Stafford steps down, hands baton to new leader Mellado

By September 16, 2013

USA (MNN) — One ministry giant spent their Saturday night celebrating a legacy and looking to the future with hope.

(Image courtesy Compassion)

(Image courtesy Compassion)

Wess Stafford led Compassion International for 20 years as President and CEO. Under his leadership, the ministry grew from just over 180,000 children in 22 countries in 1993, to more than 1.4 million children in 26 countries in 2013.

“It is time for me to pass the torch to the next generation of leadership,” Stafford stated in a blog earlier this year. “I feel this is one of those ‘fullness of time’ moments for Compassion.

“The past is a heritage we can all be proud of , grateful for, and continue to build upon. The present is dynamic and strong. And the future is bright — I truly believe that Compassion is poised to take off for its best days yet!”

Stafford celebrated his retirement this weekend with Compassion staff, former President Wally Erickson and Compassion’s new President and CEO, Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado. The event was streamed live online, so donors and child sponsors could join too.

Worship for the event featured emcee Ken Davis and included performers Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James, Geoff Moore, Shaun Groves and Danny Oertli.

“I have not lost any of my passion, vision or drive for Compassion’s cause,” Stafford said in his blog. “I will, of course, continue my ministry to children — writing, speaking, advocating on their behalf.

“But it will be good to slow my pace, spend more time with family, and putdown the corporate leadership load. It feels right.”

Pray for Stafford and his wife Donna as they transition into a new phase of life.

Founded in 1952, Compassion is one of the world’s largest Christian child development agencies. It partners with more than 65 denominations and thousands of local churches to serve needy children worldwide.

Learn more about their work by visiting Compassion’s website.

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