Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
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.
Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands--
O prosper the work of our hands! ~Psalm 90:16-17
In South Sudan, a major protracted humanitarian crisis is unfolding, with nearly 70% of the population in need of urgent assistance. Tens of thousands of people are living in famine-like conditions and malnutrition is at critical levels, while more than 7 million are food insecure.
On Saturday morning, August 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the south of Haiti. The earthquake was also felt in other Caribbean islands. This earthquake was stronger than the 2010 quake that devastated the nation's capital of Port-au-Prince, and news outlets are reporting nearly 1300 lives lost so far.
Although it is too early to know the full impact of the destruction, casualties, and loss of livelihoods, initial reports from Week of Compassion partners indicate that the impact has been devastating and that hospitals are overwhelmed. Thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed. Communication channels have been affected, as well as infrastructure including roads, which will affect immediate response and create challenges in getting help to those in need.
Many have said that Week of Compassion is there after the cameras leave, and that is true. Committed to long-term recovery, Week of Compassion walks alongside communities through every stage of disaster recovery. Weeks, months, even years after a major disaster has faded from the headlines, we are still working with our partners to rebuild communities. But sometimes, through your support and the presence of local congregations, we are there before the cameras arrive-- or even when there are no cameras at all. Here are a few events from last month that you may not have heard about on the news, but where our Disciples presence has been felt and is making a difference.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey (Aug. 2017), West Street Recovery emerged as a community based disaster recovery organization. Over the past four years, it has grown into an adaptable, rapid response organization, helping communities deal not only with the impacts of Harvey, but also Tropical Storm Imelda, COVID-19, and the February 2021 Winter Storm. Each disaster has amplified race- and class-based injustice; widened the financial gap between BIPOC and white households; and negatively impacted the health of economically and racially marginalized communities. In response, WSR has developed a community organizing program that seeks to empower communities by helping them prepare for future disasters and by building networks of mutual care in Northeast Houston. This combination of service provision and organizing allows WSR to meet immediate needs while addressing persistent, underlying issues of poverty, low-quality housing, and environmental risk factors.
Through our partners, Week of Compassion is responding to the urgent situation in India, as well as in other parts of the world where COVID-19 rates are escalating. In many countries, new strains of the virus are causing widespread economic hardship, compounding illness and loss of life.
Joseph Sahayam, from our partner CASA in India, reflects, “It’s time to unite and focus on immediate needs. The situation in India could be a warning for the rest of the world, but also lead the way to more global solidarity.”