In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

December 7, 2017

In Times Like These,” a hymn, written in 1943 by Ruth Caye Jones and popularized by Mahalia Jackson in 1963 during the height of the civil rights movement, is a favorite hymn in many of our churches. The hymn affirms that at all times Jesus is our rock and our Savior, and that the engagement of scripture and action are important. Times of conflict, war, national division, hunger, poverty, or relative peace or prosperity do not diminish the love and power available to us from God.

This weekly devotional guide recognizes this while honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the time of his martyrdom on April 4, 1968, the Poor People’s Campaign, and Tent City/Resurrection City following this. These occasions remind us that our advocacy to end hunger and poverty matters.

Although Pan-African people are disproportionately affected by hunger and poverty, Pan-African people remain resilient and empowered by their faith. This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty. Twenty-three national and global church partners represented through 46 Pan-African church leaders and scholars from across the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa have contributed to this devotional guide and invite you to use it to advance this mission.

Use of the Devotional Guide:

  1. Use this devotional guide weekly or monthly to explore its themes and sub-themes in and outside of your church. The themes reflect the calendars of the Christian year, the Pan-African church community, and policies that seek to end hunger and poverty.
  2. Use this devotional guide as a source for Bible study and worship when engaging the biblical texts, messages, and prayers to empower your advocacy to end hunger and poverty.
  3. Use the Pan-African historical highlights to deepen your understanding of the contributions of Pan-African people.
  4. Use the suggested songs from the Pan-African church community as an accompaniment to the devotional guide. These songs and related musicians can be found on the internet.
  5. Use the questions as a source for advocacy and as an invitation to go to to learn about our Offering of Letters, Lobby Day, Bread for the World Sunday, prayer and fasting resources, the Hunger Report, legislative updates, and other resources.

Thank you for praying with us as we advocate to end hunger and poverty in times like these.

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Pan-African devotional guide

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For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger

    Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.

  • Advancing Nutrition through Food Aid Reform

    The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.


  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.


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