Saturday, June 27, 2015

'Our First Offering of Letters'

Three churches in New Mexico  organized or are planning an Offering of Letters for the first time ever this summer. These churches already had a strong commitment to social justice and action, but it took a few people to take the initiative to organize all the logistics and publicity. Sixteen churches have held or set a date for an Offering of Letters this year (and three others have indicated intention to hold a letter-writing Sunday).
Read more about what each church did to prepare for its first OL:

Westminster Presbyterian Church
We started our Offering of Letters on Sunday, May 31, with a Minute for Mission introduced by our pastor, Rev. Lorelei Kay, explaining the work of Bread for the World and its importance for the cause of hunger and poverty. Then I used some resources from the Bread for the World website, informing our congregation of the need to speak up strongly for the reauthorizing of the Child Nutrition programs for the 2016 budget, since our wealthy country still has such an unacceptable level of hunger and poverty, particularly among children and families.

After the service we showed a brief video from the Web about hunger programs in schools. I then had materials at the back of the church, including copies of sample letters, of the addresses of our Congressmen, and envelopes and stamps. Some people wrote their letters before leaving church; more took the materials home with them. We will continue on June 7 and 14 to give people the opportunity to participate, and the project will be publicized in our church newsletter soon, hopefully motivating more people to participate   Kathy Mezoff

Central United Methodist Church
Thanks to the enthusiastic support of Pastor Scott Sharp and the Church Council at Central United Methodist Church, an Offering of Letters is scheduled for June 14th. An explanation of the letter-writing campaign will be given during the Mission Moment at all three services.

Three weeks prior to the scheduled date, I presented the idea to my Sunday School class, Harmony, where it was enthusiastically received. Members of the class wrote their letters then in order to be available to man tables and offer assistance during the writing of letters. The letters will be stamped and collected following the three sessions. On the following Sunday, the letters will be blessed before the congregation before they are mailed. Since this is our first Offering of Letters, our goal is 50 letters. Dodie Hawkins

St. John XXIII Catholic Community
Weeks before the actual Offering of Letters, the planning committee put an announcement in the bulletin (to run weekly for several weeks) with information about child hunger in New Mexico. "The Social Concerns Ministry...invites you to join in taking action to advocate for the estimated 140,000 children in our state who do not have adequate and consistent access to nutritious meals." The bulletin announcement was enlarged and posted on the Social Concerns bulletin board along with the poster announcing the OL.

On July 11-12, the weekend before the Offering of Letters, the committee is planning to make an announcement about the campaign and show the one-minute video at each Mass. A flier with information on the Offering of Letters will also be distributed after each Mass. On July 18-19, parishioners will be invited to sit down and write  the letters.  The letters will be blessed on July 26 and sent to Washington.

According to organizers, their efforts were made much easier because of the strong and enthusiastic support of the three pastors: Rev. Lorelai Key, Rev. Scott Sharp and Father Arkad Biczak. 

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