The Joining Hands Initiative is an innovative way to mobilize people in focused campaigns to tackle systemic causes of hunger both in the United States and abroad as a witness to the wholeness of God’s creation. Joining Hands is committed to a holistic hunger ministry and its work is integrated with the mandate of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, outlined in the 1979 PC (USA) Common Affirmation on World Hunger. The five components of the mandate are: Relief of chronic hunger, development assistance, public policy advocacy, lifestyle integrity and hunger education. It also considers that spiritual wholeness is necessary for a sustainable community as indicated in Hope for a Global Future and adds this dimension to the five programmatic areas mentioned above.
Both presbyteries and congregations are invited to work within a denominational coalition that joins with marginalized people in ten countries, including churches, nonprofit organizations, community groups and members of other faith traditions – what we call communities of mission practice, who in disciplined ways, engage the world together through common spiritual and ethical values. Rather than replicate project-based mission, the goal of Joining Hands is to organize together in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres to campaign for peaceful social change in a globalized world.
Most of the issues identified by global partners as contributing to poverty abroad are also relevant in the United States. This effort is not about going somewhere else to do mission. Instead, we look together at the immense troubles we all face on a small planet and pull together in prayer, research, repentance, and in a process of mutual transformation that reflects our shared commitment to restoring the wholeness of God’s creation by contributing to the building of a more peaceful and just world.
We envision a spiritually grounded movement that:
- addresses the root causes of injustice, inequity, and the lack of human dignity
- promotes the self-sufficiency of poor and marginalized groups
- confronts and influences the structures of exploitation and injustice
- models democratic and participatory decision-making at all levels
- draws upon common values and unites peoples of diverse faiths in worldwide action
- involves congregations in global partnership