Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
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.
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.
We are excited to be part of the launch of a new tool for networking congregations for disaster preparedness and response: Willing to Respond!
As a registry of willing congregations and a library of vetted resources, this tool will help us connect with you and introduce you to other congregations and organizations in your area. It also provides your congregation with training, tips, and tools to reduce your risk and be ready to help your neighbors when disaster strikes.
Recently we lifted up the Stephens family and the hope - and new home - they found through Week of Compassion’s partners, the Miami Valley Long-Term Recovery Operations Group and Brethren Disaster Ministries.
Many of the images and stories featuring prominently in this year's Special Offering materials are from Dayton, Ohio, and many include the Stephenses. This video - Love brings you home - highlights their story, and their joy.
What an absolute joy to share photos from their recent home blessing! The Stephenses have a beautiful and secure home, with personal touches like a handmade quilt. (Brethren Disaster Ministries’ long-term project leader Sammy Deacon joined the Stephens family for their celebration day.)
The Week of Compassion Special Offering, received in most congregations this Sunday February 27, brings home the power of community, and the deep truth that faith, hope, and love remain. Thank you for your gifts, this week and all year long.
When Hurricane Harvey parked itself over Texas and the Gulf Coast in 2017, the wind and water damage left in its wake were widespread and significant. Damage left unrepaired, or poorly done, only got worse as time and further storms - including the week long ice storm and freeze last February - carried on.
With funds from a Week of Compassion grant, partners at Mosaic in Action have been hard at work helping families find solutions - and the results are a ripple effect of recovery.
On Tuesday, December 14, Kentucky Regional Minister Rev. Dr. Don Gillett visited several communities in Kentucky that were impacted by the recent storm. Week of Compassion staff accompanied Dr. Gillett on this pastoral visit as a sign of solidarity, sharing the prayers and words of support that have been offered by so many from across the wider church. They travelled to Mayfield First Christian Church and Second Christian Church, and to Princeton, where they visited with leaders from First Christian Princeton and First Christian Dawson Springs. They also went to the site of a church member’s home that was destroyed in the storm.
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.
From Rev. Vy Nguyen, Executive Director
All of Creation is hurting. Our climate is inarguably shifting. And people of faith are among those calling for urgent action.
This week, I am among a group of global leaders gathered for the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference. The 2020 gathering was cancelled due to COVID-19, and the two years since the last conference have seen one devastating disaster after another: from wildfires and severe drought to tornadoes, hurricanes, and typhoons, all made more complicated by the pandemic.
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