The Week of Compassion offerings will be collected on Feb. 15th and 22nd.  The Week of Compassion offering is our opportunity to help those who have experienced or will experience disaster, natural and man-made.  The money will provide aid to people around the globe when they need it the most.  Please give as though it was your family in crisis and pray for those impacted.

The Week of Compassion is part of an ecumenical outreach aimed at relieving suffering caused by disasters of all kinds.  Some denominations refer to it as The One Great Hour of Sharing; for us it is Week of Compassion.  Here are some statistics gleaned from the Planning Guide for the Week of Compassion:

  • Nearly 1.5 billion people in developing countries live in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 a day.
  • Most Americans, approximately 51.4 percent, will live in poverty at some point before age 65.
  • Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes.
  • In the United States, 14.5 percent of households struggle to put food on the table.
  • More than one in four American children are at risk of hunger.  More than one in five children live in households that struggle to put food on the table.
  • World-wide, 1 in 8 persons are under-nourished.  That means a total of 870 million in all do not eat enough to be healthy.
  • 11% of the world’s population still doesn’t have access to clean drinking water.
  • The UN is concerned that the burden of caring for refugees is increasingly falling on the countries with the least resources.  Developing countries are host to 86% of the world’s refugees, with wealthy countries caring for just 14%.
  • Storms, floods, famines, drought, typhoons, earthquakes, mud slides occur yearly.  Each year for the past decade, an average of 258 million people have lived through some kind of disaster—in total, this is the equivalent of almost half of the world’s population.
  • More than 50 times as many people were affected by disaster in developing countries as in developed countries.

I selected these statistics out of two and a half pages of similar information.  Helping overcome a disaster takes more than a month, or even more than a year.  Look at New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.  Look at New Jersey and at Haiti.  All of these, and many other places, that are still trying to come back from disaster.  Then turn to those who are displaced or suffering from war, such as the Middle East, the African nations, and elsewhere.  Your gifts to the Week of Compassion touch lives from floods and tornadoes in the United States, to cyclones in the western Pacific Ocean.

We never want to think about what would happen if a disaster struck close to home, but if it should ever happen, wouldn’t we be relieved to know that our church and many others around the world would offer help for recovery?  Let’s be that hope for others.

Shalom, Darrell