Wednesday, October 01, 2014

An Abundance of Love: A Retreat for Our Busy Lives

On the first day of October, I would like to share this wonderful resource from the Jesuit ministry  Loyola Press: The Daily 3-Minute Retreat. Take a short prayer break right at your computer. Spend some quiet time reflecting on a Scripture passage. Knowing that not everyone prays at the same pace, you have control over the pace of the retreat. After each screen, a Continue button will appear. Click it when you are ready to move on. If you are new to online prayer, the basic timing of the screens will guide you through the experience.  


Here is a retreat entitled An Abundance of  Love

As you prepare for this retreat, pause for a few moments and begin to relax. Take several deep breaths and rest in the loving presence of  God.


Other wonderful retreats: A Peaceful Heart, Restoring Our Souls, A Heart Seeking Goodness and Several Others

You can receive daily e-mail reminders on your desktop and on your mobile device

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

UN: World Hunger is on the Decline, but there is Still a Lot of Work Ahead

On Sept. 16, the UN released its State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014. This report can be viewed in two different ways: either the glass is half empty or the glass is half full. (Should we examine whether  the water in the glass is clean? That's another discussion).

First, the good news. The number of hungry people decline globally by more than 100 million over the last decade and by 209 million since 1990-92.

"The overall trend in hunger reduction in developing countries means that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of undernourished people by 2015 is within reach, 'if appropriate and immediate efforts are stepped up'. Sixty three countries have reached the hunger target of the Millennium Development Goals, MDG1, to halve the proportion of chronically undernourished people in developing countries by 2015., the report said.

To date, 63 developing countries have reached the MDG target, and six more are on track to reach it by 2015.  "In fact, the prevalence of undernourishment has fallen in developing countries from 23.4 to 13.5 percent – and from 18.7 to 11.3 percent globally,"said an FAO news summary .

Still, the glass is half full. So what's the not-so-good news? Despite advances in agriculture, a growth in the global economy and increased technological expertise, there are still 805 million people in the world who are chronically undernourished.. This means  that one in nine residents of the planet  suffer from hunger.

Zero Hunger featured at the UN General Assembly meeting in September
Zero Hunger Challenge
This brings us to the Zero Hunger Challenge campaign, which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched in June 2012. The campaign remains a centerpiece of the UN's anti-hunger efforts.

"Hunger can be eliminated in our lifetimes This requires comprehensive efforts to ensure that every man, woman and child enjoy their Right to Adequate Food; women are empowered; priority is given to family farming; and food systems everywhere are sustainable and resilient," said the UN.


The challenge of Zero Hunger means:
  • Zero stunted children less than 2 years
  • 100% access to adequate food all year round
  • All food systems are sustainable
  • 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income
  • Zero loss or waste of food
"Eliminating hunger involves investments in agriculture, rural development, decent work, social protection and equality of opportunity," said the UN. "It will make a major contribution to peace and stability and to the reduction of poverty. It will contribute to better nutrition for all – especially women from the beginning of pregnancy and children under the age of two." 

Follow the ongoing campaign o via the official Zero Hunger Challenge Twitter site

Greta Verburg, ambassador/permanent representative to the Rome-based UN Agencies: FAO/WFP and IFAD, also provides regular updates via photographs, graphics, maps and videos  posted  on Twitter

Here is one example:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

MSF Video: Physician Assistant Talks About Ebola Crisis in Liberia



Speaking from Monrovia via live video link, Liberian Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) physician's assistant Jackson Niamah addresses the UN Security Council during an emergency session on the Ebola crisis in West Africa.  Here is the Text of his address

Also, Pierre Trbovic, an anthropologist from Belgium working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), arrived in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, in late August 2014 to help with MSF’s response to the Ebola epidemic.

An Impossible Choice
MSF has mobilized all available resources to combat the spread of the disease and opened a host of case management centers in affected countries. But given the mounting caseload and the failure of the international community to launch the sort of massive, coordinated response that’s needed to prevent more misery, teams have been forced into the brutal position of having to turn away patients who clearly need care. Trbovic saw firsthand how overwhelmed health staff were as sick people were queuing in the street, and he found himself taking on the heart-wrenching job of turning people away.

For the first three days that I stood at the gate, it rained hard. People were drenched, but they carried on waiting because they had nowhere else to go.

The first person I had to turn away was a father who had brought his sick daughter in the trunk of his car. He was an educated man, and he pleaded with me to take his teenage daughter, saying that while he knew we couldn’t save her life, at least we could save the rest of his family from her. At that point I had to go behind one of the tents to cry. I wasn’t ashamed of my tears, but I knew I had to stay strong for my colleagues; if we all started crying, we’d really be in trouble.

