A Celebration, an Invitation, and a Farewell

Celebrating Joplin and Closing the Station

A New Thing. 

Long-Term Volunteer Steve Huston shares a memory of two during the Celebration of "The Station." Photo Credit: Zach Wolgemuth

Long-Term Volunteer Steve Huston shares a memory of two during the Celebration of "The Station." Photo Credit: Zach Wolgemuth

The words of the Prophet Isaiah, and this past weekend, these were also the words of Rev. Kathryn Wilson, Minister of Mission and Outreach at South Joplin Christian Church, Joplin, Missouri.  Two years ago, in the wake of a devastating tornado, South Joplin began a new ministry-in partnership with Week of Compassion, Disciples Volunteering, and the Disaster Ministries of the United Church of Christ.  This last weekend, South   Joplin completed its mission by celebrating its impact in Joplin, sharing stories about the recovery, and remembering all of the steps-  some painful, some beautiful-along  the road to recovery.  It was a true  celebration of collaboration and  community, an effort that we at Week  of Compassion, and all of you who  have contributed to the recovery  effort, are truly blessed to have been a part of.  

Two walls in the Mission Station are covered by photos of work groups. Photo Credit: Zach Wolgemuth

Two walls in the Mission Station are covered by photos of work groups. Photo Credit: Zach Wolgemuth

More than 1,400 volunteers from UCC and Disciples groups have contributed to Joplin's recovery and experienced the hospitality of "The Station." Help us measure the impact of this partnership by completing a brief survey.  The information you share with us will help us sharpen our collaboration in future hands-on responses. 

No celebration is complete without cake! Photo Credit: Zach Wolgemuth

No celebration is complete without cake! Photo Credit: Zach Wolgemuth

We give thanks to God for such commitment, partnership, and impact.  This is truly what it means to call ourselves "Disciples." 

Hands-On Volunteers Needed in Colorado

Last fall, northern Colorado was beset by record rainfall. In just one week beginning September 9, 2013 one county received up to 20 inches of rain; this is the same amount it normally receives in an average year. Massive flooding occurred in 17 counties. More than 20,000 homes and 2,000 businesses were damaged or destroyed.   While the headlines receded along with the floodwaters, the needs remain. All of the pieces necessary for a long-term response have come together and communities across northern Colorado are ready to receive folks from outside the area. Disciples Volunteering is pleased to partner with Week of Compassion, the Central Rocky Mountain Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and First Christian Church, Loveland to establish a Mission Station in Loveland and enable mission teams to serve in the recovery. Work teams will be partnered with local response organizations, assisting people whose needs would otherwise go unmet. More information and registration for your mission team to serve in Colorado is available through Disciples Volunteering.

Following a New Call

When I was a kid, I received, as a gift from my Great Aunt, a poster which read "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." I have been incredibly fortunate over the course of my adult life-I've had amazing opportunities in education and in my career.  I've been able to follow a call filled with excitement and adventure, meet incredible people, and tell stories that get to the heart of how we might change the world.  For the last five years, Week of Compassion has been how I have lived out this call.  I have treasured my time in partnership with each and every one of you.  But now, it is time to discern the next part of this daring adventure we call "life."

I will be completing my service with Week of Compassion on September 30, 2014.  Over the next few weeks, I will complete several projects, including an evaluation of our partnership with Disciples Volunteering and UCC Disaster Ministries in Joplin, Missouri, and will remain on call should our congregations or the communities in which they serve be impacted by disaster.  I look forward to what is coming next, and I am grateful for my time with WoC, and the many gifts it has brought me.

I've treasured the opportunity that I have had to learn from the exceptional leadership of Rev. Amy Gopp and Rev. Johnny Wray.  Their vision, optimism, and commitment has been nothing short of inspiring.  I've been so lucky to learn from them.  The insight and expertise our ecumenical and denominational partners have brought as we have collaborated both domestically and globally have also been an incredible gift.  Above all, the generosity you, your congregations, and your communities have shown has been the greatest gift I have experienced.  To have been a witness to the difference your gifts have made in lives impacted after disasters or in communities looking for sustainable solutions-what an honor. I will miss it.

I give thanks for these five years, for each of you, for what we have done, for what we have witnessed.  My prayers go with you all.  Thanks for so faithfully putting your Compassion into Action.

Best,
Brandon Gilvin 

This Week's Responses:

Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
West Virginia, Food Insecurity
Michigan, Flood Damage (3)
North America, Spring Storm Response