Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Collage of Bread for the World Birthday Celebrations

Cake courtesy of  Beth Nygaard
Just Past the Teen Years
I have celebrated a handful of Bread for the World birthdays over the years.The first one was very low key, and it was not in Washington but in Albuquerque. As part of our joint conference with the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry (which is now Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico), we decided to observe Bread's 20th birthday with a cake. We honored many long-time Bread members, including Brother Jim Brown, who had been a Bread member since the organization was founded. David Beckmann, who was relatively new to Bread at the time, gave the keynote address.

Hunger Heroes (Photo Bread for the World)
At Age 30: The Hunger Heroes
Fast forward 10 years to Bread 's 30th birthday. This is one of the most memorable ones for me personally.  I was among one of 30 hunger heroes who were honored that year. How awesome to have one's name mentioned in the same breath as Bono, George McGovern, and Bob Dole.? Alas, none of those VIPs was there. But it was truly awesome to share the day with Bread co-founder Bill Byron, S.J., and fellow advocates Elaine VanCleave, Cathy Brechtelsbauer and Ed Payne.

And we had our own 30th birthday celebration in Albuquerque that year, and Father Bill Byron was gracious enough to join us at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. He delivered a wonderful keynote address. This celebration was a joint activity with the New Mexico Conference of Churches.

Marty Haugen sings to Bread
A Song for Bread on its 35th
One of the highlights of Bread's 35th birthday was the presence of. singer-composer Marty Haugen wrote a special song in honor of Bread for the World. And  Bill Moyers (who couldn't be with us in person) spoke to us via a recoded message.  And we honored two anti-hunger, anti-poverty advocates who helped build up Bread: former board members Maria Otero and Eleanor Crook. These types of milestone celebrations also offer opportunities for a reunion.  Among the folks I saw were ex-government relations director Barbara Howell and former organizer Bob Schminkey.

Participants Welcomed
A Bread Rising Campaign for the 40th
Which brings me to Bread's 40th birthday. This celebration is fresh on my mind because it just happened less than a week ago. And a prominent individual joined us for this celebration: travel writer and television host Rick Steves. A big highlight was the opportunity to hear Bread for the World founder Art Simon.  Even though I see him often at Bread board meetings, it's always very good to hear his input on the ways that the organization has remained true to its core mission and yet adapted to modern realities over the past 40 years.

Another highlight was the opening sermon by my friend Derick Dailey, who set the tone for the gathering with a wonderful reflection. And, again, it was a time for reunions. I saw Kim Bobo, one of Bread's first directors of organizing. I hadn't seen her since the 1980s!   (We hope to have our own Bread 40th birthday celebration n Albuquerque sometime this fall. More info to come soon)

What makes this year's birthday celebration important is that it marked the launch of our new campaign Bread Rising: Working Together to End Hunger by 2030.  There are three components to the campaign:
  • Pray -Commit yourself to ongoing prayer for the end of hunger
  • Act -Redouble your commitment ot adovacy
  • Give- Provide the resources to leverage big changes
(Stay tuned for more specific information)

Rather than spend a lot of words describing the gathering, I would like to share a handful of pictures here.  (And feel free to view my album on Facebook via this link. You do not have to have a FB connection with me to view the album).

Rick Steves & board chair Sandra Joireman

Timeline 1974-2014
Advocates Megan Marsh & Derick Dailey
Daniel Erdman, Ellen Buelow, Carlos Navarro, Larry Buelow, David Beckmann

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