Durango, CO: ‘Our Voices Bubble Up’
Listen: Bread's 2012 Hunger Report
Bread is asking for your voice
“I tell our church members [that] right now, Bread for the World is not asking for your money. It’s simpler than that—and more powerful,” says Jigger Staby, a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Durango, CO. “They are asking for your voice.”
Staby says she enjoys connecting parishioners at Christ the King with issues outside the church doors. She and John Condie, co-chairs of the church’s social ministry committee, encourage members to be active in Bread’s work to end hunger. This year for the first time, the church’s Offering of Letters featured a DVD from Bread at all three weekly services.
For nearly a decade now, members of the parish have hand-delivered their letters to the local office of their representative in Congress. Staby reports that congressional staff members appreciate hearing from the church every year and praise Bread for the World’s materials.
She is quick to point out the importance of Rev. John Knutson’s support for Bread and the church’s other helping ministries. “Our voices bubble up from the bottom. But when Pastor John weaves advocacy into his sermon, he sends a gentle yet powerful message,” she says.
The pastor says he is blessed to be in a congregation like Christ the King, where the issue is understood and people love to participate in letter-writing. “Helping people is in their DNA,” Pastor John said.
Staby has many stories of the enthusiastic response of fellow parishioners. One year, a woman and her two sons visited a table set up by the social ministry committee that offered information on Bread for the World and the Offering of Letters.
“One of the sons just lit up,” Staby remembers. “He got it, that he could talk to people who matter about hunger. He wrote a letter right then and there, and received one in return. That made a big impact!” Inspired by such examples, the committee plans to work with the church’s new youth director to involve young people more deeply in action to end hunger.
The church’s social ministry committee has also led the way in getting other local churches involved. Christ the King’s efforts have spurred an anti-hunger campaign from other Lutheran churches in Colorado, “and now our local Unitarian Universalist Church is doing hunger advocacy,” Staby adds.
In addition to its advocacy, education, and outreach efforts, each year the church allocates a percentage of its budget to local, domestic, and international anti-hunger efforts. Bread is among the beneficiaries of the congregation’s generosity—another dimension of Christ the King’s anti-hunger commitment.
Matt Newell-Ching, Bread for the World’s western regional organizer, praises the dedication of Staby, Condie, and their fellow advocates, saying, “If we had five churches like Christ the King in every congressional district in the country, we’d be a lot closer to ending hunger in our time.”