Friday, October 05, 2012

'Clippings' from this year's Offerings of Letters in New Mexico

Jerry Ortiz y Pino writes a letter at Aquinas Newman Center

Bread for the World members in New Mexico were very creative in promoting Offerings of Letters to members of their congregations this year. We already told you about the skit at All Saints Lutheran Church in Albuquerque and the bulletin announcement at Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces.. And you know how the Just Faith class at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community in Albuquerque helped with the letter-writing tables and a worship.

Display at Peace Lutheran Church (Las Cruces)
And we also offered you an example of how  First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe used the activity in the OL packet to involve the children at the church.  Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Albuquerque scheduled a couple of workshops after the letter-writing Sunday to give parishioners an opportunity to learn more about poverty-focused foreign assistance.

You also heard this week about the goal of Westminster Presbyterian Church (Santa Fe) to write 150 letters to Congress following the November election.

Now, we want to relate activities at other churches, mostly in the words of the OL organizers.  These are not in any particular order.

La Mesa Presbyterian Church (Albuquerque)
"Rev. Trey Hammond agreed to do a Blessing of the Letters the following Sunday.  He framed my Minute for Mission with very nice comments about the Offering of Letters.  Last year both ministers wrote letters with us."

"I did home visits to some seniors yesterday and today to bring them the materials for writing Bread for the World letters.  I am hoping to boost our count with those, letters from our ministers, and a few that people ended up taking home (including the letters by the organizers of the letter writing, who did not have time to write them at church).  We are on the schedule for the service next Sunday to make a formal offering of letters after the Doxology.'  -Betsy Diaz

Second Presbyterian Church (Albuquerque)
The church used the mini campaign on tax credits for working families, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit. "We had a couple of writers that have used and depend upon them both. I asked them to include that in their letters," said Bread member and OL organizer -George Huggins

Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church  (Truchas)
"A couple of Sundays ago I read from an editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican Newspaper about how children's behaviour changes at school when they are hungry.  Then a member of the congregation added her personal story of growing up in a large family that depended on food aid.  This is, of course, in preparation for our letter writing in a few weeks."  -Mary Singleton

Ellen Buelow at Ministry Fair
Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church (Albuquerque). This is the first time that the church has held an Offering of Letters, and it was done in the context of the Ministry Fair.  We were invited to set up a table, which was staffed by Ellen Buelow and me. We were able to get about  a dozen letters.  But more importantly, the social concerns committee agreed to look at conducting its own Offering of Letters in the fall.  (Note: We have also been invited to participate in the ministry fair at First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque on Nov. 12.  More on that later).

Aquinas Newman Center (Albuquerque)
The Peace and Social Justice Commission and campus ministry, led by Gospel Justice Peer Minister Genevieve Sparks staffed the letter-writing tables.  Father Rich Litzau spoke about the importance of hand-written letters to present our concerns to our legislators in Washington. "The letter writing went well and we had about 20 people (at the Student Mass) write letters," said Genevieve

St. Bede's Episcopal Church (Santa Fe)
"We bless our letters tomorrow (on May 20).  A member of St. Bede's put together a slide show combining pieces from the DVD for us to run as background on our "big screen" in the Common Room where we had our letter writing tables set up."   -Lydia Pendley

St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church  (Albuquerque) 
Bulletin Annnouncement: "Please come learn about this year's letter writing campaign at an adult form on Sunday, July 29, at 10:15 in the Sanctuary. We will be writing to our representatives to ask for continued funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that helps 40 million Americans each year. We will watch a short video and discuss our response to this crisis that affects so many of our neighbors."  -Terese Rand Bridges

Albuquerque Mennonite Church
"A three-year old became our youngest letter writer. Her dad was writing a letter and she wanted to go. We asked her if she wanted to write a letter to help children in other countries like her daddy was doing. She said yes and tried out each pen and “wrote” a letter..."

"As members of our congregation  were writing letters, the discussion turned to how much security the letters need to go through now to get delivered to Washington Senate addresses,, the use of “the crisper” to detect dangerous substances and it’s effect on paper. Everyone was quite sure the letters get through, but one writer commented that even if they didn’t, it was such a good exercise for us to sit down and reflect on actions we want our representatives to take."   -Jeanne Elmhorst

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