Read Trbovic's piece dated Sept. 10, 2014, entitled Ebola: Impossible Choices in Liberia

Friday, September 26, 2014

For Bread for the World members in New Mexico, 40 is Also Really 30

Local members celebrated Bread's 20th birthday in 1995
You might have seen reports that 50 is America's favorite age. And some entertainers and other prominent personalities  have gone as far as to suggest that 50 is the new 30. Bread for the World is not quite 50 yet, but our beloved organization turned 40 this year. And I wouldn't try to make Bread any younger! Our milestone birthday means that we have a 40-year track record of advocating for policies to reduce hunger and poverty in our country and around the world. That is really a major source of pride!

A state coordinator in 1984
Brother Jim Brown at local 35th anniversary celebration
For Bread for the World members in New Mexico, however, 40 is really 30. In this case, we are celebrating both 40 and 30 (and not 30 instead of 40). You might not know that Bread for the World has been around in New Mexico for at least 30 years. There were Bread members here since the the 1970s, but 1984 was the first year we had any organized presence. Jim Brown, a member of the Christian Brothers from Santa Fe, agreed  to coordinate Bread activities shortly after he returned to New Mexico from Louisiana in 1984. In this role, Brother Jim encouraged groups in New Mexico to communicate and gather where possible. (That was a more difficult task in the days before Smartphones, Facebook and the current sophisticated versions of email).

An organized group in Albuquerque in 1989
Howard Corry (third from left) moderated candidate forum
The first recorded organized gathering of Bread members in Albuquerque took place on Saturday morning, April 15, 1989, when a group  of Bread members decided to form a chapter in the First Congressional District. According  to Lutheran Campus Pastor Howard Corry, a former campus pastor at the University of New Mexico and the first district coordinator for the Albuquerque area, local members started to gather monthly at Central United Methodist Church to write letters and discuss Bread-related issues. The meetings were  a launching point for an even more important task. " Everyone was urged to get their local church to conduct an offering of letters," said Rev. Corry.

Please join us on Saturday, October 25, to learn more (and see pictures) of how Bread for the World evolved in Albuquerque and elsewhere in New Mexico since 1984 and 1989. Below are details of our event, which like the national celebration in June will also highlight the Bread Rising campaign.  Please be sure  to register.


    Bread Rising 40th Anniversary Booklet

       Mark Your Calendars!
Bread Rising in New Mexico
Saturday, October 25
St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
5301 Ponderosa Ave. NE (Map)
3:30 p.m.

Click Here to Register 

Program
Prelude Song: Bread for the World (by Marty Haugen)
Welcome- Patty Emord (St. Andrew Presbyterian Church)

Call to Prayer  Rev. Gene Gries (Norbertine Community)
Song: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

Bread History/Flickr Slide Show -Carlos Navarro
Song: Pan de Vida

Reflection on Pray
Isaiah 55:6-11
Anne Morawski  (Luther House)
An Invitation to Continue to Pray
 (David Miner, Bread board member from Indianapolis)
Song Prayer of St. Francis

Reflection on Act
Matthew 25:34-40
[With contributions from Brother Jim Brown (Christian Brothers) and others]
An Invitation to Continue to Act
Ellen Buelow (Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community)
Song Here I Am

Reflection on Give
Luke 9:12-17
John Foley (Mesa View United Methodist Church)
An Invitation to Continue to Give
Joanne Nazarian (Bread Staff)
Song: Now Thank We All Our God 

Reflection on Looking Forward/Ending Hunger by 2030
Psalm 145
Erik Medina (First Congregational Church)
Song: Lift Every Voice  and Sing

Closing Song Bread for the World (by Marty Haugen) 

Benediction: Karen Cobb (St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church)

Short Reception

(Musicians: Rev. Steve Miller, Terese Bridges, Erik Medina, Sister Joan Brown and others) 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Tennesee ONE Advocate (and Bread for the World Board Member) Joins in Video Message to World Leaders at United Nations This Week


People had 24 hours to submit a video response, which we turned into a crowdsourced film to be presented to world leaders at the UN this week. Hundreds of activists from Nepal to Kenya, India to Italy, the US and the UK, submitted video responses, including ONE advocate (and Bread for the World board member) Elaine VanCleave from Nashville, Tenn., Mashable founder Pete Cashmore,actor and activist Idris Elba, who recently starred in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Each vowed to stay in the fight against extreme poverty and help all people live in dignity. (Note: Elaine is  the very first person who appears in this video!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CLNKids Invites You to Silver Anniversary Event on Saturday, Oct. 4

Cuidando Los Niños opened its doors 25 years ago with the mission to help children and families experiencing homelessness. The organizaiton, which is now called CLNKids, is marking a quarter-of-a-century anniversary with a special event on Saturday, October 4, to celebrate its work, its partners and the support of the public.

