several months ago i posted the majority of a letter i wrote to compassion international in regards to the wording of their sponsor documents. see the post here. after sending in the letter and forwarding it via email to a friend who works at compassion, i was able to speak for about half an hour with mark hanlan, sr. vice president of us donor relations for compassion. we talked about the language and how exclusive it feels to members of the lgbt community and its supporters. he shared his concerns about the language as well, and committed to advocate the rewrite of those documents to remove language about homosexuality, specifically, in favor of more neutral language.
fast-forward to saturday, december 6. while in toronto, i received a phone call from tony jones who was aware of the conversation i had been having with compassion. he was at an event in memphis for emergent village, and spoke to a guy (we shall call him chris) who works for compassion who had just received an email that after several months of heated conversations and dialogue, compassion has rewritten the sponsor documents and removed all language regarding sexuality. there is still language asking sponsors to consider the content of photos and letters that are sent to children (i have not yet read the language myself…this from chris and the 10 minute conversation i was able to have with him), but the language is no longer exclusive of a particular group of people. what chris was able to pass along to me is that they realized the need of children to be cared for is greater than compassion as an organization taking a stand on a particular theological issue.
it honestly took me a few minutes to wrap my brain around the reality of the impact. from my conversation with mark at compassion, i realize that there were probably conversations in the works already, but it seems as if missiongathering’s letter and subsequent conversation sparked some level of action. for me this certainly serves as an encouragement that the winds of change are beginning to blow on a wider scale. there is hope. dialogue is happening. it is only the beginning. ~aroll