In the 1940s, the Christian Church designated the ‘Wartime Service Fund’ to respond to the multiple humanitarian crises created by World War II. Out of that initial response, Week of Compassion was formed, and the partners and relationships rooted in that work continue to address the needs of refugees and displaced persons around the globe. Now, nearly 80 years later, there are more refugees and displaced persons in the world than at any other time in our history. As the climate crisis persists, the world establishes its pandemic/endemic existence, and national and international conflicts continue unabated, this crisis is growing daily. The channels of support are increasingly complex, and the response of the faith community is more important than ever. In Matthew 25, Jesus draws on his own Jewish tradition and names God’s insistence that we welcome the stranger. When we welcome one in his name, we welcome Christ himself. Millions of refugees have resettled in the United States over the years, and most have been assisted by faith communities who heed this call to welcome the stranger. We are called to carry on this legacy, and more importantly to live out the call of Christ, to provide radical welcome and hospitality to all of God’s children.
how you can help
Refugee ministry involves a variety of levels of commitment, with room for churches and individuals of all capacities to take part. Congregations and individuals interested in resettlement work can connect, advocate, give, and prepare to welcome refugees, whether or not a crisis is present. Week of Compassion provides support and resources along the way, connects you to your closest resettlement office, and accompanies you as you do the work to be ready when family resettlement is needed.
Prepare: Contact Rev. Alan Dicken, Associate Director for Refugee and Immigrant Response, to learn more about how your congregation can welcome refugees to your local community, connect to your closest resettlement office, or take steps to support sponsoring congregations.
Multiple phases of care and response will take place over the next several months and even years. The immediate response since February 24 2022 has been critical, and our partners are holding it in balance with the equally-critical work to come. Both are essential to our mission of alleviating suffering throughout the world. While we don't yet have a timeline or specifics on that process, we do know it will add pressure right away on the resettlement community - already scrambling to serve tens of thousands of Afghans; dealing with the possibility and hope of resettling up to 125,000 refugees from around the world who have been waiting far too long; and now 100,000 Ukrainians. As the situation continues to unfold in Ukraine, we will be finding ways to empower congregations engaged in the work of refugee support.
Week of Compassion provides Afghan Welcome congregational support grants to encourage and strengthen Disciples churches in welcoming Afghans to communities across the U.S., in partnership with their local resettlement agencies. This grant can be used for congregational ministries that help with food assistance, rent, or any other essentials. Grants range from $500-$2,000.
Zaatari refugee camp (Syrian), near Mafraq, Jordan. Paul Jeffrey / ACT Alliance
Ongoing Refugee Response
Even after many years, Week of Compassion remains attentive to the people of Syria, Myanmar, and Bangladesh, among others. Week of Compassion continues to respond, through our global and ecumenical partners, for the sake of the affected communities, and as their stories will affect the needs and responses of resettlement work in the United States.
Week of Compassion works in relationship. Through our various partners, including Global Ministries and Church World Service, we help displaced people find hope, opportunity and community, and most importantly, the promise of a better future. Through our relationships with these and other partners, we support advocacy and legal support for immigrants and resettled families, and can be present in many places around the world where those fleeing violence and persecution can find new life.
Week of Compassion P.O. Box 1986 Indianapolis, IN 46206
Week of Compassion is the relief, refugee and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada.