Thursday, April 06, 2017

Hunger for Change: A Perspective from a Group in Des Moines

As I learned, seeking a solution to social injustice is so much easier when you can put a face on the problem. Let me assure you, Hunger for Change does that. Steve Halstead, who participated in JustFaith Ministries Hunger for Change program in Iowa.
Steve Halstead was one of 14 people who particpated in the Hunger for Change program in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this year. This hunger-related study is one of the four JustMatters modules offered by JustFaith Ministries to faith communities around the country this year. The module, which was created with input from Bread for the World and Catholic Relief  Services, explores the realities of food insecurity in the United States and around the world.

The Des Moines participants visited the Iowa State Legislature
The eight-week prayerful process includes study, rich dialogue, and an immersion experience, encouraging  participants to take concrete action to end hunger. "There were fourteen of us from all stripes of life: Episcopalians, Catholics, nondenominationalists, and a member of the United Church of Christ," Halstead said of the group that met in Des Moines. "Some were formally ordained but all of us felt called to feed the hungry."

Participants deepen their understanding through in-depth reading and viewing videos and online materials. The most essential resource is the community formed through the process.  "Hunger for Change forced me to change my thinking about hunger from the local plight to a global view of the problem," said Halstead. "We read Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, by Ronald J. Sider. The book reading was supplemented with on-line videos and articles. The efforts of many non-governmental non-profits to bring sustainable agriculture to a hungry world were made vivid and real."

The program is affordable. For $175, churches, congregations and organizations receive comprehensive materials for each session, facilitation scripts and guidance, immersion guidance, and direct access to program staff for support. (Additional resources, $13 per participant All other materials are web-based).

One of the resources that JustFaith Ministries uses to promote Hunger for Change is a video featuring Shane Claiborne. He was one of several prominent voices in the Christian community who shared their vision of what it means to end hunger in a series of videos promoted by Bread for the World last year.  Others were Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Pates; Heath Rada, Presbyterian Church, Bishop John Richard Bryan, African Methodist Episcopal Church; Rev. Gabriel Salguero, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Suzii Paynter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; Rev. Jo Anne Lyon, the Wesleyan Church; David Jeffrey, Salvation Army; and Jim Wallis of Sojourners.

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