Okay, so I cheated this week on The Whiteboard. But trust me, that Week of Compassion Poster is WAY better than anything I could draw! And, the words of Rev. Vy Nguyen (Executive Director of Week of Compassion) are significantly more eloquent than anything I could write in describing the life changing ministries that your Week of Compassion dollars empower.
So below you will find the full text of Rev. Vy Nguyen's Week of Compassion Letter and below that you'll find the text of this week's scripture passage from Ruth 1.
I bring you greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. We have chosen the theme “Where you go I will go; and where you stay I will stay” for this year’s Week of Compassion special offering. During the weeks leading up to the offering, we invite you to reflect on the words of Ruth (Ruth 1: 16-17) and the ways that we, as Church, can live into a spiritual practice of solidarity. Together, we are able to work with communities and positively impact lives all over the world; to accompany people during the time of their greatest need; and to share good news with our sisters and brothers when hope is needed most.
Through our many partners, your Week of Compassion fulfills its mission of ready and compassionate response when confronted with widespread human distress caused by natural disasters or political crises. In many different areas of development and disaster relief — from helping small farmers gain equal access to a fair market, to ensuring women can support their families by making handmade products in countries like Iraq and Haiti, to assisting in the development of sustainable, resilient communities that build the resources they need to support themselves — Week of Compassion strives to stand in solidarity and foster abundant life for all through our partnerships.
We have seen this commitment to active solidarity from the very beginning of Week of Compassion’s history through today: when human rights violations, civil turmoil and conflict, or natural and human-made disasters devastate lives and call on the world – call on the Church – to turn our attention, to form partnerships, to work together to offer relief and support to communities in need. In critical times, our Church has been there to help deal with the crises of the times. New life, hope, strength, and community have blossomed in many places and over many decades because we have always put our compassion in action.
This is who we are as Church: we respond when our brothers and sisters across the world ask us to accompany them on their journeys; we show up with assistance when the world screams for help.
At this moment, the conflict in Syria and the surrounding countries is calling on the Church to respond. Since the war broke out five years ago, there are more people who are displaced or in refugee camps than there were during the entirety of World War II. Displaced persons are calling on the international community to respond. The situation is too dire and immediate to ignore. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, through Week of Compassion, has and will continue to offer solidarity and support to those living through one of the greatest humanitarian crises in current memory.
During this time of the Week of Compassion special offering, we can recommit ourselves to follow in the example of Ruth. We can say to the refugee, the displaced person, the one seeking asylum that we will go where they go and walk in solidarity beside them throughout their journey. We can give of ourselves through time, talent, prayer, and tangible resources. This is another opportunity for us to be the body of Christ, at work in the world, sharing the Good News of reconciliation and justice and wholeness.
It is my great joy and honor to serve on behalf of your Week of Compassion.
Rev. Vy T. Nguyen, Executive Director
1In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. 2The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4These took Moabite wives; the name of one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there for about ten years, 5both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons or her husband.
6 Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had had consideration for his people and given them food. 7So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. 8But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.’ Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud.10They said to her, ‘No, we will return with you to your people.’ 11But Naomi said, ‘Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, 13would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.’ 14Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
15 So she said, ‘See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.’ 16But Ruth said, ‘Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die, I will die— there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!’ 18When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.
19 So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them; and the women said, ‘Is this Naomi?’ 20She said to them,
‘Call me no longer Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty; why call me Naomi when the Lord has dealt harshly with me, and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?’
22 So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.