Friday, April 30, 2010

Reality Check

We need always to be thinking and writing about [poverty], for if we are not among its victims its reality fades from us.

- Dorothy Day, from her book Loaves and Fishes

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dear Rep. Lujan and Teague: Please Sign "Dear Colleague Letter" on Child Nutrition

Thank you Rep. Martin Heinrich for signing on to  the Dear Colleague letter being circulated by Reps. James McGovern (D-MA) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) in support of an additional $1 billion per year for child nutrition reauthorization.

Please call Reps. Ben Ray Lujan or Harry Teague by noon on Friday, April 30, at Bread’s special toll-free number: 1-800-826-3688. Urge them to sign onto the Dear Colleague letter too.
Points to Make

Today, nearly one in four children in the United States is at risk of hunger. We need adequate funding from Congress—at least $1 billion annually in the next five years—to address this problem.

The child nutrition bill will strengthen programs such as school lunches, school breakfasts, summer nutrition programs, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. These are critical in protecting children from hunger and in improving their nutrition.
Read post in national Bread blog for more background

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Help Bread member Bryan McFarland Complete his Album "Until All are Fed"

Bread for the World member Bryan McFarland is collaborating with several other musicians to create a collection of hymns, songs & spirituals that will reflect the core values of the Presbyterian Hunger Program. ...and 10% of the production costs and 20% of the profits will be donated to Presbyterian Hunger Program.

The Album is called Until All are Fed.  Among the songs in the album is the hymn that composer Marty Haugen wrote in honor of Bread for the World's 35th birthday celebration in Washington last summer.   

Bryan also appears in the video we posted about the CBS program Religion, Politics and Advocacy.  He is shown leading Lobby Day participants in song.
There is slightly more than a month to raise all the money to make the album and Bryan really needs your support... Click here to go to the Until All are Fed site to learn how you can help.

And here is a video that Bryan made on YouTube about his efforts.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What's in Your Trunk? (A Fair Trade Celebration)

In celebration of World Fair Trade Day, you are cordially invited to our First Annual Fair Trade Trunk Show, Saturday, May 8, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Peacecraft, 3215 Central Ave. NE in Nob Hill.

This Trunk Show will feature both Faith- Based and Not- for -Profit Social Justice Projects, as well as local members of the Fair Trade Federation and World Fair Trade Organization
These projects, such as Baskets of Africa, Haiti Project Inc., and Palomas Aprons, from Albuquerque and around New Mexico, help develop and distribute crafts made by artisans all over the world, transforming the lives of artisans, their families, and their communities, and creating peace on earth! 
Call 505-255-5229 for more information

An Extraordinary (Swazi) Art Show in New York

I don't often use this blog to write about art shows in New York City.  But this is a very special occasion and this is no ordinary art show.  (Of course anyone who organizes an art show will tell you that theirs is "not ordinary.)"  

In this case, the show is sponsored by Swaziland Arts for Education, an organization that our niece Kristin Wetzler helped create after she returned from serving in the Peace Corps in Swaziland.  Kristin is also a graduate of Bread for the World's Hunger Justice Leaders program in 2008.

The concept is simple.  S.A.F.E. provides an opportunity for communities in Swaziland (mostly women) to sell their arts & crafts to U.S. buyers.  The proceeds are then used to support education in a handful of villages in Swaziland.  Most of those who benefit are vulnerable children who suffer from HIV/AIDS.  Read Kristin's vision for S.A.F.E.

So, if you happen to be in New York City on Saturday, May 1, or know anyone who lives in the area, please support this S.A.F.E. event.

Here are the details:
Saturday, May 1, 2010
6:00pm - 9:00pm
The Loading Dock
170 Tillary
Brooklyn, NY

Guests will have the opportunity to view and purchase swazi art to support the education of orphans and vulnerable children affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis in Swaziland.

