Christ has no body on earth but yours, no feet but yours, no hands but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ is to look out on a hurting world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless all now.
-St. Theresa of Avila
Those of us who are involved with Bread for the World or The ONE Campaign are already very familiar the Millenium Development Goals. They are, of course, a blueprint developed by the all of the world's countries and the leading development institutions to eradicate global poverty and disesase.
The actions targeted by the Millenium Development Goals (MDGS) range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015.
As a local grassroots leader for Bread for the World, I have been invited by many churches to talk about this year's Offering of Letters, One Spirit, One Will, Zero Poverty, which is very much tied to The ONE Campaign and the MDGS. We are urging our congressional representatives to increase poverty-focused development assistance by $5 billion in the 2007 budget, which would go a long ways toward meeting our country's commitments to help reduce global hunger and poverty.
In speaking to these congregations, I discovered that the vast majority of those writing letters or simply asking about the campaign have never even heard of the Millenium Development Goals.
Our offerings of letters have two goals: to get as many letters as possible to our elected officials on a particular issue and to provide information/education to members of a congregation about a particular issue.
The materials that Bread for the World offers in its Offering of Letters kits are very useful in creating a greater awareness about the issue in a congregation. They include a short videotapes/DVD, charts/figures, maps, worship ideas, bulletin inserts and much more. These materials were designed to be used in the context of worship or in an adult education or Sunday School class.
The National Council of Churches has created another beautiful resource relevant to our Offering of Letters this year. The resource, called Eradicating Global Poverty: A Christian Study on the Millenium Development Goals, is published by Friendship Press, ecumenical publisher for the National Council of Churches.
This is not only an informational publication, but a workbook that takes a comprehensive look at the Millenium Development Goals both from a practical and a faith perspective. The workbook is divided into six separate lesson plans, allowing participants to take time to really study the issues surrounding each of the goals. (Goals 2 and 3 dealing with Universal Primary Education and Gender Equity have been grouped into a single session, as have Goals 4 and 5, dealing with child mortality and maternal health).
Each lesson plan contains personal stories, scriptural-based reflections, related scripture passages, practical information on how the goals are to be achieved, discussion questions, proposed actions and much more. In addition, there are three Appendices, one that deals with questions about Sub-Saharan Africa, another with advocacy, and a third that offers a comprehensive list of resources.
I wholeheartedly recommend this guide, which puts all the issues in very simple terms and yet is very comprehensive in its approach. Copies of the guide can be obtained from Friendship Press: Click here to access an order form in .pdf format.
This wonderful resource was put together by Lallie B. Lloyd, an independent consultant on ecumenical solutions to global poverty. Ms. Lloyd, who serves on the board of Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation, urges churches to get more involved in fighting global poverty. "Christians need to take action. We can't solve all the world's problems, but our power can save lives. We need to build relationships across boundaries of income, nationality and distance, and we need to give of our own for the eradication of poverty," she said in the introduction to the guide.