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.
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.
Your ongoing prayerful and generous support of Week of Compassion has brought hope and healing to so many, embodying the love of Christ in the world. Here you can see how your compassion has shared light and life, responding to needs in 2021.
We hope you’ll see what compassion looks like, and join us in a prayer today, on Epiphany, as we renew our commitment to the Light that guides us toward a future filled with hope, peace, joy, and love. Blessings in your New Year.
Star of Wonder, Light of Life,
in you we find hope and meaning, and so we fix our gaze on you.
Reveal to us the hurts of the world -- great and small, elaborate and simple --
and help us discern where can offer the Life and Wonder your people crave.
Star of Night, Light of Wisdom,
in you we find grace and direction, and so we fix our gaze on you.
Reveal to us the path that needs clearing -- where hate has caused harm, and disaster wreaks havoc --
that we may follow your Wisdom through the Night, to reach the heralded Good News.
Star of Beauty, Light of Love,
in you we find energy and inspiration, and so we fix our gaze on you.
As the star comes to rest, may you see great faithfulness revealed in us
that we might shine with the Light of your Love.
In September of 2017, Hurricane Irma had devastating impacts across much of the state of Florida. Week of Compassion responded immediately through local congregations, helping meet critical needs in the aftermath of the storm. But even in those early days, it was clear that recovery was going to be a years-long journey for communities in the area.
To be inundated is typically not a good thing: the word carries a sense of too much. Water, a necessity for life, can at times be soothing, as a gently moving river or a placid sea reflecting blue skies above. Yet it also has the power to overwhelm, as when that same river overflows its banks or when an ocean surge is pushed before a storm. Too much water can inundate a riverbed, a floodplain, a surrounding community.
Multiple wildfires continue to burn across California, including three major fires surrounding the Bay Area. The SCU Fire, affecting the East Bay Area, has burned over 360k acres and is only 15% contained. The CZU Fire, affecting South Bay and Santa Cruz areas, has burned over 78k acres and is only 17% contained. Meanwhile, the LNU Fire, in Sonoma and Napa Counties, is over 350k acres, with 27% containment. Across the three incidents, more than 1500 structures have been damaged or destroyed.
On August 10, a 40 mile wide derecho blew across the upper Midwest; the effects were especially devastating across a large portion of Iowa. During the derecho-- a sustained, powerful straight-line windstorm-- the winds at times exceeded 100 miles per hour. Those are wind speeds equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane.
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