The Silver Anniversary celebration, which will be held at Las Puertas, 1512 1st St NW in Albuquerque (map), also provides an opportunity to increase awareness in our community of the issues of homelessness and the critical role organizations like CLNkids play in assisting children and families struggling to break the cycle of homelessness.

Tickets for 25 Years of Opening Doors: Lunchbox Auction & Cocktail Event are $75 each and available online or can be purchased at the door on the day of the event.

The celebration will feature food and drink from popular eateries and brew pubs in Albuquerque, including Range Cafe, Slate Street Cafe, Nexus Brewery, M-Tucci's Kuchina, Standard Diner, Bosque Brewery and many others.

Several  individuals and companies have donated lunch at one or more prominent restaurants for the Lunchbox Auction.  Click here for more details.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sen. Martin Heinrich Co-Sponsors Energize Africa Act of 2014

ONE volunteers at UNM
On Sept. 17, the Energize Africa Act of 2014 (SB 2508) gained three new co-sponsors in the Senate, including our own Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. The two other new co-sponsors who signed on to the bill that day were Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Sen. Christopher Murphy of Connecticut., The measure requires the Administration to develop a comprehensive, multi-year strategy to achieve energy access goal in sub-Saharan Africa. Televison host Andrew Zimmern tells you more in this blog post.

The list of 22 sponsors of the Senate measure includes its lead sponsor, Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Johnny Isaakson of  Georgia,  Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Sen. Christopher Coons  of  Delaware. (Sens. Corker and Coons are also the lead sponsors of the Food for Peace Reform Act of 2014 (SB 2421),  a bipartisan initiative that provides needed flexibility to deliver food aid, making the program more efficient).

Sens. Heinrich, Schumer, and Murphy signed on to SB2508, partly in thanks to the efforts of the 13 Power Project winners, AKA "Power Trippers", selected among volunteers around the country because of their active work on behalf of ONE. The Power Trippers visited Senate offices during the third week of September to seek support for the Energize Africa Act.

While none of the 13 volunteers came from New Mexico, some of  the 44,000 messages they delivered to Senate offices came from our state. I'm sure their efforts to bring Sen. Heinrich on board were also supported by dozens of letters obtained by the ONE chapter at the University of New Mexico and the countless emails from ONE supporters in our state during the summer..

So what's the next step?  ONE advocates around the country will continue  efforts to bring the other 78 senators on board (including Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico) as co-sponosrs before  the measure comes to the Senate floor for a vote.  The companion measure  in the House, HR 2538, was approved by an overwhelming margin  last spring (with the support of Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Lujan).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Witness to Albuquerque About Climate Change

It was almost like having a big party on Saturday morning. There were about 400 of our friends the Albuquerque Climate Pilgrimage:Connecting the Dots, and some were not necessarily people I knew--just kindred spirits.

As we crossed the street, we got a few thumbs up and approving honks(I think they were approving)  from motorists passing by. One woman standing at the entrance to one of the public garages took time to read as many signs as she could.

And then it struck me that it's going to take more than just the 400 who started on the corner of Copper and Sixth St. to address the problems caused by climate change.  We need to get all of society behind this effort. We al --I mean not just you and I personally, but all of society--need to drive less (and I took the bus to the pilgrimage this morning), and put pressure on our government  to cut our carbon footprint.

Solidarity with Big March in New York City
Sister Joan Brown of  the New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light and several local partners deserve kudos for organizing a meaningful witness to our community. Our pilgrimage in Albuquerque was our way of joining the huge People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday, September 21. 

"We Walk in solidarity with brothers and sisters around the planet and those joining in the People's Climate March in New York City tomorrow.  We walk to make our voices heard to our leaders and those gathered for the UN Climate Conference in NYC September 23.  The People's Climate March in NYC is billed as the largest climate march in history representing great diversity...Today we are connecting the dots as well as others you may not connect to climate change such as food security, immigration and refugees, national and international security, jobs, water, energy and faith."  -Program for Albuquerque Climate Pilgrimage: Connecting the Dots

Thinking About Eliza
Several individuals and groups prepared brief presentations  at six stops along the route. I was part of a group of four people who were asked to make a presentation at the fifth stop in front of the Federal Building. Kathy Freeze, Parish and Community Outreach Liaison at Catholic Charities, set the tone by talking about the impact of climate change on refugees. New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps and the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice also made presentations at this stop.

