Saturday, January 17, 2009
A Table of Blessings
First United Methodist Church is one of the congregations in Albuquerque that has most embraced Bread for the World. The evidence is the way in which the church chose to observe Hunger Sunday this year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
The Social Justice Team and Pastor David Okerberg used bulletin inserts, scripture readings, bulletin reflections, pulpit reflections and a special monetary offering to ensure that the congregation was in solidarity this day with poor and hungry people around the world. (The congregation collected more than $1,300 for Bread for the World).
But the organizers wanted to ensure that Hunger Sunday was not going to be just a one-day event. They put together a booklet, comprised of favorite short table blessings from members of the congregation, to distribute a few weeks after Hunger Sunday.
"Their blessings are collected here for your use and reflection," said the booklet. "Some are family-related or personal; others are anonymous; some tuneful and physical; some are traditional; others are 'different.' Some are borrowed from famous writers; others are heritage blessings in the language of our ancestors.
All are filled with joy, praise, thanksgiving, and love of God and of our brothers and sisters who suffer from want.
Behind every effort like this one, there is always one person or team that provides the energy to make it happen. In this case, the person was Estella Gahala, who also led the congregation's successful Offering of Letters campaign in the spring. "Our association with...Bread for the World has blessed us at FUMC," said Estella.
Click here to read a sampling of the blessings in the booklet.