Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

80 posts categorized "Faith"

Praying for Change and Being Changed

Prayer_wave
Those in Washington, D.C., gathered in the Capitol building on Dec. 10 to participate in the wave of prayer. Three members of Congress attended the brief prayer service, even though the federal government was shut down due to a snowstorm that day (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).

Hundreds of thousands of Christians in the United States – and many more throughout the world – prayed for an end to hunger on Dec. 10 as part of an international "wave of prayer" led by Bread for the World and other organizations fighting hunger.

"We are in front of a global scandal of around one billion people…one billion people who still suffer from hunger today. We cannot look the other way and pretend that this does not exist. The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone," said Pope Francis in a video that the Vatican released on the eve of the day of prayer.

The day of prayer came at a critical time, with Congress considering deeper cuts to SNAP (formerly food stamps), the most successful anti-hunger program in the United States. Cuts that took effect on Nov. 1 are already taking away approximately 10 million meals a day that would have fed working poor Americans and families struggling to lift themselves out of the recession. This loss is more than all the food charity that churches and food banks provide.

"We prayed to God for the end of hunger, which is clearly possible in our time. We asked God to guide Congress and to deepen our own commitment," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

"The global wave of prayer changed my own prayer life, and I hope that many Bread for the World members will continue to pray on an ongoing basis for the end of hunger," continued Beckmann. "I have found it helpful to ask for the end of hunger every time I say, 'Give us this day our daily bread.'"

Bread heard about Pope Francis’ plans to encourage a global wave of prayer to end hunger from some of Bread’s board members with ties to Catholic leaders in the United States and the Vatican. After consulting with Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bread reached out to other Christian and interfaith leaders, encouraging them to involve their members in the day of prayer.

At least 17 religious denominations and organizations urged their members to engage in prayer on Dec. 10. This included the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Salvation Army, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), American Jewish World Service, Willow Creek Church, the Islamic Society of North America, the Salvation Army, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, American Baptist Churches, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

Despite a snowstorm that closed federal government offices in the Washington, D.C., area on Dec. 10, Bread and its partners in the Circle of Protection came together in a brief prayer service in the Capitol. Three members of Congress participated.

Although it is not known how many people around the world prayed that day for an end to hunger, the event garnered nearly 159 million media impressions in the U.S. articles that appeared in the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, The Hill, Catholic News Service, and Reuters.

In addition, 7,222 Christians sent emails to their members of Congress asking them to protect funding for hungry and poor people.

"We must empower the poor to shape their own destinies. We need the voice and moral force that Pope Francis – and leaders from all the world's faiths – can provide," wrote Dr. Jim Yong Kim in a blog post after Bread reached out to him for the event. "We need all of you. Together, we can build a global movement to end poverty."

The Dec. 10 prayer wave was the launching event of the "One Human Family, Food for All" campaign of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 164 Roman Catholic charities working in 200 countries. The 15-month campaign focuses on the right to food, with an advocacy goal of having the United Nations call a special session on the topic. 

[This article originally appeared in the January edition of the Bread for the World newsletter.]

Join Pope Francis in Prayer Today at Noon

Woman-prayingBy David Beckmann

The day has come! A multitude of Catholics rallied by Caritas Internationalis and millions of other Christians and people of other faiths around the world are raising their voices in a "wave of prayer" today at noon (local time in every time zone) to end hunger.

Pope Francis has released a message in support of this worldwide effort. We hope his words will inspire you to join this prayer wave!

Would you join us today at noon? Pray individually or ask others to join you.

Today a clear and loud message of ending hunger in our time will rise to God. Hopefully it will also touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders in Congress when they are finalizing — at this very moment — a decision on the farm bill and harmful cuts to nutrition programs. At this critical time, they need to hear from you.

After you pray, please take action and call (800-326-4941) or email your members of Congress. Tell them not to cut SNAP (formerly food stamps), but to take actions that will help end hunger in our country and around the world.

If you need a prayer for this occasion, consider the prayers — from various Christian traditions — we have assembled at www.bread.org/prayerwave.

Together in prayer we can change the world.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

WATCH: Pope Francis' Message for Dec. 10 Prayer Wave

Today, Pope Francis issued a video message in support of the Dec. 10 "wave of prayer" to end global hunger.

Caritas Internationalis is calling on people around the world to pray tomorrow, at noon local time. This prayer wave across time zones will mark the beginning of a campaign for Roman Catholic-related charities, called "One Human Family, Food for All." In his video, Pope Francis gave his the campaign his blessing and said that people across the globe must come together to end the scourge of hunger. 

