Disciples News Service

When the waters rise

Submitted by Week of Compassion

We are the Church together. 

Through your support of the Special Offering, Week of Compassion is prepared to respond immediately when there is need from a disaster.

Flooding in Eastern Oregon damaged many homes last week, as well as roads and bridges, making travel difficult. Rev. Marc Mullins of First Christian Church, Pendleton reports that the community worked together quickly to provide needed assistance to those who were displaced and to coordinate clean-up as the waters began to recede. 

Within a few days of the flooding, Pastor Mullins shared the following message with his congregation: 

I have just received word that five grants will be sent to the church from Week of Compassion to be distributed to five families in our congregation who have been impacted by the recent flood… I expect these grant monies to arrive next week.  

It just so happens that these next two Sundays are the days when we receive our annual special offerings during worship for Week of Compassion. This is the first time I have been impacted personally by grants from Week of Compassion. I often hear how money is distributed to victims of hurricanes, typhoons, famines, wars (resulting in refugees), etc., but this is the first time that I have had members of a congregation I serve receiving such financial support. As a result, I have decided to change my sermon for this next Sunday to reflect the blessings provided by our Week of Compassion funds. 

Meanwhile – several time zones away – residents of Southeastern Kentucky were also impacted by severe flooding. Rev. Dean Phelps, interim regional minister, shared these words in an update to the Kentucky region: 

At the same time I was hearing reports of flood waters and of more rain expected this week, I also received a call from Caroline Hamilton-Arnold, associate director for domestic disaster response at Week of Compassion. She wanted to know how our congregations and members were being impacted by the flooding. Even as the situation unfolded, Week of Compassion was there, ready to assist.

It recalled a past experience for me. In May of 2013, I was only four months into the first of my interim regional ministries, serving Oklahoma’s Disciples. On a Monday afternoon, an EF5 tornado caused extensive damage in Moore, OK. Even as we received the tornado warnings, Week of Compassion was calling to let me know that they were standing with us, ready to assist.

In the aftermath of that – and three other tornadoes that struck the same week – Week of Compassion provided financial assistance to those who suffered damage from the storms. Thanks not only to Week of Compassion but also to those who had given so generously, the Region was able to share love, support, and assistance in very tangible ways with those affected.

In times of adversity, it helps to remember that we do not exist in isolation. We are present precisely because we are the Church together.

We are the Church together at all times. When one member of our Body is hurting, we reach out with love; and when the waters rise, we are there with the presence, support, and compassion that lets others know they are not alone.

Visit weekofcompassion.org/2020 for worship materials and other resources to promote the Special Offering.