The Rev. Amy Gopp responds to her calling to the work of Christ by serving as a global activist and peacemaker—one who through dynamic preaching and creative teaching urges God’s people to engage in compassionate service that imbues hope and empowerment for all.
An ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Gopp currently serves as the Executive Director for Week of Compassion, the relief, refugee, and development mission fund of the Disciples church. On behalf of its network of more than 3,500 congregations worldwide, Week of Compassion distributes annually an average of $3-4 million toward global sustainable development and humanitarian relief.
Gopp spent her formative years in Kent, Ohio. Nurtured by First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and inspired by Camp Christian, a spiritual development program of the Disciples’ Ohio region, Amy discovered readily her calling to Christian ministry. Her movement toward church work was boosted after Amy received her bachelor’s of arts in International Relations at the American University School of International Service in Washington, D.C. Commissioned as a missionary in 1995, Gopp moved from the States to the war-torn former Yugoslavia as a volunteer with Mennonite Central Committee. For four years Gopp lived in Croatia and Bosnia serving as a peace activist aiming to relieve refugee concerns; to promote interfaith dialogue; and to provide education toward conflict resolution. Additionally, Gopp coordinated the award-winning Pontanima, an interfaith choir based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For 15 years, the choir has been acclaimed as an innovative peacemaking project, a shining ambassador of reconciliation in Bosnia and a major contributor to the cultural life of the region. In early 2011, Pontanima was awarded the prestigious International Peacemaking Award by Pax Christi International.
Influenced by her experiences in the Bosnian and Croatian war zones, Gopp pursued and completed in 1998 a master’s of arts in Conflict Resolution at Antioch University. She subsequently served for four years as the Intern Coordinator for the Disciples Peace Fellowship, an independent organization within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). DPF promotes peace and justice matters by providing educational resources and opportunities to congregations and youth camps toward increased global awareness. It was during this season that Gopp also served on the Week of Compassion’s Advisory Committee.
Gopp’s academic pursuits were once again influenced by her experiences as a witness to human suffering when she enrolled at the renowned Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. As a graduate student, Gopp served as associate minister for outreach ministries at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and she worked as a United Nations liaison for Wider Church Ministries, a common ministry of the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ. Her work led Gopp to co-found the Poverty Initiative, a program equipping religious leaders to overcome oppressive economic structures that contribute to poverty in America. The program’s work continues today, supported by the Seminary. Gopp graduated in 2005 with her master’s of divinity from Union and was ordained as a Disciples of Christ minister that same year.
Amy is the author of numerous articles and is a consistent contributor to Disciples publications. She is also a contributor and co-editor of Split Ticket: Independent Faith in a Time of Partisan Politics.
When she finds a precious free moment, Rev. Gopp loves to read poetry, write, sing, cook, watch Glee, and spend time with her nieces and nephew.
Brandon studied Religious Studies and Creative Writing at Hiram College in Hiram, OH, and received his Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University in 2002. In both his undergraduate and graduate work, he sought to find intersection points between human creativity, a life of faith, and working for justice. In doing so, Brandon found passions for innovative, imaginative ministry and working to ask (and occasionally answer) difficult questions about globalization, human rights, and engagement with grassroots issues. While a student at Vanderbilt, Brandon interned at the Quaker Peace Centre in Cape Town, South Africa as a Peace Educator, an experience that further helped him develop his sense of vocation. Following graduation, Brandon served as a Pastoral Resident at Central Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky. While there, he was deeply involved in the life of the church - teaching, leading worship, providing pastoral care and developing programs. In 2004, he returned to Africa through Global Ministries, serving the All Africa Conference of Churches in Nairobi, Kenya, as the Programme Executive for Communication, leading communication efforts for the network of more than 190 churches, denominations and ecumenical councils. He then served a year as the North American Regional Secretary of the World Student Christian Foundation in Toronto, Ontario, where he worked with students interested in faith-based social activism.
Brandon joins Week of Compassion after serving for two years as the Associate Pastor at Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, KS, where he focused on adult education, social justice programming, and mission.
Brandon is also the author of Solving the Da Vinci Code Mystery, co-author of Wisdom from The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and is co-editor, with Christian Piatt, of the WTF? (Where’s the Faith?) series, which is available from Chalice Press.
Brandon and his wife Lisa live in the Kansas City Metro area.
Associate for Resource Development
Johnny Wray served as Administrative Director of Week of Compassion from 1992 - 2008 and has recently returned to work part time as Associate for Resource Development to strengthen WoC's endowment program. After leaving WoC at the end of 2008, Johnny assisted the Lindenwood and Kingsway congregations in Memphis, TN. Johnny has a B.A. in political science from Millsaps College, Jackson, MS; an M.Div in social ethics from Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington, KY and an Hon. D.D. from Philips Theological Seminary, Enid, OK. He and his wife Deb live on their small farm near Cedar Bluff, MS and enjoy raising natural beef, a large garden and the company of four dogs, two cats and three horses.
Dawn has served the last ten years with Global Ministries as a missionary to South Africa and Mozambique doing development work with a focus on HIV and AIDS. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Church Social Services. Prior to working in Africa, she was a clinician in Richmond, Virginia working with the seriously mentally ill. She is ordained with the Disciples of Christ and has standing in the United Church of Christ. She is mom to Khaya and Alyson and, along with her husband Jon, lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.