I was asked to make a brief two-minute presentation about the impact of climate change on a single person affected by hunger and poverty. I chose a picture and a message from World Vision. The caption of the photo to the left reads, "When children like Eliza don’t get enough food to eat, it affects their growth and development in many ways."

Eliza (Photo: World Vision)
And I read this brief message:  Climate change is affecting people’s ability to feed themselves. And when that happens, it is children who suffer the most. Because they are still growing, children are at greatest risk of injury, disability and death caused by the impacts of climate change. They are less equipped physically, mentally and emotionally to cope with life-threatening conditions. The greatest killers of children – malnutrition, diarrhoeal disease and malaria – will get worse because of climate change. Children living in developing countries face the greatest risks of all, not because climate change effects will be any worse there than in other countries, but because poverty limits their ability to respond.  Read full piece from World Vision.

Climate Change and Hunger
There is  ample evidence by now that the warming of the planet has created havoc for agriculture, not only through severe and devastating droughts, but also through untimely floods.

"The way forward is fairly clear, but the magnitude of this challenge is far greater than any other issue on the horizon.," the Bread for the World Institute said in a series of reports on climate change and hunger.. At this point, the scientific evidence on climate change is unequivocal. If we don’t take strong action, the consequences could be catastrophic for everyone."

Kathy Chavez, New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps
Two of our partners in the fight against global hunger have also put together impressive reports on the impact of climate change on food insecurity.

Oxfam America's section on Climate Change tells us that those who are less responsible for climate change are suffering the most from its effects. "The carbon footprint of the world’s one billion poorest people represents just 3 percent of the global total. Yet as climate change advances, poor communities are hardest hit. Not only do we have a responsibility to avoid doing harm to others, we must help them adapt,"

And our friends at CARE have created a series of reports on hunger, poverty and climate change in its Climate Change Information Centre. The briefing paper "Adaptation, Gender and Women's Empowerment," provides some interesting information. "Vulnerability to climate change is determined, in large part, by people's adaptive capacity. A particular climate hazard, such as a drought, does not affect all people within a community – or even the same household – equally because some have greater capacity than others to manage the crisis. This working brief looks at why gender is central to CARE's understanding of and response to the impacts of climate change."

Terese Bridges chats with Jennifer Edwards
Bread members on the March
While I don't know the names and faces of all the Bread for the World folks in New Mexico, I recognized a handful of members of our organization at the pilgrimage: Terese Bridges, Sara Keeney, Rev. Stephen Miller, and Pat Sheely. They were not necessarily here as Bread members but as individuals concerned about the environment. Pat Sheely traveled from Gallup to take part in the rally, and  Rev.  Miller was the song leader for the theme song of the march: We need to wake up, We need to wise up, We need to open our eyes, And do it now now, We need to build a better future, And we need to start right now...

Carla Shibuya and Annette O'Connor
Does It Matter? 
The pilgrimage organizers answer the question in the affirmative. Yes.What happens depends on what actions you take, how you convey your concerns and invite family, work colleagues, faith leaders, community and political leaders to act. We offer suggestions for action as we walk along.Thank you for saying Yes to Life, to the Future and to the Children.



  
Here are More Photos of the Pilgrimage

 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Barrett House to Celebrate 30 Years of Service to Community


Click Here to Get Your Tickets Online or Call 505-246-9244  

The mission of Barrett Foundation is to provide housing and supportive services to women and children who are striving to break the cycle of homelessness.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ONE Members: We Can Cut Poverty in Half by 2030

ONE members have a powerful message - extreme poverty has been cut in half and we can finish the job by 2030.



Just like Maragaret and Phil and Gustavo and Amy and Chijoke and Mitchell, you’ve helped cut extreme poverty in half. But we need your help - your voice - if we're going to finish the job.

So tell us the one thing you’ll do before the end of the year to keep up the fight. Sign a petition. Recruit three friends to join the fight. Write a letter to your senator. Tweet. Host an event. Pledge your one thing on our volunteer form right here and let's get this done!

Thanks -

ONE

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Art of Loving our Neighbors

If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.

