I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us. -Anne Lamott
|Patty Emord welcomed us to St. Andrew|
We came together to observe Bread for the World's 40th birthday. More importantly, we put together a celebration that allowed us to stop and think of how that long history of Bread applied to us here in New Mexico. Just as all politics is local, all grassroots advocacy is rooted in local activity.
We asked St. Andrew to host the event because this congregation has been a part of Bread for the World's history in Albuquerque from the almost the very beginning. (We could have also held our celebration at St. Paul Lutheran Church, with whom we also have a long relationship).
With a slide show we celebrated the decision of Jim Brown, a member of the Christian Brothers, to take on the role of volunteer state coordinator in 1984. We rejoiced as we remembered how a group of Bread members, including Lutheran Campus Pastor Howard Corry, decided to create a local group in 1989 and then promote Offerings of Letters among churches in Albquerque. Then we lifted up the dozens of churches that stepped up over the years to hold letter-writing Sundays (and sometimes Saturdays and weeknights) in New Mexico, including Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church in the tiny community of Truchas, Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in downtown Albuquerque, St. John's United Methodist Church in Santa Fe and many, many others. Here is a video of my introduction to the slide show.
|New Bread members Dianne Dragoo and Rena Dragoo|
Our advocacy over the years went beyond the pen and paper (and more recently the computer). We viewed pictures of Bread members from New Mexico who took our message directly to members of Congress and candidates with direct visits in Albuquerque and Washington. We also used the occasion to recognize one of our own members of Congress, who has been an "Outstanding Anti-Hunger Adovcate for New Mexico."
Our slide show also celebrated dozens of individuals who have long been the core of Bread New Mexico over the past 30 years, including those who were involved in the 1990s, the 2000s, those who are part of our current leadership team, and the local members who have become involved more recently. And how can we forget our regional organizers? Emily Abbott, Zelinda Welch, Matt Newell-Ching, Holly Hight and Robin Stephenson? We also expressed gratitude for the partnerships that s we forged with the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry, The New Mexico Conference of Churches, New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps and the CARE Action Network.
Our walk down memory lane also included scenes of those times when we came together for worship in ecumenical services, Circle of Protection prayers and songs, and to heed the call from Pope Francis to pray for an end to hunger. Because we come from diverse Christian faith traditions, our ecumenical choir was an important part of our celebration. And fittingly, the opening and closing song was Bread for the World, a piece composed by Marty Haugen on the occasion of Bread's 35th anniversary. We also have a video of the choir performing Pan de Vida (Bob Hurd)
Looking Ahead: The Bread Rising Campaign
|David Miner, chair of Bread Rising Campaign|
The campaign urges Bread members and supporters around the country to take three important actions: 1) increase our commitments to ongoing prayers for the end of hunger; 2) redouble our commitment to advocacy; 3) provide the resources to help our organization leverage the big changes that are needed to end hunger. We asked local Bread members to prepare reflections on those three actions as well as the goal to end hunger in our country by 2030. Those reflections are included in a separate piece that we will be posting soon.