Saturday, March 31, 2012

'The Lord Hears The Cry of the Poor'

George Huggins, Cathy Pfferle, Joy Carroll
What do the words of the Prophet Isaiah and the Circle of Protection have in common?  First and foremost, Social Justice.

But these were also the themes that were woven into our Offering of Letters workshop in Albuquerque on a Sunday afternoon in March.

Rev. Kay Huggins offered a reflection on Isaiah 58:1-9 and the relevance of the words in these passages to our advocacy efforts. 

Here are some excerpts from a  litany that we used:

Rev. Huggins: Each word we speak, each letter we write, is a ray of your luminious light...
Call: Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Response: By our voice, we create a circle of protection around the poor.

Appropriately, we also responded with the words of the song "The Cry of the Poor" by the St. Louis Jesuits, based on Psalm 34.  George Huggins led us in the singing.

Western Region organizer Robin Stephenson then explained this year's Offering of Letters, centered on the Circle of Protection.  There are four mini campaigns, but two were more relevant to us in New Mexico.

Our churches will be writing letters to protect:

Loretta Sanchez, Rev. Kay Huggins
1) Poverty-Focused Foreign AssistanceSen. Tom Udall is a member of the Appropriations Committee and sub-committee on Foreign Affairs and plays a key role in efforts to foster international development; and
2) Tax-Credits for Low-Income Families  Sen. Jeff Bingaman is member of the Committee on Finance, which will have a large influence on the Earned-Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit

We spoke about setting up local meetings with Sens. Udall and Bingaman and possibly Rep. Martin Heinrich.

Lucretia Tippit
The churches represented at the Offering of Letters in Albuquerque were Albuquerque Mennonite Church, All Saints Lutheran Church, Aquinas Newman Center, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, New Life Presbyterian Church, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Second Presbyterian Church, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church.

Other congregations in Albuquerque that have committed to write letters this year are Church of the Good Shepherd, First Unitarian Church, La Mesa Presbyterian Church, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church, and St. Paul Lutheran Church

Meeting in Santa Fe on Monday
Mary Singleton, Lydia Pendley
On Monday evening, we met with a different group in Santa Fe over pizza (actually calzones) and fruit.  A couple of folks at the meeting drove in from Pecos and from Truchas.

Our discussions again centered on the Offering of Letters.  There was some discussion about involving  members of the local Latino communities.
Andrea Streeper, Jon Bulthuis, Jim Roghair

We again spoke about local visits to congressional offices, particularly Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, as well as Sens. Bingaman and Udall. Among those who joined us were folks from First Presbyterian Church, Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church, St. Bede's Episcopal Church, St. John's United Methodist Church, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, United Church of Santa Fe, and Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Robin Stephenson,  Marlita Reddy-Hlemfelt

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