-Frederick Buechner

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Place at the Table, a Mud Pie, Hunger in New Mexico and a Prayer for a World Without Hunger

Participants listen to speaker Ruth Hoffman
The second session of Hunger 101, cosponsored by the Interfaith Hunger Coalition and the Holy Rosary Social Justice Committee, attracted around 30 participants. A handful of the people in the room  had attended the first session back in February, but there were mostly new faces in the social hall at Holy Rosary on Sept. 7.

Both sessions were intended to provide information about hunger in New Mexico, although the first gathering back in February was also set up to collect feedback on how the coalition should proceed with its work.

This latest session--the first of several planned programs around Albuquerque over the next several months--featured a showing of the documentary A Place at the Table, a presentation by Ruth Hoffman of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico, a couple of  interactive sessions and prayers and reflections.. Here are a couple of highlights.

A Place at the Table 
This was the fourth time I had viewed  A Place at the Table. People who see a movie multiple times often tell you that they see something new each time.  The one thing I noticed this time around was that Janet Poppendieck, one of the experts/advocates interviewed in the documentary had traveled to our state capital this past October to make a presentation at a conference on Santa Fe's food future.

While the stories in A Place at the Table were now very familiar to me, a handful in the audience at Holy Rosary had not seen this powerful documentary and the message that 50 million people in our country—one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. This promo for the documentary is a call to action. "Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides — as they have in the past — that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all," says


Photo: from Matt Wilkie's blog
A Mud Pie
One of the interactive sessions at the Hunger 101 session at Holy Rosary was described as a "snack activity." This was an a modified version of the Hunger Banquet, where participants represent various countries around the globe and receive a meal that corresponds to that country’s economic status. Instead of a meal, the event recreated the experience with snack foods for seven participants: one fancy chocolate bar, one bag of chips, two saltine crackers, two portions of a dried tortilla and one mud pie.

The mud pie was not the sweet snack popular in the South, but a different kind of item (and I don't know if you can even call it food).  Here is a description from National Geographic News.
It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some must take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places such as Cité Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings, and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt, and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal. 
Hunger in New Mexico
Ruth Hoffman, offered a modified version of the presentation that she made in February. She reminded participants of the statistics that we already know (or should know): Our state has a child poverty rate of 27% (140,000 children) and a senior poverty rate of  12% (35,000 seniors)..A total of 66% of students in New Mexico are eligible for free or reduced meals... Some 43% of the families in our state are "house-burdened," meaning that they spend over 30% of their income on housing.

There was a discussion of solutions that can be taken immediately, such as expanding school meals, increasing access to healthy and affordable food and removing barriers for people to access food stamps and other types of public assistance. Many of the systemic problems related to poverty and injustice were also addressed, such as: a low minimum wage, wage theft and other economic issues.

Commitment and Prayer
The program ended with an opportunity for participants to commit to take action. (The commitments were written on a blue piece of paper and offered in prayer)

And we ended with the following prayer from Prayer Without Borders, Celebrating Global Wisdom

To Have Hope is To Live

To have hope is to believe that history continues open to the dream of God and to human creativity

To have hope is to continue affirming that it is possible to dream a different world, without hunger, without injustice, without discrimination.

To have hope is to be a courier of God and courier of men and women of good will, tearing down walls, destroying borders, building bridges. 


To have hope is to believe in the revolutionary potential of faith, is to leave the door open so that the Spirit can enter and make all things anew.

To have hope is to believe that life wins over death. 

To have hope is begin again as many times as necessary. 

To have hope is to believe that hope is not the last thing that dies.

To have hope is to believe that hope cannot die,that hope no longer dies.

To have hope is to live.

-Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo -Scalabrinians Honduras

Friday, September 12, 2014

Family Promise Invites You to Sweet Reprise Benefit Concert this Sunday

Family Promise of Albuquerque invites you to its fourth annual Sweet Reprise Benefit Concert on Sunday evening, September 14, 7:00 to 9:00 pm,  at the Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living, 2801 Louisiana NE (map). The concert will feature local jazz group Sid Findley and Friends. Tickets cost $20 and are available at the door only. (See flier below for more details).

Click on Image to enlarge
Family Promise partners with 19 congregations (see map on left) in the Albuquerque area to provide shelter and two meals/day for up to four families at a time, and each weekday morning offers support services including tutoring, skill-building classes, and job placement assistance. 

The Importance of Clean Water for Sustainability

This video from Church World Service offers the simple message that access to clean water is a key factor in promoting sustainability in many poor countries around the world.