Cocktails, beer, fish tacos (cash bar)

Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Forty-four Swazis become infected with HIV every single day. It is projected that by the end of 2010, there will be 110,000 orphaned children in a population of roughly 900,000. The average life expectancy in Swaziland is 37 years. Ten years ago it was 60.

Our motivation for S.A.F.E. is to help keep swazi orphans and vulnerable children in school. We believe that education is the answer to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Swaziland. S.A.F.E. has developed a sponsorship program working with a local organization in Swaziland to identify children in need of sponsorship to continue their education. Through donations, and by selling handmade swazi art, we can help keep these children, who could not otherwise continue their education, in school.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Celebrating Earth Day Locally and Globally

It's almost become a cliché.  Think globally, act locally.   But this sentiment almost always applies when we think of environmental sustainability.  So I want to take this opportunity to commemorate Earth Day, both in Albuquerque and with our brothers and sisters across the planet.


In our community, we have a wonderful celebration on Sunday, April 25, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the street (Silver) immediately behind La Montañita Cooperative in Nob Hill.  

(The ONE Campaign, Bread and partners had a booth several years ago. Pictured are Sarah Magill Mueller and Laura Casselman)

It's a big celebration featuring
  • Environmental Education and Action,
  • Booths, 
  • Farming, 
  • Gardening, Sustainability
  • Alternative Energy Resources, 
  • Arts, Crafts, Food, Music, Fun, Friends, and More... 
We won't have a booth this year, but Sister Joan Brown and the New Mexico chapter of Interfaith Power and Light could use your help if you would like to volunteer.   Drop her an e-mail


Speaking of Interfaith Power & Light, the national organization is offering a great opportunity to join with the Lutheran Church in Tanzania to fight deforestation through the Green Kilimanjaro project.  All you have to do is tell five friends about this project.  Click here to find out how you can participate.
By helping to green Kilimanjaro and supporting congregants halfway across the world, Interfaith Power & Light supporters are setting an example that we can all be proud of. When faith communities come together to speak out about these issues, people listen. In fact, one congregation in Tanzania was so inspired by this effort that they set aside 10 acres of land for a church forest. 
The Tanzania project is part of IPL's global efforts through its Carbon Covenant campaign to connect with communities addressing climate change. 
And as long as we're looking at environmental sustainability, it would be useful to see how it plays a significant role in addressing global hunger and poverty.  The Bread for the World Institute's latest hunger report, entitled A Just and Sustainable Recovery, addresses this issue.  

The report points out that reducing climate change and creating so-called green jobs are key factors for economic growth and reducing world-wide hunger and poverty.

The institute has put together a great resource, including illustrations, stories, photos and videos, and much more.  Click here to access the site.

Back in November, C-Span carried a 1-hour segment featuring the hunger report.  Read the blog post I wrote, which includes a video of the program.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Ay! Haiti" Latin American and Spanish artists produce music video for Haiti

On April 19, 2010, 25 artists and soccer players from Latin America and Spain released their new song entitled "Ay Haiti," to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.  Several prominent artists participated, including Shakira (Colombia), Miguel Bose (Panama) and Alejandro Sanz (Spain) and soccer players like Kaka (Brazilian national team).  The song was written by Carlos Jean, a producer and songwriter with Haitian roots.

All proceeds from this effort will be used for projects sponsored in Haiti by Spain-based Intermon Oxfam.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Check Out Daniel Erdman's blog

Daniel Erdman, a Bread for the World member and Presbyterian minister, has started a blog called Daniel ICU: Reflections on being faithful and hopeful 

Daniel is currently pastor of the Iglesia Congregacional Unida in Albuquerque, which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

In his first post, he describes what the blog will cover.
Here is a way to ponder thoughts on what is happening in life, work, community.  A lot of it will be influenced by what I am reading, and much of that reading is commentaries on the bible readings for the week – called a lectionary – because somehow every Sunday I am supposed to have something meaningful to say to a group of people who inexplicably keep coming to a building on South Broadway with the hope of meeting each other and god in that space and time.
But really, the scope of this blog seeks to go beyond that time and place – to you, wherever you are.  What about your life, work, community?
And here is what he writes when you click the link About Daniel
Daniel is a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, committed to the immigrant populations of the world and to those youth whose life is a struggle.  Daniel es un seguidor de Jesus de Nazaret, comprometido a las poblaciones inmigrantes del mundo y a  los jovenes cuya vida es una lucha. 

