The Department of Women and Family of the Community of Disciples of Christ Church in the Congo (CDCC) organized two special services to be held in Bolenge and Mbandaka on Feb 24 and Feb 26 respectively to celebrate Week of Compassion. This very first initiative by our partners in the Congo was the result of interaction with the Rev Amy Gopp (Week of Compassion) and Ms Susan Sanders (One Great Hour of Sharing) during a November, 2009 visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo with the Rev Sandra Gourdet (Africa Executive).
The Rev. Christiane Ikete, in charge of the CDCC's Women Department, stated, "For many years, we have heard of Week of Compassion. It was something we heard when we were small children. During this visit, we had the opportunity to discuss the significance of Week of Compassion and One Great Hour of Sharing to learn more about the various programs. As we have benefitted from disaster relief, we wanted to show compassion for our brothers and sisters around the world during their hour of catastrophe. We wanted to do it at the same moment as Week of Compassion in America to show our solidarity.
In her letter to the Mbandaka and Bolenge District Ministers, Rev Ikete encouraged them to center the worship around John 21:1-19 to coincide with the text used by Week of Compassion and One Great Hour Sharing. Jeremiah 34:11-16 was also used as a scriptural text.
Both services were very successful. Over 300 members participated in the service at Mbandaka which featured several choirs. Rev Ilumbe Ndjongo, District Minister for Mbandaka, shared a passionate sermon entitled, Feed my Sheep. He exhorted those gathered to answer Jesus' call to feed our brothers and sisters with words of encouragement, assistance to those in danger, help for those in need. "We must become servants ourselves to prove our compassion", stated Ilumbe.
The offering taken during the Mbandaka service was $130. The distribution is designated as follows:
40% for Global Ministries
20% for the Mbandaka District
20% for the hosting congregation
20% for the Disciples central office
Given the success of this first effort, Ikete announced that this will become a yearly event and expanded to all the CDCC districts.