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Bread and JustFaith Expand Partnership

Organizations that ‘stir the pot’

June 2010

God calls us to live and work on behalf of the vulnerable among us—and with each other. These partnerships can nourish us in our struggle to bring about more compassionate policies that affect hungry and poor people.

The relationship between Bread and JustFaith Ministries is an example of this kind of solidarity. JustFaith, headquartered in Louisville, offers educational programs all over the country for small groups of Christians who want to deepen their commitment—individually and within their churches—to people in need.

Bread partnered with JustFaith three years ago to produce an ecumenical version of its curriculum. The original curriculum, which includes readings, films, prayer, and retreats, was targeted mainly toward Roman Catholics. The two organizations expanded their relationship, making Bread a full partner in the ecumenical and Catholic versions.

Meg Bowerman, a Bread member and JustFaith board member in Oakland, CA, finds the partnership helpful in many ways. When she completed JustFaith’s 30-week curriculum a few years ago, which included readings from Art Simon’s book How Much is Enough? she saw that the organizations’ work complemented each other perfectly.

“People who take this curriculum are excited,” Bowerman says. “But if they don’t pray or discern possible next steps, they may fall back into old habits—particularly if their pastor or congregation isn’t focused on these issues.”

As a volunteer regional coordinator for JustFaith, Bowerman is trying to nurture JustFaith groups in her area by bringing Bread organizers and staff to speak to participants

Pat Plant—also a JustFaith board member—is a Hunger Action Enabler for the Presbytery of San Jose, CA, whose job is to “stir the pot” at churches on behalf of hunger and poverty issues. Plant has also supported Bread for many years, including attending National Gatherings and Lobby Days, and hosting Offerings of Letters.

When Plant piloted the ecumenical curriculum Bread helped develop at her church, Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, it was an instant hit.

“JustFaith is a good way to introduce people to Bread,” she says. “The lessons ask: Why would a Christian advocate on behalf of hungry people? We read books and watch films that help us learn more about U.S. and global hunger. This can help church people get beyond knowing, reading, and talking—to doing.”

The JustFaith classes Plant works with incorporate Offerings of Letters and many include visits from Bread organizers and staff. She has found working with both groups valuable in expanding her network for Bread and her presbytery.

“This partnership can only build more advocates,” Plant says.

Erin Brown, who works for a San Francisco nonprofit that provides services designed to end family poverty, is currently enrolled in a JustFaith program.

“The JustFaith process has been fantastic, and I’m delighted there is a relationship with Bread,” she says. “Together, you communicate why faith and spirituality remain relevant and necessary, and help Christians respond to Christ’s calling to serve our brothers and sisters.”

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