Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

23 posts categorized "Hunger Justice Leaders"

Hunger Justice Leaders: Jesus in the Public Square

'Braemar Pulpit View' photo (c) 2011, Charles Clegg - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

When did Jesus speak out on behalf of the poor? He spoke in the synagogue. Jesus preached from a mountain. He addressed the issue with rich and poor. He spoke in small groups of disciples and large crowds. Jesus spoke in public on behalf of poor and hungry people.

Perhaps Jesus heard the call in Proverbs, 31:8-9, to: “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Unfortunately, poverty and hunger persist in the United States. More than 14 percent of American households struggle to put food on the table.

To most effectively combat hunger in the United States, we need all sectors involved. At the National Hunger Free Communities Summit last weekend, people representing the private, public, and nonprofit sectors came together to exchange methods of how to reduce hunger in our communities. Each of these sectors brings important gifts to the table.

If we’re serious about ensuring that our neighbors have access to food, we need to acknowledge and strengthen the role the public sector has to play. Each year, all the charities in the country only provide for 6 percent of the amount of food that poor people receive from federal programs like food stamps and school lunches. If we are to continue preaching good news to the poor, then we need to make sure that our voices are heard by the government that public support for food for hungry people is essential.

Bread for the World has been a voice for poor and hungry people for decades. We invite ministers around the age of Jesus during his ministry (40 years and younger) to join us in June for the 2012 Hunger Justice Leaders Training: From the Pulpit to the Public Sphere. We believe you can walk in Jesus’ footsteps and lead the cause to end hunger in the United States by speaking from the pulpit and in the public square. Join us.  Visit our website to learn more and apply by Friday, March 30.

Kate-hagenKate Hagen is the Hunger Report Project Assistant. Read her conclusion for this year's Hunger Report.


2012 Hunger Justice Leaders: From the Pulpit to the Public Square

120214-pulpitThe pulpit is a familiar place for pastors, ministers, and clergy alike. It is, symbolically, a central piece to worship.  From this dais, we hear the “good news” of the gospel -- the direction and guidance on how to order our steps, thoughts, and actions as we leave church and continue our lives in public. We hear in the gospel of Luke that, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”  Those words spoken and preached from the pulpit have the ability to inspire, move and challenge the congregation towards a fuller life in Christ. True worship and Christian living happens outside the four walls of the church in the application of the gospel message as we preach the good news -- particularly to poor and hungry people -- through our words and actions. 

We live in the world's wealthiest nation, yet 15.1 percent of people living in the United States live in poverty. More than one in five children live in households that struggle to put food on the table. The world is facing a hunger crisis unlike anything it has seen in more than 50 years. Every day, almost 16,000 children around the world die from hunger-related causes. That's one child every five seconds. 

We can end hunger in our time. By making our voices heard in Congress, we can  make our laws more fair and compassionate to people in need.  In Proverbs 31:8-9 , we hear the call to “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  It is time for the next generation of young pastors, ministers, and clergy to be powerful advocates for poor and hungry people and to move from the pulpit to the public square and organize our communities and churches to end hunger.

Bread for the World invites young pastors, ministers, and clergy (35 years old and younger) to apply for the 2012 Hunger Justice Leaders Training from June 9 to 12, 2012 here in Washington, DC. Bread for the World will gather 75 young ministers to partner and learn how they can be powerful advocates and effective leaders in their communities to end hunger here in the states and abroad. This exciting four-day training will include powerful and inspiring speakers, informative workshops, opportunities to network with other like-minded pastors, and an opportunity to advocate and lobby their members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

Click here to apply to be a Hunger Justice Leader.

If you have any questions, please email hjl2012@bread.

Jon-gromekJon Gromek is north central field organizer at Bread for the World.



Photo by Flickr user PortableChurch

Young Leaders on a Mission to Continue Dr. King’s Legacy

120113-MLK1Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is upon us once more and people around the world will celebrate his enduring work and legacy. Most of us are fully aware of his struggle for civil rights by his efforts to transform U.S. domestic policy that perpetuated injustice and inequality. Many of us are less aware of his international advocacy, specifically as it relates to Africa. In fact, Dr. King was just as committed to raising awareness about injustices beyond our shores as in our homeland.

In December 1965, while speaking at Hunter College in New York City, Dr. King addressed apartheid in South Africa and the complex human rights issues facing people of African descent throughout the world. In this address he stated, “We are in an era in which the issue of human rights is the central question confronting all nations. In this complex struggle an obvious but little appreciated fact has gained attention — the large majority of the human race is non-white — yet it is that large majority which lives in hideous poverty. While millions enjoy an unexampled opulence in developed nations, ten thousand people die of hunger each and every day of the year in the undeveloped world.” Sadly, nearly 50 years later, such conditions still exist. 

Dr. King’s work fully embraced the now famous mantra he coined in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Fortunately in 2012 we have seen a surge of young leaders who are following in the footsteps of Dr. King by fighting these injustices. Some are utilizing their voices as advocates for policy change while others have developed creative solutions to address poverty in distant lands. 

Rev. Nicholas S. Richards is one such person. He is the co-founder and president of the Abyssinian Fund, an organization that works to reduce poverty in Ethiopia. Since its inception in 2009, The Abyssinian Fund partners with Ethiopian coffee farmers to help them learn more efficient methods of farming. The training the farmers receive promotes the production of higher quality coffee that they can sell at a premium rate. This effective system helps the farmers and communities improve their livelihood, ultimately leading to poverty reduction. There are also young leaders like Chad Martin based out of Martinsville, VA. As a graduate of Bread for the World’s first Hunger Justice Leaders class in 2008, Chad continues to organize his local community to take action on behalf of hungry and poor people through the power of their voice and pen.

Bread for the World is giving young leaders an opportunity to do the same at the biennial Hunger Justice Leaders event from June 9 to 12, 2012, in Washington, DC. Under the theme, “From the Pulpit to the Public Square,” 75 young ministers and religious leaders will explore the biblical foundations for advocacy, gain skills in community organizing, and connect with like-minded ministers from across the country. They’ll then have a chance to test their skills by advocating on behalf of hungry and poor people at Capitol Hill Lobby Day 2012. To find out how you can continue Dr. King’s legacy through anti-hunger advocacy, visit the Hunger Justice Leaders website and email hjl2012@bread.org.

Derrick-BoykinRev. Derrick Boykin serves as associate for African-American leadership outreach at Bread for the World.


Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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