The CWS Blog

Faith Leaders Calling to Stop the Deportations

Rev. Noel Andersen  |  April 21, 2014

I just got back from the Fast for Families six-week bus tour, where CWS was deeply involved in coordinating events in  90 congressional districts to push for just and humane immigration reform. In each city we heard testimonies of the devastating impact of deportations that are tearing families apart. As the House of Representatives continues to ignore the pressing need for immigration reform, it is more critical than ever for the Obama administration to stop the suffering caused by our broken immigration system. CWS is asking President Obama to stop separating families through deportations, and to allow our undocumented community members to stay here in the United States without fear of deportation.

This past Wednesday, I was honored to be part of a prayer service in Lafayette Park just a few steps away from the White House. I joined with members of the immigrants’ rights groups and faith communities to pray for Ernestina, who has been on a hunger strike outside the White House. Ernestina’s husband was deported on April 3rd, in the midst of his own hunger strike while in detention at Texas Joe Corley Detention Center. With no options left to reunite her family, she would be willing to giver her own health and body with the hopes that her and husband can still reunite, if new administrative reforms might take effect through the stroke of our President’s pen.

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CWS Is a Disaster Recovery Partner That Sticks Around

Sara Echols  |  April 17, 2014

I first got to know Church World Service during the severe storms and floods last April and May that were so widespread that 49 Illinois counties received federal disaster declarations.  I had just taken on my new responsibility for partner relations with the American Red Cross Greater Chicago Region.

CWS support for flood survivors started right away in the form of CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets.  The buckets arrived at the perfect time and we got them right out to flooded households.  Our clients really, really appreciated them. 

So did our volunteers.  The buckets are so visual, and our volunteers asked, “Who’s behind these?”  The buckets helped spur the interest of our volunteers in our partner relationships, including the long-time partnership between CWS and the American Red Cross nationally and in communities across the United States. 

Early on, the CWS U.S. disaster response webinars and on-site “Recovery Tools and Training” workshops helped us lay the groundwork for long-term recovery following the floods. 

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The Youngest First Grader

Joel Cooper  |  April 14, 2014

After nine months relaxing in the cushioned comfort of his mother’s womb, baby Namoki now spends his days quietly sleeping on the divoted concrete floor in the back of his older brother’s classroom at Lokiding Primary School.

Karamojongs like Namoki have it rough from day one.

What would be considered neglect in the West is necessary for survival in Africa. In this area of Northeast Uganda, progressing though school is not a typical right of passage. CWS staff speculates that only around 20 percent of children here attend. Nomoki’s older brother, Kapel Namuya, has to take his little brother with him to attend school. Fathers are occupied herding livestock, and mothers are busy crop farming, getting water, cooking and doing everything else, so traditionally much of the responsibility of child rearing falls on older siblings.

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Life Lessons Learned

Catherine Powers  |  April 9, 2014

“For I know the plans I have for you…”

After more than 32 years of employment with Church World Service, I’ve “graduated” to another life-stage known as “retirement.” Milestones such as this often present themselves as times to reflect upon one’s life journeys, achievements, discoveries - of which I have many during my tenure with CWS.

Reflecting back to 1981, when I was offered an administrative support position in the Church World Service Minn-Kota Region, then located in Fargo, N.D., I knew this was the call to ministry I had been praying and waiting for. Little did I know this call to an organization I had never even heard of would become my life-long ministry setting!

More than ever, I am so very proud of the work CWS does globally through our staff and partners. Having witnessed a bit of our global international work first-hand — Southeast Asia in 1990 and Kenya/Uganda in 2005 — I’ve seen how we are making a difference one-by-one-by-one with those most vulnerable in places where others do not venture.

Recalling those travel experiences and the people I met, life lessons learned were of such profound significance they remain with me today.

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Superstorm Sandy Recovery Effort Reaches Critical Phase

Barry Shade  |  April 5, 2014

The bigger the disaster, the longer the recovery.

That is certainly true following Superstorm Sandy. The storm hit in October 2012, but a big push to expedite repairs and rebuilding is just beginning – especially in hard-hit New York City and New Jersey.

That takes organization, and local community-based long-term recovery groups are key to helping each survivor access the resources needed to get back into safe, healthy homes and to get on with life. Church World Service plays an important role in strengthening these groups through small start-up grants - usually $5,000 - workshops and ongoing mentoring.

With funding support from member communions, the public and the American Red Cross, CWS already has conducted many long-term recovery workshops since the storm, and will be conducting many more during the next several months.

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Boehner is Distorting Our Democracy

Rev. John L. McCullough  |  March 31, 2014

As originally published by The Hill, March 28, 2014, 3 p.m.

By refusing to bring immigration reform up for a vote, Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) perpetuates an immigration system that is broken, immoral, and hurting this country. As a Christian and as an American, I am outraged that House Republicans value delay tactics and partisan fears over family unity and community wholeness. This is why I applaud Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's (Calif.) introduction of a discharge petition to bring immigration reform to a vote in the House of Representatives. H.R. 15, the House counterpart to the Senate's bipartisan immigration reform bill, deserves a vote. Anything less is a distortion of our democracy.

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What Are You Called to Do?

Krista Connelly  |  March 27, 2014

Around the age of 10 I told my mother I wanted to work for CWS. Seriously, I stared at her and said, “I want to do that when I grow up.” Surely she looked at me and thought “yeah, okay” but little did she know I was called to this work. Was it fate, destiny or pure determination? I honestly don’t know but here I am at 27 years old working for CWS. I was CALLED to do this work.

Every step of the way I strategically made choices so that I could fight hunger with CWS. The college I chose, the degrees I obtained and the volunteering I took part it. Each decision was an integral part in my current career. This path wasn’t easy but it was worth it. When you are called, you know it. It is ingrained in your system. No matter what you do or how much you may fight it, your path is going to take you there. I count my blessings mine took me to CWS.

In 2008 while attending Greensboro College in N.C., I organized my sorority to take part in the Chapel Hill CROP Hunger Walk. I remember it being a VERY long walk. I also remember us getting VERY lost. Weirdly enough we also came in first.

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