Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

25 posts categorized "Hunger Justice Leaders"

Come With Us To Capitol Hill! #BreadRising

Photo by Flickr user  timlewisnm

Normally over the weekend, Bread for the World's Washington, DC, offices are quiet and vacant, but not this weekend.  This weekend the sounds of worship and action will fill our halls as we host the 2012 Hunger Justice Leaders: From the Pulpit to the Public Square.

Starting this Saturday, June 9, 75 young religious leaders will participate in a three-day anti-hunger advocacy training with Bread staff. Workshops will include learning the root causes of hunger, how to do an Offering of Letters in your congregation, exploring the biblical basis for justice, and using social media to influence Congress -- just to name a few.

You can follow along through our social media channels (Find Bread on Facebook and Twitter). Participants and staff will be tweeting using the hashtag #BreadRising.  Join us, ask questions, and encourage these young leaders with notes of support.  If you are not on Twitter, we will be posting a few updates on our Facebook account and of course will be doing roundups of all the action here on the Bread Blog.

Finally, Bread’s annual Lobby Day is on Tuesday, June 12. Participants will be posting pictures of their meetings with Congress as they deliver the petitions that many of you signed telling Congress that churches alone cannot be solely responsible for feeding hunger people.

Even if you are not in DC for Lobby Day, your voice is needed and powerful.  Call your senator and representatives on Tuesday and ask them to create a circle of protection around funding for programs that are vital to hungry and poor people in the U.S. and around the world. Check out our blog Tuesday for the latest updates.

You can even go one step further and help us make sure that as the budget is negotiated, issues that affect people who are poor and hungry are part of the national dialogue.  Most members of Congress have a presence on Facebook and Twitter.  Let them know you care about these issues. For example if you are from Oregon you might tweet:

Dear @SenJeffMerkley please create a #circleofprotection around funding for programs that are vital to hungry and poor people #BreadRising

As one united body with many hands, #BreadRising will be heard throughout our nation’s capital.

Robin-stephensonRobin Stephenson is regional organizer at Bread for the World.



Pastor Smith Goes to Washington

120516-jimstewartFew people can forget the iconic 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It is the story of Jefferson Smith, an idealistic, principled young man who is appointed to represent his home state in Washington, DC. When Mr. Smith arrives at Congress, however, he quickly finds those principles and ideals challenged. His fellow Senators dismiss and try to silence him, but in the end, through courage and tenacity he stands his ground and holds true to his principles. In doing so, he provides a much needed prophetic voice to the representatives of the people, reminding them of their responsibility to serve others.

From June 9 to 12, more than 70 young pastors, ministers, and clergy will gather in Washington, DC, for Hunger Justice Leaders 2012: From the Pulpit to the Public Square -- a powerful training that will help attendees develop their own prophetic voice to urge our nation’s decision makers to end hunger here and abroad. Through a special partnership and covenant with Bread for the World, this year’s Hunger Justice Leaders will be provided with expert training, inspiring speakers and worship, spiritually sustaining fellowship, and unique opportunities to visit the White House and to lobby their members of Congress!

Proverbs 31:8, 9 tells us 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.” We can end hunger in our time, but it will take faith and political will to make it happen. It will take the work of faith leaders, stepping from the pulpit to the public square, to organize, advocate, and follow in the tradition of the prophets to build a movement across our country.

This June, dozens of faith leaders begin that journey and work with Bread for the World. "Pastor” Smith is coming to Washington.

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



Photo caption: Cropped screenshot of James Stewart from the trailer for the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

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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