Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
the Week of Compassion 2024 Special Offering
In the story of the generous widow (Luke 21:1-4), Jesus sees the widow and her gift, and rejoices in her generosity. Others were giving from what they could spare - but this woman, Jesus said, was giving everything she had to live on. Such generosity upends expectation. She brings two small coins, the merest contribution, but she is the giver Jesus praises most highly. It is not only the coins themselves that matter. It is the way she gives - it is the story of her generosity that outlasts her. That’s what Week of Compassion does - what Disciples do. We bring what we have to live on, which becomes a resource for others to live on - and that mutual giving is how our story lives on too.
Over the past 80 years through Week of Compassion, Disciples have responded to needs around the world, constantly evolving to meet new challenges. As Rev. Dr. Dawn Darwin Weaks, who wrote this year’s sermon starter and scripture commentary, has said, “We honor the courage of those who came before by being courageous now!”
Today we launch the theme and resources for our 2024 Special Offering:
GIFTS TO LIVE ON
The Week of Compassion Special Offering is suggested for February 18 - 25, 2024.
Standing Orders of print materials for the Week of Compassion 2024 Special Offering begin shipping in early December. To review your congregation's Standing Order, make changes, or create a new order, use the order page. Deadline for changes is December 4.
This year we saved the step of Sample Packets. Standing Orders include everything you need to create a meaningful Week of Compassion offering with your congregation. With our Planning and Resource Guide, PLUS all the print materials of your Standing Order, AND the plethora of video, print, worship, and study resources on the 2024 Special Offering page ... less paper, less shipping, less time, and less waste means MORE resources go right to work caring for vulnerable communities around the world.
THANK YOU for all the ways you are Week of Compassion in communities near and far, and for all the creative and generous ways you share GIFTS TO LIVE ON.
a short film for the 2024 Special Offering
available on the Special Offering page in English, English with captions, and in Spanish
responding with partners to war in the Middle East
Since the Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7, violence and devastation have escalated in the Middle East, with years of political tension and conflict bearing out in the most horrifying and heartbreaking ways. Thousands of civilians have been killed and thousands more injured as the warfare persists. Week of Compassion has been in frequent contact with trusted partners, including through Global Ministries, the Middle East Council of Churches, and ACT Alliance. These partners are in close conversation about immediate needs in Israel/Palestine and the broader region - food, water, shelter, medical care, sanitation - and know there will be many considerations to come regarding a long-term solution and recovery.
Beginning Sunday April 2, followers of Christ will mark the holiest of seasons, with Palm Sunday and Easter celebrations at each end, days of penitence and sorrow in between.
For generations, believers have explored the meaning of this week with reflection, worship, ritual, and song. Week of Compassion offers these prayers for each day, that we might arrive at deeper faithfulness in a truly Holy Week.
We will share each prayer daily via our social media and invite you to include these in worship, email, newsletters, and whatever ways best meet the prayerful connection of your congregation.
Grace and peace, Disciples. May we be renewed and transformed, for the sake of the world God so loves, as we approach this Holy Week together.
Forty is a number used throughout scripture, a number matched with many sacred journeys.
Forty days and forty nights, Noah is at sea, his family wondering what’s going on, and two of every creature getting restless in the cargo hold.
Forty years, Moses wanders the desert, leading people who don’t want to be led, listening to them tell him how he ought to be doing his job and how they were happier where they used to be.
Forty days, Jesus draws away from the crowds, preparing for his ministry to begin. Forty days he endures temptation: to display his power; to take advantage of his unique and divine nature; to give in to an easy path instead of doing the hard work of God’s realm.
In the early church, around the 4th century, Christians began to mark a season of forty days, too.
From today until next Sunday, we hold to church tradition, marking this holiest of weeks with our reflection, worship, rituals, and song. Week of Compassion joins you in prayer, each day, that we might find renewed meaning and a truly Holy Week.
April 10 - Palm Sunday
Humble One, you arrive today, amid cries of hosanna, with nothing fancier than donkeys, cloaks, and branches to mark your way. We join you on the path, praying for the meaning in this week, and for your strong, steady pace to rule our hearts.
April 11 -
Lasting God, we want to move from celebration to celebration, but you call us to deeper faithfulness - to sit among the discomfort and concern, to withstand the aching passion of this week, to wait with hope for the promise to come.
April 12 -
Holy One, embrace us in this moment. Reveal to us, and through us, your divine intent: wide welcome, generous compassion, deep relationship. Life renewed, mercy overflowing, promise revealed. May we be what you see in us.
April 13 -
Gracious Creator, we near the day of promise, that moment of newness and hope. It is slow going to get there, it is close-but-not-yet. We’ve come this far by faith, and so we remain dedicated to the work at hand - remembering, confessing, grieving, waiting.
April 14 - Maundy Thursday
Host, at your table, Lord, all who come and go. We come to remember, alongside everyone as lost as we are, everyone as arrogant as we can sometimes be. We go back into a challenging world, somehow different than when we came. Here, at your table, Lord, all enter in.
April 15 - Good Friday
Crucified Christ, your family, your friends, are too acquainted with grief. We know it well, too - global pandemic, unholy wars, racial injustice, climate change, unhealthy attachments. We pray forgiveness. We sit, we flail, we pray, we wail - at the foot of the cross, we lay every burden down, that you might know how desperate we are to draw near to you.
April 16 - Holy Saturday
Sacred Stillness, speak into our hearts - something only we will hear, something that is just for us to hold and know as our own. As we sit in this in-between - no longer at the cross, not yet to the empty tomb - we wait in this shadowed moment for your light to break forth.
April 17 - Easter Sunday
Risen Lord, revive us again! Our community’s pains cry out, and our compassion calls in response: Arise, shine, for Light has come! Our world needs to know, to see, to feel, to believe: Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen, in deed!
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