Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
Behind the Scenes
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.
When a domestic disaster strikes or an international crisis occurs, Week of Compassion staff are quickly in touch with partners and networks closest to the affected area or incident. Local Disciples pastors, Regional Ministers, ecumenical (other church) peers, and international aid groups are all critical connections for immediate response as well as long-term recovery.
Local leaders and connected partners assess impact, needs, and ways to respond. When we receive an emergency appeal that shares that information, we look carefully at the specifics and which partners are connected. Because of our long-standing relationships, we know who these partners are, their capacity and how they serve, and where we can best be of service too.
Your Week of Compassion offerings and ongoing gifts mean we can connect with our partners right away. Designated contributions, used in their entirety toward the specified need, allow us to plan for the immediate and long term. With most appeals, there are phases of response, and Week of Compassion tries to meet needs and provide support throughout. As we respond in the immediate moment, we are also being good stewards of your gifts, planning for rebuilding that will take years.
While these regular emails tell you a single story of a domestic or global focus, there are of course multiple ongoing responses. We always include an interactive map, so that you know how and where we are serving together. Disasters cross borders on a daily basis; when something happens, even if not within our community, it affects us all. Long after media attention shifts away from the storm, crisis, or conflict, Week of Compassion remains in relationship.
Recently, Week of Compassion received an update and appeal for the Middle East Council of Churches’s (MECC) response with nearly 2 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees hosted in Jordan over the last several decades. Nearly one-third of Jordan’s population are refugees, and nearly all of them live below the poverty line. As in many places, this disparity was only worsened when the COVIDshutdown profoundly affected businesses, education, and healthcare. The Disciples and United Church of Christ, through Global Ministries, have been consistent supporters of MECC’s Ecumenical Relief Service, and the needs remain as critical as ever.
Through this program, basic needs of hygiene, food kits, and clothing reach hundreds of households and thousands of children. Gender equality is addressed as women receive vocational instruction, work kits, training in community health and preventative practices, and the knowledge and means to rebuild from sexual and gender-based violence. Men and women increase their economic capacity through job training and opportunities, and hundreds of children receive tuition grants and access to non-formal education to support and continue their studies.
As the relief, refugee, and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we serve on behalf of the whole church. Our commitment to the vision of a world where God’s people transform suffering into hope isn’t just something ‘we’ do and ‘you’ support. This is a ministry we share, a true exchange and vital connection of resources and relationships with individual Disciples, churches, regions, denominational ministries, ecumenical networks, and beyond.
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