Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
In our weekly updates, we share stories of our presence and impact around the world: from disaster response, to refugee and immigration ministry, to ongoing sustainable development projects in impoverished areas. Catch up on updates you missed, or find stories you want to read and share again! Or, subscribe to receive weekly email updates.
Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Over two years ago, the Rohingya people of Myanmar experienced one of the largest forced displacements of our time. Earlier this month, Week of Compassion Executive Director Rev. Vy Nguyen traveled to Bangladesh and Myanmar. His travels included a visit to the refugee camp in the Cox’s Bazaar district. With nearly 1 million displaced residents, it is the largest, most densely populated refugee camp in the world.
From the camp, the border to Myanmar is only about 100 yards away; and yet, many who live there cannot return home.
Executive Director Rev. Vy Nguyen has been traveling the past few weeks, visiting our ministry partners in the Middle East--partners who are working to meet the needs of refugees in temporary settlements. This is his reflection on yesterday's announcement that the U.S. will reduce its refugee admissions cap to an all-time low in the coming year.
In 1990, I was one of 125,000 refugees who were lucky enough to be resettled in the United States. My time in those refugee camps throughout Southeast Asia lasted only four years.
As I woke up this morning to leave Morocco for home, I heard the news that the administration set refugee admissions for 2020 at a devastating 18,000--reducing entries to an unprecedented low and further decimating the refugee resettlement program. I am heartbroken. This policy will have a ripple effect all over the world and impact millions of lives.
Earlier this month, a delegation of Disciples leaders traveled to D.C. to help protect refugees. Rev. Dr. Ike Nicholson, Senior Pastor of South Suburban Christian Church in Littleton, Colorado, was part of that delegation and has this reflection to share. We are grateful for this congregation’s faithful support of Week of Compassion, and for Dr. Nicholson’s powerful story of welcome and compassion. The work that we do to together is more important now than ever.
The Lake Chad Basin area-- which includes parts of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon-- is facing one of the most severe humanitarian crises of our time. Already impoverished, the region has been struggling under the negative impact that shifting climate has on living conditions and livelihoods. In addition to the environmental factors that make life challenging, escalating violence in the area has reached a tipping point. To date, at least 2.5 million people in the region have been displaced because of protracted conflict.
Just because General Assembly is over does not mean the work of the Church is done. In fact, when everyone goes back home to their local congregations, that’s when the real work begins. This year, the Assembly went out with some clear imperatives and action items moving forward. Keep reading for some resources to help your home church continue the work of the wider church.
When people hear “Week of Compassion,” many immediately think of the phrase “around the world, around the year.”
As you know, Week of Compassion is more than a week. As the relief, refugee, and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Week of Compassion works with partners to alleviate suffering throughout the world. Any time we respond to disaster, welcome a refugee, or empower a community to provide for its needs, we fulfill our mission--which is a mission of the wider church.
This is an exciting time for the Church, and for Week of Compassion.
There are more refugees and displaced people living in the world today than at any other time in our history. Thousands more are forced to flee their homes each day. In the spirit of recognizing the strength, courage and perseverance of refugees-- and in an effort to show public support for those who have endured so much--the global community marks June 20 of each year as World Refugee Day.