“I invite all the institutions of the world, the church, each of us, as one single human family, to give a voice to all those who suffer silently from hunger, so that this voice becomes a road which can shake the world," the pope says in the video.

Members of the Circle of Protection, and other faith leaders, will participate in the prayer wave tomorrow by holding a prayer service at the U.S. Capitol (Room H-137) at 12 noon ET.  For those outside of the Washington, D.C.-area, join other Christians and people of other faiths by taking a moment to pray tomorrow at noon, your local time. Visit bread.org/prayerwave for more information and prayer resources.

Praying into 2014

Mountain_in_guatemala

By Rev. David Beckmann

I invite you to join Bread for the World and our partners in the Circle of Protection in supporting Caritas Internationalis’ new campaign to end hunger, which is endorsed by Pope Francis. They are calling for people to pray at noon on Dec. 10 in each time zone, starting in Samoa and proceeding west in a “wave of prayer” as the day goes on.

Here in Washington D.C., we will gather to pray inside the U.S. Capitol (Room H-137). We have invited members of Congress and our partners in the Circle of Protection to join us in this prayer event. I ask you pray with us at noon in your time zone to end hunger. You can pray in whatever faith tradition you have, or chose from one of the prayers we have provided online at www.bread.org/prayerwave.

This wave of prayer comes at a critical time when there will most likely be a vote on the fiscal year 2014 budget, the farm bill, and possible additional cuts to SNAP (formerly food stamps). The House of Representatives will recess for the holidays on Dec. 13, while the Senate recesses on Dec. 20.

As we pray for an end to hunger, we also give thanks for the victories we have achieved in a year when Congress is so polarized that it resulted in a government shutdown.

Together with our partners, we have maintained a circle of protection around programs vital to hungry and poor people. Despite the continuing push to cut federal funds for poor people, our last analysis indicates these cuts amount to only a small fraction of $2.5 trillion in cuts the House of Representatives has been pushing  in the last two and a half years. (We will have a full estimate by the end of this Congress.)

No matter what the actual amount is, we could not have done this without your support and advocacy and the active participation of our partners in the Circle of Protection (www.circleofprotection.us). The Circle represents 65 heads of denominations, relief and development agencies, and other Christian organizations, plus more than 5,000 other pastors and church workers. It includes our brethren at Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and the United States of Conference of Catholic Bishops who have been supportive of our desire to join them in the Dec. 10 wave of prayer to end hunger.   

We also give thanks this Advent that hunger and poverty is back on President Barack Obama’s radar — thanks in part to the petitions you sent him. Earlier this week, he delivered a major address on providing more opportunity for low-income and struggling Americans.

The program of action that President Obama outlined in the speech is consistent with our recommendations in the 2014 Hunger ReportEnding Hunger in America (www.hungerreport.org). However, we reminded him that low-income Americans cannot climb the ladder of opportunity that he is promoting if one of the critical parts of the safety net that undergirds the ladder – SNAP – is in shreds.

During this Advent, we also give thanks for the continuing exodus from hunger globally, with the numbers down to 842 million people experiencing chronic hunger. According to the United Nations, that is 1 in 8 people globally.

This achievement is, in part, due to our government’s leadership of international efforts to strengthen agricultural investments in poor countries and ensuring better nutrition for mothers and children.

Your advocacy helped convince our government to pledge $10 billion through fiscal year 2014 toward eliminating malnutrition among women and children in the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday — and it promised to continue funding nutrition programs at this level beyond 2014.

This Advent, we also give thanks for the opportunities and challenges that God has given us in 2014. We look forward to implementing our 2014-2016 plan, the first in a series of plans to implement our long-term vision and plan. This includes celebrating our achievements in the last 40 years at our annual National Gathering( June 9 and 10, 2014 at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, D.C.) and launching our 2014 Offering of Letters, focused on reforming U.S. food aid.

Lastly, during this Advent we give thanks to God for you — for your persistent advocacy, your steadfast support, and your unwavering faith that we can end hunger. Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!

Rev. David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

Photo: Night sets over Antigua Guatemala at the Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross).

Fostering a Culture of Solidarity to End Hunger

Woman_in_Sudan_prayingBy Allie Gardner

On Oct. 16, in observance of World Food Day, Pope Francis sent a message to the director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), urging the FAO and the people of the world to recognize the “scandal” that is world hunger. “Hunger and malnutrition can never be considered a normal occurrence that we should become used to, as if it were part of the system,” Pope Francis wrote in his message.

The Pope cited a global culture of consumerism and waste as contributing to the “globalization of indifference that is slowly making us get used to the suffering of others as though it were a normal thing," and asked that we counteract this by educating ourselves in solidarity and humanity. "To build a society that is truly human means to always put the person and his/her dignity at the center," he wrote.

