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Elizabeth Henry

'I am Living my Call'

This article originally appeared in the April - May 2010 Newsletter.

Bread board member Elizabeth Henry may be young, but she’s clear about the moment she heard God calling her to be “Christ’s hands and feet in the world.”

Growing up in Little Rock, AR, Henry participated in the youth group of her Episcopal church. She even thought she might want to become a priest. But by the time she finished her first year in college, she wasn’t so sure—in fact, by summer she felt ready to “chalk the God thing up to the innocence of my youth.”

Around this time Henry heard about a conference hosted by Bread for the World and Sojourners. On a whim, she registered.

“I had never heard of advocacy,” Henry says. “I didn’t even really know what social justice was.” She sat beside a group of older women at the conference and learned they had joined Bread before she was born. She realized that through their advocacy for poor people, these women had changed millions of lives for the better.

Later, the group sang words Henry had heard countless times, but that had never “clicked” the way they did now: Let justice roll, roll down like water and righteousness, like a flowing stream. Tears poured down her cheeks. “In that moment, my life was changed,” she says.

Back at college, Henry organized several Offerings of Letters and unified the campus’ scattered hunger efforts. In 2007, just before beginning her senior year in college, Henry was asked to join Bread’s board of directors. She also was a speaker at the first class of Hunger Justice Leaders—another way Bread encourages young adults to get involved in citizen action.

After college, Henry accepted an assignment with Lutheran Volunteer Corps and traveled across the country to California. Today, she serves as a full-time organizer at the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE). This Oakland, CA-based nonprofit forges bonds between faith groups, communities, and labor unions.

At a recent conference for Catholic educators, Henry joined Bread field organizer Holly Hight to conduct two sessions on action for justice and solidarity with the world’s poor.

“For me, being a Christian means proclaiming the good news of God’s liberation to all people, and working to be part of that liberation,” she says. “Both EBASE and Bread for the World invite me to do that.”

Henry waves away the idea that she serves as a powerful, positive model for Christians, saying she’s receiving far more than she gives. “I feel myself being shaped,” she says, smiling. “I am living my call.”

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