Judi Frost (right), a member of the Week of Compassion Board of Stewards, has joined Children’s Disaster Services teams deployed to Maui, caring for children and their families in the aftermath of the Lahaina fires. (NOTE: Our partners are currently requesting only trained volunteers. We are grateful for Judi and her CDS colleagues who have received extensive training and are experienced in these settings.) Judi is keeping a text-message travel journal with a small group, and we are honored to offer her reflections, humor, prayers, and photos here.
What a joy it was to be together in Louisville at the July 29-August 1 General Assembly, our first in-person gathering after four years apart. Great conversations, new and renewed connections, engaging workshops, powerful worship, and meaningful resolutions filled our days together. Week of Compassion staff, board, partners, and supporters are grateful for the vision of the whole Disciples church, and to be part of this Kindom of God, within and among us.
Here are just a few highlights of our Assembly experience:
In recent years, we have witnessed and experienced the impact of extreme temperatures on the health and livelihoods of people within our communities across the US and Canada. In extreme heat, your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature, which can lead to sickness and even death. In fact, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards.
We can prepare ourselves and our communities for extreme weather events and help save lives. Here are a few resources related to extreme heat preparedness you can reference or share with others.
Only 10 days after catastrophic earthquakes shook Turkey & Syria, more than 40,000 people are dead and 80,000 more injured. Tens of thousands of buildings that remain standing cannot be used for fear of collapse.
Syrian refugees welcomed into Turkey over the last decade and longer, fleeing ongoing conflict in Syria, have settled primarily in the Turkish provinces that are now those most hard-hit by last week’s earthquake. UNICEF has called it ‘a humanitarian emergency on top of a humanitarian crisis’. Syrian children who are 12 years old and younger have never known a time without disaster and sustained emergency.
As the numbers climb past our imagining, and even frequent media images can’t capture the scope of the destruction, the faithful work and unfailing commitment of our global ecumenical partners provides images of hope in the midst of such loss.
The Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch - one of Week of Compassion’s partners through ACT Alliance - was recently in Aleppo and other affected areas, inspecting the situation of affected families receiving assistance and shelter. GOPA-DERD is intentional to provide immediate aid as well as review the emergency response work and assistance provided, listening to needs to ensure that communities are cared for most effectively.
In addition to ready-to-eat meals, hygiene kits, warm clothes and winterization kits, and baby food, clothes, and diapers, partners through ACT Alliance are also providing medical care and consultation, equipment and medications, and psychosocial and trauma care for children and adults.
Week of Compassion remains in close contact with colleagues and ecumenical partners responding in the affected communities, ensuring that immediate needs are met and that systems and responses are in place for the extensive long-term recovery that is ahead.
Gifts to Week of Compassion designated ‘earthquakes’ will be used 100%
to respond now and in the efforts to come.
Many friends in ministry are rethinking the Sunday School, small group, or even sermon plans for this weekend. In the wake of unfathomable loss in Turkey, Syria, and the region, how can we find a word to name such pain and sorrow? How can we possibly see God in the midst of it all?
Months ago, Rev. Dr. Casey Thornburgh Sigmon created a powerful reflection on this year's Special Offering text, Lamentations 3:21-23. Her insight to the scripture, questions for thoughtful response, and reminders that lament and hope co-exist in most every moment, might be just what you need.
Find the Sermon Starter & Scripture Commentary in the Planning & Resource Guide, along with all other materials, at our Special Offering Resources Page, and by direct download.