Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
In the coming weeks, many of our churches will receive the Special Offering to support Week of Compassion. I am grateful for your tremendous generosity that provides relief and offers hope to so many.
We just completed assessment of 2020 financial distributions for relief, refugee, and sustainable development programs. This gives us a sense of where the greatest needs arose, and how your gifts helped communities in the midst of a pandemic and other disasters. Because of your generosity, 2020 was our highest program distribution in over a decade. As the world was affected by the pandemic-- and the economic toll impacted our partners-- Week of Compassion stepped up and increased our resource support for disaster relief, refugee, food security and sanitation.
From wildfires that burned millions of acres on the west coast, to hurricanes in the Gulf and typhoons and earthquakes in Asia, you responded to the incredible needs and provided over $3.5 million in program support. This graphic reflects financial distributions in 2020 and shows your collective impact around the world.
In spite of the overall increase in distributions, many challenges remain. Our support for global development was reduced by 30% compared to an average year because many countries were shut down due to COVID-19. It was difficult, sometimes nearly impossible, for our partners to provide critical support for sustainable development programs. This caused major setbacks in areas such as girls’ education and women’s empowerment that we have been supporting for decades. Thus, we anticipate these needs will be even greater in 2021, and that we will receive even more requests from partners to provide support for these vital programs.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, disasters continue to affect communities. At this moment, our prayers are with the people of Texas as they suffer one of the most severe winter storms in decades. Week of Compassion is responding, supporting our local Disciples congregations as they serve their neighbors during a time of crisis. We are working to help churches provide shelter and emergency aids to their local communities as widespread power outages cause unsafe conditions.
As always, we remain committed to our neighbors overseas as well. At this time, we are assessing the recent landslide in Northern India that killed several hundred people. We are also evaluating the earthquake that impacted Fukushima, Japan- the same place that was hit 10 years ago with an earthquake that caused a nuclear meltdown. Thanks to you, Week of Compassion has already engaged with our partners to provide immediate relief.
Please know that your support is greatly appreciated, now more than ever, and we are able to continue this work in the coming months and years because of your faithfulness.
This year’s Special Offering materials provide many opportunities for us all to “Let Love Flow,” ensuring that our resources will reach the places of greatest need. By sharing in the offering, your congregation ensures that our shared impact will continue and that this mission of our wider church-- to relieve suffering around the world, around the year-- will continue for many years to come.
Rev. Vy T. Nguyen, Executive Director