Several ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada are collaborating to come alongside our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico who have endured the ravages of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Given our close relationship with the Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo) in Puerto Rico, Week of Compassion has been coordinating with various partners to provide relief. We are still waiting for assessments to take place, a process made particularly difficult because communication and power are down and will not be back up for months.
Within the last several weeks, Week of Compassion have provided over $100,000 for emergency needs just to the Caribbean, and over $300,000 to communities impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. And we are just getting started. This is great news. Thank you for your generosity, which makes this possible.
In the midst of extreme need, Rev. Miguel Morales, the General Minister of the Discípulos de Cristo in Puerto Rico explains, "The situation is getting harder every day. We are low on water. We have to wait in long lines to get gas. Our resources are running out."
The hurricanes that affected Puerto Rico will call for the church to respond for the long term. In Puerto Rico, the entire island is affected - that's 3.5 million people! Fatalities are many, and growing. Loved ones are missing, and families cannot connect with them because cell phone signals are unavailable in most places on the island. Gasoline is already being rationed, limiting long-distance travel.
And this is just the start of the needed response. The situation is dire and is a humanitarian crisis. We are responding, and will continue to help in the months ahead.
We are deeply thankful for the support received so far. However, based on initial assessments, much more will be required as we continue to comprehend the extent of the overall damage. Currently, we have only received about a half of the donations needed to fully respond. When you consider a year end gift, I encourage you to give now - don't wait until December 31 - and designate it for Hurricane Relief so we can rebuild these communities for the long term. Remember, 100% of your designated gifts will go towards rebuilding and reestablishing many of these communities.
For a church, "acts of God" is not only a pseudonym for natural disaster. Acting in faith, we believe that acts of compassion and solidarity are also "acts of God." God is calling us to act... now! God is calling us to act in Christ's name, now! Your compassionate support is needed to ensure that hope will overcome despair and the human community thrives.
Will you join me and stand compassionately with these communities by giving a designated gift to Week of Compassion?
Pastor Neil Allen
I am blessed to serve as the pastor of Queen Anne Christian Church, an amazing community of wise and thoughtful people.