Click here to view the Daniel ICU blog

Saturday, April 17, 2010

David Beckmann urges you to participate in 2010 Offering of Letters

Education as a Tool to Reduce Poverty

By Heidi Topp Brooks
RESULTS Partner, Albuquerque

Do you think next year our school could have a third grade . . . and a bathroom?”  This was one Senegalese boy’s question to a visiting US dignitary.  He was in the second grade, the top class in his school.  Without help, he faced the end of his academic career and a future with no skills to count on in a global economy. 

Some of the 72 million children who can’t go to school are victims of lack of schools, lack of teachers, lack of supplies, lack of sanitary facilities, lack of stable governments or peace.  Others can’t afford school fees, are needed to work on the farm or in the home.  We can say, however, that all suffer from a lack of political will to make education available to them.

The Global Campaign for Education  is issuing a clarion call for all of us to hear that little boy and answer his fondest wish.  People all over the world are participating in “The Big Lesson” about how we can – and must – fund the effort to bring free basic primary education to all children, no matter where or how they live.  This is compatible with Goal 2 of the Millennium Development Goals, which promotes Universal Primary Education.

In the United States, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) will introduce the Education For All (EFA) Act of 2010.  It calls for the establishment of a Global Fund for Education that would provide a framework for quality measurements, predictable funding, country-led initiatives, and a strong multilateral effort on behalf of education. 

The Global Campaign for Education is an alliance of many organizations, including RESULTS, Bread for the World, The ONE Campaign and other groups.  Our actions are geared toward securing Congressional co-sponsorships and public support for the EFA bill.  

On Wednesday, April 21, RESULTS Albuquerque will hold a public meeting of interested individuals and representatives of partner groups, with a discussion of why education is so important in the fight against poverty, and the opportunity to take several actions.  A community group sign-on letter will be available, as well as a sign-on letter for individuals and easy instructions on phoning our members of Congress to encourage their actions.  We will also discuss other ways for our organizations to participate in this world-wide effort.

Place: Fellowship Hall of Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 
114 Carlisle SE
Time: Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

If you can't attend the meeting, please call Rep. Martin Heinrich or Ben Ray Lujan to ask them to cosponsor the Education for All Act.  

Representative Heinrich:
202 225-6316 (DC)        505 346-6781 (ABQ)
Representative Lujan:   
202 225-6190 (DC)        505 984-8950 (ABQ) 

Click "Read More" to learn more about this initiative.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Heart for Hunger, Poverty and Fasting

According to scripture, a person's heart reveals his or her true nature and motivation.  Jeremiah 17:10 says that God "search[es] the heart and examine[s]  the mind" and then rewards people for what their conduct deserves.
This was one of the themes that emerged during the conference on Emerging Christianity, sponsored by at the Center for Action and Contemplation in April 2010.  Our relationships with one another are stronger when we are able to look at situations through the heart rather than through the head.  As Rev. Cynthia Bourgealt said:  The heart is an organ of spiritual perception.

This is the context by which I put together a meditation on hunger, poverty and fasting on the Saturday evening of the conference.

The setting was not what I originally envisioned.  I had hoped that we would have a quiet space indoors.  Instead, we had a small stage outdoors next to the blooming spring flowers of Albuquerque.  Instead of quiet, we had a sense of restlessness, as evidenced by the wind that kept trying to blow down the music by our wonderful cellist Sharon Barefoot.  And the wind also whispered with a sense of urgency on the microphones that had been set up.

So instead of retreating indoors, God wanted us to experience this meditation with a sense of restlessness.