Tomorrow, Dec. 10, Bread for the World is joining Pope Francis in supporting a global "prayer wave" to end hunger. Organized by Caritas Internationalis, this wave of prayer is being supported by hundreds of Christian organizations across the globe. In Washington D.C., Bread for the World , and other faith leaders from the Circle of Protection will lead a prayer service on the East Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at noon. Please take a moment tomorrow, at noon in your time zone, to pray — individually, in a small group, or at your church.

This wave of prayer comes at a particularly critical time in our country. Congress is finalizing a  farm bill and cuts to nutrition programs that will impact millions of families that struggle to put food on the table. After you pray tomorrow, we ask that you call (800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress and ask them to vote against cuts to SNAP (food stamps) and take actions that will help end hunger in our country and around the world. Help us fight indifference toward suffering in the world and foster a culture of solidarity where we make sure all are fed, be they next door, in the next state, or on the next continent.  

Allie Gardner is a media relations intern at Bread for the World.

Loaves and Fishes

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Caritas Internationalis is calling on people around the world to pray at noon local time for an end to global hunger. This "wave of prayer" across time zones will mark the beginning of a campaign for Roman Catholic-related charities, called "One Human Family, Food for All."

In the United States, Bread for the World is urging its members to join other Christians and people of other faiths in this wave of prayer, which is supported by Pope Francis. Please plan to pray — individually, in small groups, in community gatherings, at your church — on Dec. 10 at noon.

Below is a prayer you might consider praying at noon on Dec. 10. Prayers from several other faith traditions are available at bread.org/prayerwave.

Loaves and Fishes

By Education for Justice

Sharing the loaves and fishes,
You gave us an image of solidarity with the hungry, O Lord.

Sharing yourself in the Bread and Wine,
You called all to the table, O Lord.

Give me the hunger to be a part of the feeding
And the healing of this world.

Nourish me with your Grace,
So I may work with joy to serve your children.

Open my eyes and my heart
To recognize those in poverty
And increase my awareness 
Of the structures and systems
That need to be changed 
So we may all break bread together.

In your name we pray for the end of hunger.
Amen.

Photo: A fisherman shows off his catch by the beach in Mexico (Margie Nea).

"For Those Who Today Sit at Tables Empty of Bread"

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Caritas Internationalis is calling on people around the world to pray at noon local time for an end to global hunger. This "wave of prayer" across time zones will mark the beginning of a campaign for Roman Catholic-related charities, called "One Human Family, Food for All."

In the United States, Bread for the World is urging its members to join other Christians and people of other faiths in this wave of prayer, which is supported by Pope Francis. Please plan to pray — individually, in small groups, in community gatherings, at your church — on Dec. 10 at noon.

Below is a prayer you might consider praying at noon on Dec. 10. Prayers from several other faith traditions are available at bread.org/prayerwave.

Dear God, whose eye is large,
Abundant life
Feels out of reach for those who today sit at tables empty of bread
Looking into children’s eyes, knowing tummies rumble with hunger.

Loving God, whose compassion includes all God’s creatures,
Abundant life
Seems elusive for those who today walk miles to find water
and walk the same miles to bring it back home,
sloshing in containers atop craned backs, and necks, and heads,
only to do the same thing again tomorrow.

Merciful God, whose kindness extends to people everywhere,
Abundant life
Feels distant to those who worry today desperately about what their children will wear or how they will find enough money for pencils, paper, book bags, simple supplies for school.

Just God, who sees how things really are,
Abundant life
Is falling down around us with huge inequities,
Piling up in some places where some have too much,
And can’t keep up with throwing the excess away.
And being pervasively absent in others,
Day after day, month after month, year after year.

Have mercy on us. Have mercy on us.
And in your mercy,
Make the mountains low and the valleys high.
Make the rough places smooth.
Open our eyes
To see what abundant life really means
And how we can deliberately choose to live so that
Abundant life is tangibly available to all.

Amen. 

Baptist prayer from Kenya

Photo: Mary, 3, plays in the trees near her home in Kamuli, Uganda (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World).

Prayer for a Hungry "Stranger"

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Caritas Internationalis is calling on people around the world to pray at noon local time for an end to global hunger. This "wave of prayer" across time zones will mark the beginning of a campaign for Roman Catholic-related charities, called "One Human Family, Food for All."

In the United States, Bread for the World is urging its members to join other Christians and people of other faiths in this wave of prayer, which is supported by Pope Francis. Please plan to pray — individually, in small groups, in community gatherings, at your church — on Dec. 10 at noon.

