It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your new Executive Director of Week of Compassion.
During these first months of transition, it has been common for people to ask me how I pronounce my name, Vy Nguyen. The easiest way I can explain its pronunciation is, "Vee" and "Nwin." While I am new as a staff person to Week of Compassion, I am very familiar with this life-saving ministry and its many decades long history of offering hope and healing both to individuals and communities.
I am one of the many individuals who received this life-saving gift over three decades ago.
Week of Compassion's partnerships with Disciples' Refugee and Immigration Ministries and Church World Service made it possible for me, as a child refugee, to come to the United States after the war ended in Vietnam in the 1970s. Because I received this life-giving gift so long ago, it's an honor and a privilege today to come full circle with Week of Compassion and now be part of this life-saving, world-changing work.
There is much change happening within the life of our church, and it is an exciting time to be church. This week, Week of Compassion, along with other various general unit ministries in Indianapolis, moved into a new office location about half a mile from the old office space. We have also had some significant staff changes in the last nine months: Rev. Amy Gopp stepped down as Executive Director of Week of Compassion at the end of last December and is now working with our partner at Church World Service, and Rev. Johnny Wray came back as our full- time Interim Executive Director. During this transition period, Week of Compassion has continued to respond to many dire situations on the church's behalf. I am grateful to Rev. Johnny Wray, Rev. Brandon Gilvin and Rev. Dawn Barnes, who worked tirelessly by taking up more responsibilities and ensuring that Week of Compassion could continue its work seamlessly. Because of their leadership and guidance, Week of Compassion continues to respond effectively and quickly to the many situations calling for Disciples to respond.
While change is always happening around us, the one thing that will always remain the same is the mission of Week of Compassion.
As the relief, refugee, and development mission fund for our church, we have always and will continue to respond to natural and human-caused disasters with our sisters and brothers during their time of greatest need. Together as a church and with our resources, we are able to provide hope and healing to vulnerable communities whom we might have never met otherwise, and we will continue to walk and journey with them along their struggles. This is our work as a church: we are the presence of hope and comfort when hope seems lost. This has always been our mission and will continue to be our guide as we move forward.
Week of Compassion is a leader and strong partner in emergency response and long-term development work. We are one of the first to reach out to our Regional Ministers when a crisis occurs so we can find creative ways to respond with sensitivity and compassion. As children fled their homes in Central America to search for safety, we reached out to our partners at Church World Service and Refugee & Immigration Ministries to make sure that the children were protected and safe. As these situations continue to unfold, we are committed to staying and deepening our work of providing relief and comfort by doing real, sustainable work on the ground. We will be there for the long-term, even after the media is no longer talking about these situations.
We respond with partnership. We do the work ecumenically. We represent wholeness when the world seems to fragment.
We serve a God who is compassionate, a God of Immanuel, a God who is always with us no matter what. We serve a God who was present with the Israelites when they were walking through the desert and provided comfort and guidance, a God who broke down cultural barriers and walked up to a woman at the well to ask her for a cup of holy water. Our God is a God of life. This is our compassionate God. This is who we are called to be as Christ's followers. Through Week of Compassion, we offer the presence of God in times of need in the same way that God offers God's self to us in our needs.
We respond. We give. We turn our compassion into action.
As I begin serving as your Executive Director of Week of Compassion, I am grateful for your partnership.
Week of Compassion is able to do its work because of your kindness and your continued sharing of resources. It is because of your generosity that we are able to more fully embody the reign and rule of God in our community, our nation, and our world.
I look forward to getting to know you and working with you in the upcoming weeks and months as we continue the important work and mission of Week of Compassion.
Grateful for our partnership,
This Week's Responses:
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
North America, Refugee Emergency Assistance
China, Earthquake Relief
Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan Response
Kenya, Conflict Survivors
Cameroon, Refugee Relief
Nepal, Landslide Relief
Liberia, Food Security
California, Earthquake Relief