I would like to use this space to share the words of that meditation/contemplation, along with photographs of some of the participants.

Part 1
Reader 1
We are here this evening to contemplate on hunger and poverty and our response as people of faith.

Before we begin, I would ask that we first center ourselves in God and consider the following verse from Matthew 22. A version of this account is also found in Mark 12 and Luke 10.

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’
He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

This is the greatest and first commandment.

And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Remembering Chuck Shepard

As I'm getting ready to go to work, the phone rings at about 7:30 A.M.  I pick up the receiver, and the voice on the other end says, "Carlos?  Chuck Shepard here.  I have a question about this year's Offering of Letters..."

Chuck Shepard was one of our more dedicated Bread for the World members in Albuquerque.

[He is pictured with Bread member Barbara Rockow from Phoenix (to his right) and his wife Derry Moritiz at a reception we had here in Albuquerque for Art Simon].

For many years, Chuck was one of the pillars of the group at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church that organized the Bread for the World letter-writing campaign at the church year after year.  And whenever we needed a place to have a meeting or a Bread event, Chuck was always eager to offer St. Andrew (others like Ester Schneider have picked up on this tradition very nicely).  Very appropriately, a memorial service for Chuck was planned at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church for April 10.

Chuck was not only active in Bread with his time and effort, but also gave generously to our organization.  He and his wife Derry were part of Bread's Leadership Circles

Chuck was interested in a wide range of issues related to hunger, poverty and justice, and was especially passionate about micro credit. And his interests in justice issues were very broad, including racial equality.  Very fittingly, his obituary in the Albuquerque Journal asks that all memorial donations be given to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
I just remember how he celebrated everything that anyone he knew was involved in that was about social justice.  We miss him.   Jenny Moore, a member of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
There is much more to say about Chuck's full and active life.  You can find a wealth of information in a page that was set for him's Memorial Websites

Saturday, April 03, 2010

"Wise Protest is Prayer Turned into Radical Action"

The lastet JustFaith Ministries newsletter had a link to a great piece by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, entitled When No is Yes.  The piece was published in Weavings: A Journal of Christian Spiritual Life

Says JustFaith: Marilyn shows how essential is the connection "between the 'no' that resists greed, injustice, and carelessness and the 'yes' that extends an embrace to those with whom we share our lives, the earth's resources, and God's love."  She gives seven characteristics of the "no" that is "holy" and serves life and love.

Here is an Excerpt from Ms Chandler McEntyre's article: 
It is easy to forget that “protest” means to speak for, or testify on behalf of—not to speak against. Usage has shifted its meaning toward the latter, perhaps because speaking for often requires speaking against. If we are to speak for the poor, we must speak against those who exploit them. If we are to speak for stewardship of land and water, we must speak against abusive industrial practices. If we are to speak for a gospel understanding of community, we must speak against much that has become normal in our “mass culture.”

Thursday, April 01, 2010

David Arquette Urges You to Help Stamp Out Hunger on May 8

Leaving a bag of food right by your mail box is something that only happens in early November, just before Thanksgiving.  Right?  Wrong.

Sonya Warwick of Roadrunner Food Bank tells us that Help Stamp Out Hunger in early May is the largest single day food drive in the country.

Just like the food drive in November, your friendly mail carrier will collect the food you leave by your mail box. All your donations of non-perishable food items will be going to Roadrunner Food Bank.

(And if you want to do even more, Roadrunner Food Bank could use your help unloading and sorting food at 11 postal substations.  Please call 349-8825 or e-mail if you would like to help).
Sonya put together this list of suggested items to put in your bags: Boxed Meals, Canned Entrees, Canned Fruit, Canned Meats, Canned Vegetables, Cereal, Jelly, Macaroni and Cheese, Pasta and Sauces, Peanut Butter, Rice, Soup and Sugar.
So please mark your calendars with a big check mark on Saturday, May 8.

Just follow these three simple steps:

Or you can follow actor David Arquette's directions.