The epistle to the Hebrews declares that Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.Through the changes and tumults of life, the love of Christ remains constant-- inspiring the Church, as his body, to faithfully embody God’s love in every time and place.
The Week of Compassion Board of Stewards met in Scottsdale, Arizona last week, hosted by First Christian Church and Rev. Jenny Wynn. The Board began their time together with a review of the 75-year history of Week of Compassion; its development as a ministry within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and its long-standing commitment to ecumenical partnerships. With the foundation of that history in mind, the Board explored the future vision of Week of Compassion. The Board’s goal, moving forward, is to sustain Week of Compassion’s historical mission and core values while also incorporating today’s best practices for organizational management.
Executive Director Rev. Vy Nguyen provided a report on Week of Compassion’s ongoing presence around the world through disaster response and long-term sustainable development projects.
Those responses include continuing efforts in communities devastated by past storms, such as Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. The Board celebrated the partnership with the Iglesia Cristiana (Discipulos de Cristo) en Puerto Rico and discussed the urgent needs that persist in that area, where the storms of yesterday continue to cause suffering today. As Miguel Morales, General Pastor of the ICDCPR recently remarked to Week of Compassion staff, “I had a sense of the urgency of the need, but it is even greater than I thought.” More than a year and a half after the storms, thousands remain in need of housing and recovery support the emotional, physical, and psychological strain is taking a toll as well.*
Even as these recoveries continue, efforts are just beginning in communities affected by more recent severe weather. A highlight of the Board meeting was that leadership unanimously approved a significant distribution--in the amount of $100,000 from its unrestricted funds --in response to the staggering damage caused by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. Through Week of Compassion partners ACT Alliance, these funds will help local organizations provide food, water, and shelter for those displaced by the storm; as well as facilities for sanitation and hygiene to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
In addition to critical and timely disaster response, the Board also affirmed the importance of disaster preparedness as a priority for this ministry moving forward. With the severity and frequency of natural disasters on the rise, increased focus on readiness helps communities recover and respond in the aftermath of a crisis.
As Nguyen remarks, “the work of Week of Compassion, on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) continues to remain vital today. The work of the Board helps strengthen our commitment to our ecumenical partners as crises continue to unfold… I am grateful to the board, staff, and our donors for their ongoing support of this life changing ministry.”
In the spirit of celebrating the past while looking ahead to a hopeful future, the Board concluded its time together by celebrating communion in the sanctuary of FCC. In sharing the bread and cup, we remember that we are one Church, gathered around a common table and responding to God’s faithfulness --yesterday, today, and forever.
*For more information about how to volunteer with rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico, visit: