10,080 Minutes for Mission: Week of Compassion 2013

How many minutes are there in one week?  How many minutes make up one Week of Compassion?  We often lift up “Minutes for Mission” during our worship services to help us understand exactly what we are doing in the world, and how our offerings are making that happen.  Even though I have always understood that there is only so much time available during a service, I must admit that I have always have been uncomfortable with giving just one minute (or two) to mission.  Surely our mission—our purpose—our calling deserves more than a minute. 

It also deserves more than a week, of course. Yet we devote this very week, the third week of February, to observing our Week of Compassion each and every year.  So I began thinking, how many minutes for mission could we theoretically lift up during one week?  There are 10,080 minutes in one week.  Could Week of Compassion share 10,080 “Minutes for Mission”? 

Yes.  Yes!  While there were four Minutes for Mission included in the Planning and Resource Guide this year, we could have easily shared 10,076 more with you. Here are more mission moments that highlight what your offerings from last Week of Compassion have made possible in 2012: 

 --Week of Compassion supported the building of disaster recovery mission stations in Joplin, MO, and Tuscaloosa, AL.  WoC's partnerships with local Long Term Recovery Organizations, local Disciples congregations, Disciples Volunteering, and in the case of Joplin, with the Disaster Response Ministry of the United Church of Christ (UCC), provided Disciples from all over North America with a chance to participate in the recovery of these communities and help people whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the tornado to get back home. 

--WoC provided solidarity grants to members of Disciples churches in New York and New Jersey who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy, many of whom lost their homes.  We also supported the work of Church World Service (CWS), which has provided material resources and long term recovery training in affected communities.  

--When the most unthinkable violence occurred in Newtown, CT, senselessly taking the lives of our children and their teachers, WoC gifts reached Central Christian Church in Danbury who helped us provide their partner agency, Families and Children's Aid (FCA), with copies of the children’s book dealing with trauma and violence, A Terrible Thing Happened which they distributed to children who have been affected by the Sandy Hook shootings.   

--WoC partnered with Foods Resource Bank and local growing projects connected to our congregations to help invest in food security in vulnerable communities all over the world.  We've been exploring the possibility of launching new growing projects in Lexington, VA; Hiram, OH; Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; and Visalia, CA. Such partnerships will help fight hunger all over the world.

--When congregations like First Christian Church, Longview, WA, or the Oakland Peace Center at First Christian Church, Oakland, CA, were vandalized, we responded by offering solidarity grants to help these congregations recover and heal.

--WoC gifts have been working to alleviate the needs of the thousands now displaced and on the run in Syria, where we are collaborating with the Middle East Area Office of Global Ministries, CWS, and International Orthodox Christian Charities, our partner in the ACT Alliance. WoC has helped to provide emergency assistance, food, water, and aid to refugee camps. 

--WoC offerings have gotten us one step closer to eliminating the childhood cancer, Burkitt’s Lymphoma, from the Great Lakes Region of Africa.  Through our partner IMA World Health, WoC has provided medicine and has supported public health education to help raise awareness of the symptoms of this treatable form of cancer. 

--Roma communities in Serbia have been changed as a result of WoC gifts.  Children who would otherwise never receive an education are now going to school, thanks to WoC-supported programs of CWS and local educational organizations. Roma women who have only dreamed of reading are now reading and writing thanks to WoC offerings. 

--WoC gifts empower displaced youth and young adults in the Republic of Georgia to receive schooling, training, and welcome at the Tbilisi Youth House Foundation, a partner of CWS.  The youth gather at the Youth House to socialize, enjoy recreational activities, find a safe haven, a nutritious snack, and to receive vocational training.   

--WoC offerings have been constantly at work in Haiti, where “Wozo” trauma healing and recovery trainings have been assisting people to cope with the trauma of the aftermath of the earthquake and remote communities are receiving medical attention for neglected tropical diseases and basic health care through IMA World Health.   

--Small stakeholder farmers in Liberia and Sierra Leone, primarily women, receive seeds, tools, support and solidarity in the form of WoC gifts as part of the West Africa Initiative of Agricultural Missions, a WoC partner in food security and community development. 

We could continue.  But I’m not sure how many of you would have the time to read the thousands more Minutes for Mission your Week of Compassion gifts have made real.  One week.  10.080 minutes.  Countless lives changed.  All because we shared.   

Sharing changes lives.  Sharing brings joy—52 weeks a year, thanks to your gifts during this one Week of Compassion.   

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

With profound gratitude and joy for your ongoing generosity, Amy

This Week’s Assistance:

Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance:

Sri Lanka, Flooding 

Development & Long Term Recovery and Rehabilitation:

Chad, Sustainable Recovery

Mississippi, Solidarity Grant