Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
In our weekly updates, we share stories of our presence and impact around the world: from disaster response, to refugee and immigration ministry, to ongoing sustainable development projects in impoverished areas. Catch up on updates you missed, or find stories you want to read and share again! Or, subscribe to receive weekly email updates.
As part of our domestic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Week of Compassion supports congregations like Saguaro Christian Church that are working to meet the economic needs of this time and feeding their neighbors in need. We celebrate the resilience and innovative spirit of these congregations, and give thanks for our wider Church’s role in supporting ministries like this one.
by Rev. Owen Chandler, Senior Minister, Saguaro Christian Church, Tucson
Saguaro Christian Church is committed to eliminating hunger on Tucson’s east side, a community which embodies the new face of poverty. These programs have been essential to our mission and understanding of the Gospel for years. Recently, the church created an independent nonprofit, the Sol Food Initiatives, to increase the capacity of our programming and our ability to foster relationships with other nonprofit organizations and churches.
Update on Hurricane Isaias: After skirting the eastern coasts of Florida and Georgia, Hurricane Isaias made landfall near the border of South and North Carolina and will bring rain and winds along the Eastern Seaboard through the day. So far, Disciples have fared well, and Week of Compassion staff is in conversation with partners to help provide relief in the complex COVID-19 environment.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps. ~Psalm 85:10-13
In Puerto Rico, Disciples of Christ pastors carry the weight of multiple disasters: Hurricanes Maria and Irma (2017), from which many communities continue to rebuild; an ongoing economic crisis; multiple recent earthquakes; and now the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the weight of these crises, church leaders continue to offer faithful leadership and care for their members and neighbors. At the same time, they are experiencing significant accumulated stress, to the detriment of their own physical and mental health.
On March 3, 2020, a tornado devastated the Nashville metro area. New Covenant Christian Church immediately went to work serving their neighbors, and then quickly had to modify their response in light of COVID-19 restrictions. We recently spoke with their Pastor, Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, for an update. At Week of Compassion, we frequently share that disaster relief is complex and often draws attention to existing inequalities in a community. The convergence of a tornado with a pandemic amplifies just how glaring those inequalities are; how they affect recovery; and how they create even more challenges in a time of crisis.
A colorful kite flies against a clear blue sky, its long tail dancing behind it. It’s an unlikely sign of hope in an unlikely place.
Imagine that you and your family have had to leave your home because of a violent conflict. You are living in a tent among other refugees. You have found work and community, but life is still difficult.
Then imagine that a global pandemic brings even more challenges and more restrictions into your life--not to mention the threat of illness.
This is the reality for Syrian refugees living in north Jordan.
The Week of Compassion Board of Stewards held its annual spring meeting virtually on May 27 to discuss the impact of COVID-19 in the United States and Canada and around the world. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Puerto Rico, but COVID-19 halted travel and is affecting the ongoing recovery work from Hurricane Maria. This pandemic is impacting all of the work and partners Week of Compassion supports for disaster response, refugee assistance, and sustainable development.
On Sunday, Week of Compassion learned from our partners in the Philippines that Typhoon Vongfong had made landfall in Luzon. Evacuations were complicated on this highly populated island because of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Cyclone Amphan is rapidly gaining strength in the South Pacific and threatens many extremely vulnerable areas-- including Cox’s Bazaar, the refugee camp in Bangladesh where more than 1 million Rohingya people live. Last week, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the camp. Clearly, this is a dangerous confluence of events in parts of the world where people are already struggling from the effects of poverty and violence. We are grateful for our partners who continue to work for the health and safety of vulnerable people, even in the most challenging circumstances. Please join us in prayer for those affected by, and in the path of, these storms. We will share more as we learn more.
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I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:15-16)
On May 28 of 2019, a series of severe tornadoes caused widespread damage throughout Ohio, especially in and around the city of Dayton.