To the Honorable (Sen.) Pete Domenici, (Sen.) Jeff Bingaman, (Rep.) Heather Wilson, (Rep.) Steve Pearce, (Rep.) Tom Udall:
We write you with a simple message: Poverty focused development assistance helps poor people around the world to overcome hunger, poverty and disease.
Currently we give less than half of one percent of our federal budget to poverty-focused development assistance. I urge you to increase that amount by $5 billion for 2007. This will help move us toward the international commitments our country's leaders have made. We have a monumental opportunity to cut global poverty in half. Let's take it.
Bread for the World members in New Mexico
We must have sent this message more than one thousand times!
Well, actually it was more like 1,140 times! That's how many letters we generated to our members of Congress from New Mexico as part of this year's Offering of Letters, One Will, One Spirit, Zero Poverty.
A heart-felt THANK YOU to the 16 churches and one school that took time and effort to organize a letter-writing event in New Mexico this year. Click here for full list and breakdown of letters by legislator.
We also had letter-writing events during The CROP Walk, World Food Day and the annual meeting of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America-Rocky Mountain Synod, which was held in Albuquerque this year. ELCA members generated 739 letters to senators from five states! (The letters to Sens. Bingaman and Domenici were counted with our New Mexico total).
Three Cheers! for St. Bede's Episcopal Church in Santa Fe; and Albuquerque Mennonite Church, Church of the Good Shepherd, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church and Menaul School in Albuquerque, which had a Bread for the World Offering of Letters for the first time ever.
Most churches scheduled their letter-writing event after the Sunday service or the Saturday and Sunday Mass. Organizers found creative ways to introduce the topic to their constituents....Ann Doyle, Bob and Janet Frank and Virginia Pitts at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Albuquerque scheduled the letter-writing event as part of their social justice committee's Awareness Week in September...The program included a talk by Ann Githinji of Kenya and Maniki Sinandele from South Africa about the Millienium Development Goals ...Emily Thorn at Menaul School in Albuquerque used one of the morning chapel sessions to show a powerpoint presentation to students and faculty...Laverne Kaufman at Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces invited Kari Bachman, a nutrition expert at New Mexico State University and a long-time BFW member, to speak to the congregation on letter-writing Sunday...
Beth Kissling at Church of the Good Shephard in Albuquerque set up a "dialogue sermon" between Pastor Sue Gallagher and BFW New Mexico state coordinator Carlos Navarro to talk about the offering of letters...Lydia Pendley at St. Bede's Episcopal Church in Santa Fe generated interest about the offering of letters at her church by inviting ONE Campaign volunteer Peter Vance and Carlos Navarro to speak to a social justice issues forum in February...Mary McClean at La Mesa Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque made sure that One Will, One Spirit, Zero Poverty was the topic for the Minute for Mission on letter-writing Sunday...
Thanks to the efforts of Bob Riley at First Unitarian Church, members of that congregation sent 163 letters to Congress...Letter writers at St. Paul Lutheran Church had their message delivered directly to congressional offices in Washington by Charles Lakeman, who attended Bread for the World's Lobby Day this year...Chris Malano at Aquinas Newman Center Catholic Community in Albuquerque talked visiting members of Catholic campus ministry organizations around New Mexico into participating in the parish's Offering of Letters.
Finally, Donna Detweiler tells us about how one young advocate participated in the Offering of Letters at Albuquerque Mennonite Church in June: "We had fun writing letters around the kitchen table... When 7-year old Mary heard her mom's explanation of what we were doing, she said she thought the federal budget should include money for trains. So she drew a train, signed it with her address and tucked it into the envelope with her mom's letter to Mr. Domenici, whose granddaughter they know..."
I have included pictures of some of this year's Offerings of Letters below and in the next blog post.
Thank you to all who contributed these pictures! (Harlan Halvorson at Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces took the photo at the very top).
Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (Albuquerque) Sept. 21
Had their Offering of Letters during as part of Awareness Week
Photo: Carlos Navarro
Aquinas Newman Center (Albuquerque) April 29-30
Phil Keller, Dena Smith and Emily Thorn
write letters to Rep. Heather Wilson, Sen. Pete
Domenici and Sen. Jeff Bingaman after the Sunday
Photo: Chris Malano