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.
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.
On Sunday, Week of Compassion learned from our partners in the Philippines that Typhoon Vongfong had made landfall in Luzon. Evacuations were complicated on this highly populated island because of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Cyclone Amphan is rapidly gaining strength in the South Pacific and threatens many extremely vulnerable areas-- including Cox’s Bazaar, the refugee camp in Bangladesh where more than 1 million Rohingya people live. Last week, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the camp. Clearly, this is a dangerous confluence of events in parts of the world where people are already struggling from the effects of poverty and violence. We are grateful for our partners who continue to work for the health and safety of vulnerable people, even in the most challenging circumstances. Please join us in prayer for those affected by, and in the path of, these storms. We will share more as we learn more.
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I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:15-16)
On May 28 of 2019, a series of severe tornadoes caused widespread damage throughout Ohio, especially in and around the city of Dayton.
Last week, we shared a story about ongoing recovery in Jefferson City, Missouri, where First Christian Church is serving their neighbors and investing in the future of their community. The same storm system that impacted Jefferson City also spawned damaging tornadoes in nearby communities, including Eldon, Missouri. Here is how they weathered the storm. Week of Compassion is grateful to partner with Disciples who respond in times of need, taking care of church members as well as neighbors!
On Wednesday, May 22 of 2019, an EF1 tornado went through the city of Eldon, Missouri. The storm brought winds of 104 miles-per-hour and tracked for 13 miles.
Sometimes, a disaster draws attention to a pre-existing challenge in a community. When that happens, a church may have the opportunity to serve their neighbors in a time of crisis, while also addressing a deeper need. We are grateful that First Christian Church in Jefferson City, Missouri, answered such a call.
It has been an intense week across the Midwest with tornadoes, severe storms and subsequent flooding causing serious damage in many communities. Some Disciples congregations-- such as Community Christian in Jefferson City, MO-- sustained significant damage to their facilities. Other congregations are ministering to members who have lost their homes or been displaced. Week of Compassion has been working with these communities to support individuals and families who have been impacted by the storms
In many communities, however, local Disciples congregations have not been directly impacted. Their buildings have been unharmed, and their members have not sustained loss. In those cases, Disciples are stepping up to serve their neighbors in a variety of ways.
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