Compassion is an international Christian child development and child advocacy ministry. Partnering with local churches, Compassion is committed to the spiritual, economic, social and physical development of children living in extreme poverty in 26 countries, enabling them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

Compassion’s work began in South Korea in 1952 when American evangelist Rev Everett Swanson felt compelled to help 35 children orphaned by the Korean conflict.

Today it has a worldwide ministry where over one million children are now reaping the benefits of one man’s clear, God-given vision.

Swanson was inspired by Matthew 15:32 where Jesus says, ‘I have compassion for these people – I do not want to send them away hungry’ (NIV).

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Compassion at St. Luke’s

St Lukes Methodist Church Compassion Graphic

A few years ago, St. Luke’s decided to help with the Compassion project in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and now more than 50 children are sponsored by church members, who contribute £25 per month to assist each child.

Compassion Ethiopia started in 1993 and now has more than 80,000 children registered in 340 church-based child development centres. These child development centres (CDC) are dispersed across the nation in a variety of rural and urban settings and one such centre is located at the Kera Birhane Wongel Church in sprawling Addis Ababa. Many of the children sponsored by our members are based here and representatives from St. Luke’s have visited Ethiopia on two occasions in recent years, to see the project at first hand.

The Kera Birhane Wongel CDC is in area of the capital city suffering from extreme poverty, where children as young as nine are often required to begin work as shoe shiners and street vendors. Within this desperate area of need, the local church remains a beacon of hope, and thanks to the support of the child sponsors, many of the children of the area now have access to education, healthcare, food, clothing and social care.

Jesus Christ is at the heart of Compassion’s ministry. Each of the sponsored children is given the opportunity to learn about Jesus and to develop a lifelong relationship with God for themselves. This good news is modelled and shared in age-appropriate and culturally relevant ways – never by coercion.

Compassion’s ministry is focused on the individual child and his or her development. By working holistically with individual children to address their spiritual, economic, social and physical needs, we present every child with an opportunity to become fulfilled Christian adults.

What happens in the life of a child ripples throughout their environment now and in the future. We believe that changed environments may assist children, but transformed children will inevitably change their environments.

For details of the child sponsorship programme, go to or speak with the Minister or one of the Leadership Team at St. Luke’s.