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A Partnership of “Faith Active in Love”
By Bishop Mark S. Hanson
On the 35th anniversary of Bread for the World, we rejoice that so much progress has been made in the global response against hunger. While the recent economic crisis has been a great setback, we rejoice that – in the last 25 years – 500 million fewer people are going hungry in our world. Millions more children are going to school in Africa and elsewhere. In more recent years, life-saving medicines are turning back the ravages of AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
These promising developments are the result of courageous and determined action by people all around the world. Bread for the World members, working with Lutheran advocacy networks and others, are an important part of the growing movement to overcome hunger, poverty, and disease. In our shared efforts, God is at work in the world, creating hope and opportunity for those in desperate need.
I am pleased that leaders from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America were present to celebrate the organization’s 35th Anniversary in Washington, DC, on June 15, 2009. Those who were present represented the many individuals and congregations who are members of Bread for the World.
The partnership between Bread for the World and the ELCA amplifies mission and ministry. It is “faith active in love.” Through Bread for the World, the ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal, the ELCA Washington Office, and Lutheran World Relief join together to do much more to create long-term solutions to hunger.
Many other church bodies, of course, also benefit from close collaboration with Bread for the World. I am inspired by the generosity of these churches and by the active involvement of their relief and development agencies. There are few other places where people from so many different faith traditions can work together so effectively. Bread for the World is, indeed, a collective Christian voice and is all the more powerful because it involves and supports churches at all levels.
Lutherans, Bread for the World’s “first founders,” have provided extraordinary leadership over the years, including Art Simon and David Beckmann. These remarkable leaders and the organization’s impressive history remind us of Bread for the World’s sustaining vision: that Christians are called to use our citizenship to address the causes of hunger.
As the global financial crisis confronts us with new and urgent challenges, we rededicate ourselves to our shared calling. We give thanks for the gift of faith and live in the joy that God’s abundant grace in Jesus Christ renews our hope as we act together to end hunger.
Bishop Mark S. Hanson is presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.