By the time you read this, our celebration of the Week of Compassion will be old news; real news, but old news. The office for the Week of Compassion answered requests for grants from around the world and across the United States in 2016. 2017 will not likely be any different. Week of Compassion is the relief, refugee and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. It seeks to equip and empower disciples to alleviate the suffering of others through disaster response, humanitarian aid, sustainable development and the promotion of mission opportunities. Its rich history dates back to 1938 when a dinner was held with the goals of increasing a sense of cohesiveness in order to become a greater force of advancement in the Kingdom of God, creating a more vital awareness of being a part of the fellowship of churches and strengthening local congregations.
Then in 1941, 1n an effort to raise relief funds, which were intended to be sent out as a result of the Emergency Million Campaign, the Board of Trustees of the United Christian Missionary Society designated March 1st as a Day of Compassion. This offering would be organized by The Committee on Relief Appeals, and would serve as the Disciples way of reviewing requests and promote offerings for relief efforts around the world. In May of 1943, the Wartime Service Fund is approved. This sets the goal of raising $250,000, which will be done through the first ever Week of Compassion (WOC). This fund is to assist "the work of the Committee on War Services, pensions for Chaplains in the armed forces, and the inadequacies of our response to the call of the Church Committee on Relief and Reconstruction." The Committee on Relief and Reconstruction was an organization of the Council of Churches which responded to needs which emerged from World War II.
February 20-27, 1944: The 1st Week of Compassion!!! Funds raised through this week of collections will go to the Wartime Service Fund. On the advertising material, there are pictures of malnourished children and American troops receiving aid. That’s 73 Week of Compassion offerings and still counting. If you didn’t use the envelop provided in your box of offering envelopes, please consider digging it out of the recycle bin and using it this week. Gifts to the WOC can be made anytime during the year by designating your check as such. 2016 saw the WOC provide 150 grants for Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance and 40 grants for Development and Long-Term Recovery and Rehabilitation. Compassion is in our DNA as Disciples of Christ!
Posted on Tue, February 28, 2017
by Doug Meister