Put Pen to Paper: How to Conduct an Offering of Letters

Pastor Lee de Leon preaches about the importance of the Offering of Letters / Photo: Laura Pohl

Setting up an Offering of Letters event in your church, campus, or group is not difficult. Here are a few key points to remember and some examples of what has worked in the past.

Here are six easy steps for conducting a successful Offering of Letters.

  1. Get support from your pastor, mission committee, and church council if needed, or from your campus ministry or sponsoring professor or staff. Set a date for the Offering that works in your church or campus calendar.
  2. Gather a team to work with you, and plan how and when you'll get the word out using newsletters, bulletins, announcement boards, and social media. Locate key educational materials and videos. Contact your Bread regional organizer if you need help.
  3. Plan what will happen the week before and the week of the Offering. Find ways to integrate the hunger topic in the entire worship service or event. Have available sample letters, paper, envelopes, pens, stamps, and names and addresses of members of Congress. Prepare a good place for people to write.
  4. Gather the letters and bless them, and then thank people for participating. Make sure to count the total letters for each member of Congress, and then mail the individual letters to Capitol Hill or to Bread for the World for personal delivery to Congress.
  5. Report your Offering results to Bread using either the form in the companion materials or online.
  6. Celebrate your success in raising voices to help end hunger — no matter how many people take part. Stay connected to the Offering of Letters campaign, reporting progress to your team and your church or campus.

Examples of Successful Offerings of Letters

Adult or Youth Education Forum

Host a letter-writing forum after worship or between services. Show the Offering of Letters video. Invite a speaker who has first-hand knowledge of the advocacy issue. Set aside 20-30 minutes for letter writing. Collect the letters and end with a blessing. Consider baking bread to entice would-be participants.

The Three-Week Offering of Letters

Many people like to write letters at home instead of on-the-spot. Set a goal for how many letters your congregation can collect. Distribute the sample letter the week before the beginning of the campaign, and have materials available each Sunday during the campaign. On the last Sunday, bring the letters to the front of the congregation for a blessing.

Movie Night

Host a movie night at church and show a film related to the topic at hand. Make sure you have the appropriate license to show the film publicly (you do not need a license to show Offering of Letters videos). At the end of the showing, host a short discussion and invite attendees to write letters. End the evening with a blessing of the letters.

Service and Advocacy

Consider conducting an Offering of Letters as part of a service project. For example, if your church is volunteering at a food bank, invite participants to write letters to address the root causes of hunger. If your church is sponsoring a mission trip, be sure to check out Bread’s resource "Getting Ready to Come Back: An Advocacy Guide for Mission Teams," available at www.bread.org/store.

Church Service

If your church sees Bread as a central part of its mission, consider asking congregants to write letters during a worship service. The sermon should tie closely with the issue, and congregants should be given at least 10 minutes to write in silence. We recommend this only for churches that are highly engaged with Bread. Distribute half-sheets of cardstock and pens before service. End by bringing the letters forward for a blessing.

You Did It! Fill out your Offering of Letters feedback form.

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