You Can Conduct an Offering of Letters Too!
Each year, Bread members write to their members of Congress, advocating for policies that help end hunger in the U.S. and around the world. Conducting an Offering of Letters isn’t rocket science; it just takes a passion to end hunger and a little planning. If you are a first timer, fear not.
"[The] first time I did an Offering of Letters, I was worried people wouldn't understand the issues and what I was asking of them. I was nervous as I started talking, but got it they did,” says Angela Rupchock-Shafer. “Not only did we write letters to our Senators and Representative, we had insightful conversations about the issues while doing so.”
Once you have a date for letter writing on your church calendar, everything you need is in the Offering of Letters Handbook (PDF), on the Offering of Letters website, or a conversation away with your regional organizer. The handbook includes a sample presentation to introduce the Offering to your congregation, and a “nuts and bolts” guide.
Although I’ve seen the minor details of various Offerings of Letters look slightly different -- a hodge-podge of old stationary; fresh baked bread; or a five-minute play to encourage letter writing -- the result is always the same: an offering of our Christian discipleship working as one body to “speak out for those who cannot speak … defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9).
Bread member Ellen Buelow of Albuquerque, NM sees an Offering of Letters as part of God’s work and an opportunity to strengthen the church community, “Several years ago I coordinated Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters for our church. A community gathered together to accomplish God’s work is a mighty force,” she said. “Parishioners wrote with a passion to alleviate hunger and sometimes conveyed their personal experience with hunger. A loving community grew among the letter writers as they found compassion for those living in poverty.”
This year’s Circle of Protection campaign is vital to protecting programs for poor and hungry people, and our voices not only matter -- they make all the difference. As Angela says, "Without our voices raised, and our pens to the paper, some of God's most vulnerable children will lose their lives. Our faith calls on us to love our neighbors as ourselves. If this is not a job for the church, I don't know what is."
Photo caption: Arlene Barela, a mother of two in Orange County, Calif., writes letters to Congress at Templo Calvario (Assembly of God church) in Santa Ana, Calif., on Sunday, October 16, 2011. Photograph by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World
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