Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Dr. Barbara Clawson: "We Are Called Upon to Be Faithful"


Dr. Barbara Clawson at the Bread for the World dinner honoring Hunger Justice Leaders. (Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

This profile of Dr. Barbara Clawson comes from Bread's Summer 2012 "Legacy of Hope" newsletter.

Bread for the World founder Art Simon calls Dr. Barbara Clawson “…a doer, one whose call to hunger ministries was shaped by her international experiences.” Indeed, Barbara’s life has been marked by international travel. The longtime Bread for the World member has visited and worked in at least 40 countries, many repeatedly.

“God has blessed me with many opportunities, especially overseas,” she said, “and with good health.” During decades of teaching and mission visits overseas, Dr. Clawson has witnessed global hunger and its effects.

Before she retired, Dr. Clawson worked as a teacher, most recently as a teacher educator at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In her free time, Barbara likes to read and walk. And of course, travel, which she says has afforded her the opportunity to interact personally with people of all types.


Again this year, Dr. Clawson took part in Bread for the World’s annual Lobby Day in June. She also attended a special dinner the night before at which Art Simon, Bread for the World’s president emeritus, helped commission the 60 pastors and church leaders who had received training as Hunger Justice Leaders.

Before traveling to Washington, DC, Dr. Clawson helped organize an Offering of Letters planning meeting at the Lutheran retirement community where she lives in Burlington, NC. Barbara waved off any notion of a burdensome schedule, saying, “We’ve done the Offering of Letters for five or six years now. We keep the planning simple.”

When asked about her most recent Lobby Day experience, Barbara said she found the annual event even more stimulating than usual. “The training provided beforehand is always excellent,” she enthused. “And I enjoy being among people concerned with the same issues I am. But this year, I got to work with two of the young Hunger Justice Leaders, who were so excited about visiting congressional offices.”

When Barbara is asked whether she feels the congressional visits were successful, she carefully formulated her response. “I’m reminded of the words of Frank Dew, my pastor at New Creation Community Presbyterian Church. ‘We are not called upon to be successful; we are called upon to be faithful,’ he says. I know I have been faithful in speaking for hungry people. Remembering this keeps me from being discouraged when specific meetings don’t go the way I want.”

From its founding in the early 1980s, Barbara’s home church, New Creation Community Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, has served as a Bread for the World Covenant Church. “Since I joined Bread, I have been involved at the local level, in my church, and at the National Gathering and Lobby Day,” Barbara told us. She and Pastor Dew serve on a local Bread Team.

Barbara has also made Bread for the World one of the beneficiaries of her estate plan. When asked why, her answer was quick. “Because justice issues are important to me, especially issues of hunger and poverty. Bread for the World is one of the most effective advocacy groups I have ever worked with.”


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