By Bread Staff
On Oct. 16 or another Sunday this fall, thousands of churches across the country will lift up God’s vision of a world without hunger. Here is how some churches connect the day with their larger ministry of responding to those in need.
Christ Lutheran is a small church in one of Ohio’s poorest counties. Poverty and hunger are big topics in Athens, Ohio. That’s why the church’s food pantry and the CROP Walk are important to the congregation. But Rev. Lynn Miller sees the church’s involvement in Bread for the World as different. “Bread for the World Sunday gives us the opportunity to teach the importance of advocacy and its impact,” she says. “The church is a member of Bread for the World, but I encourage Christ Lutheran households to join, too.”
On Bread for the World Sunday, everything at Christ Lutheran—including the kids’ program—focuses on hunger in God’s world and how parishioners can help through advocacy. “In Athens, we’re blessed with incredible local sources of fresh bread,” Miller says. “So we have all sorts of breads and rolls stacked high on the altar and in baskets below the altar.”
“Everyone knows it’s Bread for the World Sunday,” Miller says. “They write a check that will go to Bread for the World. Then after the service, they choose a loaf or a bag of rolls.”
“You can’t do much of anything when you have nothing to eat,” says Rev. Jerry Hill of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church in Greenville, S.C. “More than 836 million people worldwide live in extreme poverty, surviving many days on as little as a third of a cup of simple carbs like rice,” he continues. “Yet with a large and relatively wealthy congregation, it can still be a challenge to get traction around hunger awareness.”
“We want to spur people to walk in the shoes of hungry people, to feel their hunger,” says Hill. For the entire month of October this year, church members are being invited to walk in solidarity with hungry and poor people. “We’ll reach out in sermons and bulletin articles all month. We’ll kick off October 2 by hosting a Rice Fast—a meal consisting of a third of a cup of rice. During the evening, we’ll share our hunger experience, and write our Congressmen to encourage funding to feed all God’s children.”
Hill concludes, “We observe Bread for the World Sunday because we want people to know we can make a big difference by going up the ‘food chain’ and pressing our elected officials to end hunger.”
For 39 years, John Lally has led the Offering of Letters at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. For Bread for the World Sunday, all of those who attend one of the parish’s five weekly masses—including the Spanish-language mass— will receive Bread’s informational flier and a contribution envelope in the church bulletin.
Lally has quadrupled the impact of his efforts on behalf of Bread for the World by forging a partnership with four nearby churches. He’s also placed op-eds and letters in the local newspaper. At 80 years old, Lally has started training his replacement for organizing Bread for the World activities at Holy Name of Mary. His successor is a youngster of 60.
“Activism is a long distance run,” Lally notes. “Bread for the World is based on Christ’s message,” he adds. “It is important to support hunger-related charities with financial support. But the way Bread for the World inspires us to advocate for legislative change? This is what makes progress happen.”
For more information about Bread for the World Sunday and materials to order or download, go here.