Church World Service was born in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II. A number of denominations came together to form an agency "to do in partnership what none of us could hope to do as well alone." The mission: Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, comfort the aged, shelter the homeless.
Development begins at the grassroots. CWS recognized early on that to be successful the projects and programs must come from the people themselves, not be imposed by others.
Church World Service sought out local agencies, often Christian councils, who share this vision of empowering self-help; and, long-standing partnerships were forged.
Millions of people worldwide live on the edge of subsistence, at the will of fragile economies, struggling to escape the crushing grip of poverty and powerlessness. And, millions more have fled their home countries due to a well-founded fear of persecution. It is with and for these people that Church World Service exists. We carry out our work in these major program areas.
The CWS also helps vulnerable people and communities prepare for and recover from natural and human-caused disaster. CWS addresses long-term physical, psychological and spiritual recovery, and helps communities develop strategies for the future. To do this CWS engages its member communions and others to join in disaster preparedness, mitigation and response. When disaster strikes, whether in the U.S. or around the world, CWS encourages the faith community to join together so that the most vulnerable families and individuals receive the assistance they need.
Partnership is the key. Given the opportunity, people the world over can have the strength and knowledge to take the lead in addressing their own challenges. So, one of the best ways to help is to listen... to learn... and to share resources appropriate to people’s needs. Building partner relationships around the world, as well as here in the U.S., is a hallmark of Church World Service. In partnership, we are engaging councils of churches across the U.S. and worldwide to bring new commitment and vitality to ecumenical mission, and we are nurturing interfaith dialogue and cooperation, essential to our work in the 21st century.
The church focuses on a unique mission each month that serves different aspects of our society.