Below is a prayer you might consider praying at noon on Dec. 10. Prayers from several other faith traditions are available at bread.org/prayerwave.

Prayer for a Hungry "Stranger"

By Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy

Lord Jesus Christ, Giver of abundant love,
guidance and protection,
our hearts are filled with gratitude.

Your love empowers us to do your will,
to be your hands and feet in this world,
for your purpose.
Your grace enables us to recognize injustice
and to partner in the restoration of brokenness in our
own lives and of unjust systems.

There is hunger and poverty in our world
that displaces our brothers and sisters from their homes and homelands.
Lord Jesus, we seek your shelter and protection.

Migrant workers harvest the food on our tables yet suffer
unsafe labor conditions and empty cupboards.
Lord Jesus, we imagine your harvest
to be rich and plentiful for all people
and that all people are fed and have a place at the table.

The decisions of lawmakers in this nation impact
the flourishing of millions children created in your image.
Lord Jesus, may we witness a change in this nation’s priorities so that
hunger is no longer acceptable. 
May we see the dignity
of every person upheld, especially their right to food.

Lord Jesus, may we be strengthened by your example
to welcome the stranger, love our neighbor and feed the hungry
so that our brothers and sisters everywhere will flourish.

Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy leads national evangelical church relations at Bread for the World.

Photo: A migrant worker piles cucumbers in Blackwater, Virginia, on the farm of Ricky Horton and Sherilyn Shepard on Monday, July 25, 2011(Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World).

Join the Global Wave of Prayer to End Hunger


Service at Our Lady of Assumption (Notre Dame de l'Assumption) Church in Petit Goave, Haiti, on Sunday, October 10, 2010 (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World).

By David Beckmann

Exciting news! Pope Francis is supporting a global wave of prayer to end hunger. On Dec. 10, people are asked to pray at noon local time in what will become a wave of prayer across time zones. We hope that not only Catholics, but also other Christians will join this faith-filled effort to end hunger in the United States and around the world.

This could be a means by which God touches many, many hearts — and perhaps moves our nation to get serious about hunger and poverty.

We at Bread know you have been praying for the past few weeks, at our urging, as Congress has been debating important hunger-related legislation. This day of prayer is an opportunity for us as Bread members to join our prayers with the prayers of others from Guatemala to Tanzania and every place in between — prayers that are all asking for the same thing.

Please also encourage others in your church to join you in prayer on the 10th, or encourage your church to include prayers or to do something else for ending hunger during your worship this Sunday the 8th. Please consider joining Bread staff on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at noon on Dec. 10 for prayers asking Congress to end hunger.

This wave of prayer comes at a particularly critical time in our country. Congress will be finalizing a decision on the farm bill and the harmful cuts to nutrition programs that will impact millions of families that struggle to put a plate of food on the table.

Please call (800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress today. These simple acts can make the difference. Tell them not to cut SNAP (formerly food stamps) but to take actions that will help end hunger in our country and around the world.

As you prepare for Dec. 10, consider the prayer resources — from various Christian traditions — we have assembled for the day at www.bread.org/prayerwave. Caritas Internationalis, the lead organization for the event, has prepared a special prayer for the day, but feel free to use a prayer appropriate to your own tradition.

Thank you for adding your voice to this global call for prayer and faithful action to end hunger!

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

Filling the Hungry With Good Things: December's Bread for the Preacher

Woman_prayingDid you know that each month the church relations department at Bread for the World produces a resource specifically for pastors? Whether you are searching for inspiration for a sermon you're writing, or just a lectionary enthusiast, Bread for the Preacher is for you.

After reading this introduction, explore this month’s readings on the Bread for the Preacher web page, where you can also sign up to have the resource emailed to you each month.

By Rev. Gary Cook

On the third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 15), the Gospel lesson is Mary's song of praise to the God who "has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty." My Advent prayer is that our nation's policies will reflect the same priorities and that Congress will not be voting that week to further cut food stamp benefits for families struggling to feed their children.

Pope Francis will help launch a call for the whole world to pray on the preceding Tuesday, Dec. 10, for an end to hunger. He is supporting Caritas Internationalis in asking people to pray at noon local time in what will become a global "wave of prayer" across time zones. I hope you will encourage your members to join Pope Francis in this prayer (see the text of the prayer here). Please put the date on your calendar now. (Some churches are planning to include prayers related to the Dec. 10 day of prayer in their services on the preceding Sunday, Dec. 8.) As the day approaches, you will find prayer resources from various Christian traditions at www.bread.org.

As you pray — and as you preach this Advent — remember the ones whom Mary knew God would not forget. May the hungry be filled with good things.

Rev. Gary Cook is director of church relations at Bread for the World.

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