Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
How Welcome Changes Us All
In the fall of 2021, as the government of Afghanistan collapsed and families were rapidly evacuated, Week of Compassion reaffirmed refugee response as an ongoing priority and employed increased resources, including the Afghan Welcome congregational grants, to support local churches. Dozens of congregations, across multiple regions of the Disciples church, have helped Afghan families to establish a new life in an entirely new place under deeply stressful circumstances. Out of the desperation and disconnect of this crisis, opportunity and community have somehow thrived.
There are countless incredible stories that we could share (and we will continue to do so!), but just a few recent conversations reveal the unfolding and ongoing care for new neighbors in our communities:
Serving on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), working with partners to alleviate suffering throughout the world, toward the vision of a world where God’s people transform suffering into hope. That is the work and witness of Week of Compassion.
In conversations and greetings across the church, we are grateful so often to hear: “We love Week of Compassion. We love the work you do.”
That work is always and only possible because it is work we do together.
You are Week of Compassion.
From the beginning, Week of Compassion has been engaged with ecumenical partners to do the work of alleviating suffering. On behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we serve together - individuals, congregations, denominational colleagues, and ecumenical partners - to not only envision but work for a world where God’s people transform suffering into hope.
Week of Compassion is responding through partners to support Ukrainians all along their arduous journey - welcoming and hosting refugees as they flee, getting them safely to where they need to be, and preparing to provide trauma care as they rebuild their lives.
After Trauma: Children's Disaster Services & the local church
Any tragic event - war, famine, natural disaster, community violence - seems to tear at us a little bit more when it affects a child. Our church nursery and Bible school walls are adorned with drawings and scripted verses: Let the little children come to me … for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. (Matthew 19:14) We are tender-hearted for society’s youngest members.
Since 1980 Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), a program of Brethren Disaster Ministries, has been meeting the needs of children by setting up child care spaces in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, volunteers provide a calm, safe and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural or human-caused disasters.
From today until next Sunday, we hold to church tradition, marking this holiest of weeks with our reflection, worship, rituals, and song. Week of Compassion joins you in prayer, each day, that we might find renewed meaning and a truly Holy Week.
April 10 - Palm Sunday
Humble One, you arrive today, amid cries of hosanna, with nothing fancier than donkeys, cloaks, and branches to mark your way. We join you on the path, praying for the meaning in this week, and for your strong, steady pace to rule our hearts.
April 11 -
Lasting God, we want to move from celebration to celebration, but you call us to deeper faithfulness - to sit among the discomfort and concern, to withstand the aching passion of this week, to wait with hope for the promise to come.
April 12 -
Holy One, embrace us in this moment. Reveal to us, and through us, your divine intent: wide welcome, generous compassion, deep relationship. Life renewed, mercy overflowing, promise revealed. May we be what you see in us.
April 13 -
Gracious Creator, we near the day of promise, that moment of newness and hope. It is slow going to get there, it is close-but-not-yet. We’ve come this far by faith, and so we remain dedicated to the work at hand - remembering, confessing, grieving, waiting.
April 14 - Maundy Thursday
Host, at your table, Lord, all who come and go. We come to remember, alongside everyone as lost as we are, everyone as arrogant as we can sometimes be. We go back into a challenging world, somehow different than when we came. Here, at your table, Lord, all enter in.
April 15 - Good Friday
Crucified Christ, your family, your friends, are too acquainted with grief. We know it well, too - global pandemic, unholy wars, racial injustice, climate change, unhealthy attachments. We pray forgiveness. We sit, we flail, we pray, we wail - at the foot of the cross, we lay every burden down, that you might know how desperate we are to draw near to you.
April 16 - Holy Saturday
Sacred Stillness, speak into our hearts - something only we will hear, something that is just for us to hold and know as our own. As we sit in this in-between - no longer at the cross, not yet to the empty tomb - we wait in this shadowed moment for your light to break forth.
April 17 - Easter Sunday
Risen Lord, revive us again! Our community’s pains cry out, and our compassion calls in response: Arise, shine, for Light has come! Our world needs to know, to see, to feel, to believe: Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen, in deed!
Between winter’s severe weather, the Special Offering in February, and the crisis continuing to unfold in Ukraine, you have heard a lot from and about Week of Compassion. We’re grateful for every chance to stay connected - through these emails, at our website, in social media, and with your congregations.
Sometimes we talk about things as if everyone knows what we mean. From time to time, alongside stories of Week of Compassion working with partners to alleviate suffering throughout the world, we want to tell you a little about the ‘behind the scenes’ commitments that make that ministry happen.
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