WILSON, N.C. – Living in a world of 24-hour news, we are notified within moments of disasters occurring across the globe.  But with the technology of instant news, is there also a greater responsibility? Is it possible that today’s world requires us to be a people of response: coming together through a worldwide partnership to offer assistance in a multitude of forms to those affected by tragedies of natural and human catastrophes?

Barton College welcomes the Reverend Amy Gopp, director of Week of Compassion, on Wednesday, Oct. 14, to share an update about recent worldwide relief efforts coordinated through the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The event will be held at 7 p.m. in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center. This program is open to the public free of charge, and the community is invited to attend.

During her visit to Barton’s campus, the Reverend Gopp will also speak to students about a new partnership between Barton College and Week of Compassion, the relief, refugee and development ministry fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The two Disciples-related institutions have partnered to develop and initiate a pilot program called Campus Compassion. This new initiative has been designed to educate and motivate young adults to respond to the global needs of the world.  To fund the program, Barton and “Week of Compassion” were awarded two grants from the College/University Grant Fund of Higher Education and Leadership Ministry (HELM) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Oreon Scott Foundation.

“As Disciples’ ministries operating in different manifestations of the Church, Barton College and Week of Compassion have a responsibility to find new ways to engage young adults on the journey of spiritual maturity, social consciousness, and faithful stewardship,” shared the Reverend Hollie Woodruff, chaplain of Barton College.  “Exposure to the needs of the world is a critical piece of that journey.  We want to create an innovative strategy to explore what working relationships can emerge between Week of Compassion and Disciples-related colleges and universities.

“The grant funding for this exciting project will do more than just allow Barton College and Week of Compassion to work in partnership; it will offer an environment where our students are truly engaged in their education through study groups, volunteer opportunities, and an Alternative Spring Break work trip to Slidell, Louisiana,” Woodruff added.  Objectives for the program include educating students about the causes of poverty, researching opportunities for relief work, and creating a stronger global awareness.  The program is designed to inspire students and impart tools to help them make a positive difference in their communities and across the world.

“This year-long pilot program will conclude with a retreat hosted by Barton College that will involve chaplains from all Disciples-related colleges and universities,” continued Woodruff.  “The retreat will provide an opportunity to process, share, and promote continued collaboration with Week of Compassion.  Barton hopes this retreat initiative, planned tentatively for June 2010, will be a springboard for other Disciples-related schools to become more involved in offering support to Week of Compassion efforts across the globe. Our hope is that Barton’s Campus Compassion program will serve as a model, catalyst, and challenge for other Disciples-related colleges.  By bringing Disciples-related college chaplains together, we look forward to sharing our experience of working together while generating partnerships and ideas for future efforts.”

Week of Compassion is recognized across the world for providing emergency and long-term assistance to people in the aftermath of natural and human catastrophes.  Partnering with other Christian Ministries and national government organizations, Week of Compassion responds with help, hope, and hospitality.  And, Week of Compassion works to eradicate forces of injustice and provide hospitality to all who are in need.

“Week of Compassion is an extraordinary program that creates boundless opportunities for students across the nation to participate in assisting with worldwide issues that are often minimized,” shared Barton freshman Rachel Warren.

“The Campus Compassion program personifies the partnership of a living covenant between Barton College and the Christian Church (DOC) to respond to this calling to faith,” concluded Woodruff.  “We are living out the mission of not only of Barton College, but also of Week of Compassion and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).”

For additional information about Campus Compassion, please contact the Reverend Hollie Woodruff, chaplain of Barton College, at 252-399-6368 or email: hewoodruff@barton.edu.

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Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.