Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
highlights from the World Council of Churches Central Committee, June 2022
“Joyful to share the work of the church with these Disciples leaders as part of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches.” With one sentence and a photo from the General Minister and President, the whole Disciples church came into the room in Geneva, Switzerland, joining global ecumenical partners for a week-long conversation and discernment about the church’s direction and faithful witness in turbulent times.
Today we begin a four-part series:
WELCOME: stories of Refugee & Immigrant Response.
Over the next year, we will be in conversation with some California Disciples,
and their ecumenical collaborators, as they welcome an Afghan family into their community,
and offer radical hospitality and welcome to new neighbors in their midst.
We’ll also feature a few short highlights with each story,
showing the ways other Disciples are doing the same work in their own communities.
Week of Compassion is responding in Ukraine and in neighboring countries where families are fleeing for safety, through our ecumenical partners in ACT Alliance. Recently, Simon Chambers, ACT’s Director of Communications, visited ACT partner AIDRom in Bucharest, caring for Ukrainian refugees as they escape, resettle, and imagine life in new ways and places. Here is just one of many stories Simon shares from the people he met:
Over and over again, it is powerful when people say, “We are so grateful that Week of Compassion is here for the long haul.” As storms come, disasters occur, and global concerns persist, Week of Compassion, on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), engages with ecumenical partners closest to the crisis, providing collaboration and support for as long as it is needed. That long-term emphasis is where Disciples invest time, talent, and resources to transform communities in meaningful ways.
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.
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