisville, Ohio

April 27-28, 2012

5:00 PM Friday - 7:30 PM Saturday

Center Church of the Brethren

2811 Ravenna Ave. NE

Louisville, OH 44614

Contact - Sandra Humphrey, 330 603-9073 or leave a message at 330 875-2064


Domestic Disaster Ministry Forum Early Bird Registration

Register by March 1 for the March 19-21 CWS Forum on Domestic Disaster Ministry in New Windsor,

Maryland, and enjoy an early-bird discount of $120.

Held every two years, the forum is a unique gathering of leading scholars, theologians and practitioners in the field of disaster response and recovery, and a great opportunity for continuing education, networking, and dialogue. Participants and speakers come from the broad interreligious community.

Speakers will include Ruama Camp, founder and director of GRACE Community Services, the first African-American founded disaster case management and education ministry in the country, David L. Myers, Director of the Department of Homeland Security's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Amy Oden, Dean and Professor of History of Christianity at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and many others. 

For more information and registration, go to or contact Tim Shenk,, 212-870-2728.

We thank you for your gifts, offerings, and commitment. Your courageous compassion is making a difference. To God be the Glory!