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Hunger & Poverty
The ministry of presence is important in God’s mission. Yet even when a global pandemic causes cancellation of short-term mission trips, congregations and presbyteries in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are showing care and compassion in creative and urgently needed ways from afar.
Congregations striving to maintain their outward incarnational focus, one of the seven marks of congregational vitality, can thrive for at least two reasons: they’re ministering to others while at the same time being ministered to.
With the coronavirus continuing to infect scores of people daily worldwide, the number of people experiencing acute hunger is expected to skyrocket globally, and some partners of the Presbyterian Hunger Program say the economic ramifications of the pandemic already are hurting the ability of people around the globe to feed themselves and their families.
On March 15, the Kenyan government confirmed the first cases of COVID-19 and announced a nationwide ban on large gatherings, along with the closure of schools and nonessential businesses. Two days later, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) held a press conference to announce the closure of its worship services in adherence with the government directive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on communities of color across the country. And while black and brown people are adversely affected in times of health and economic crisis because of decades of systemic racism and poverty, they remain resilient in their ability to forge ahead despite structural obstacles.
The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, recent attacks and ridicule of people of Asian descent during the pandemic and many other horrifying examples all point out why the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) must be a Matthew 25 church, even as the coronavirus still keeps many Christians from worshiping and doing ministry in person.
It was early March, and the daily routine at Atlanta’s Mercy Community Church had been thrown for a loop.
Yearning to break free from a life hindered by addiction, Lori Flick walked into Columbia Presbyterian Church in south-central Pennsylvania almost seven years ago and found a place of refuge.
As scientists work at a furious pace to find answers and a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, the death rate from the pandemic continues to take its toll on this country, having taken the lives of more than 81,000 people as of Tuesday. Statistics tell us that in the U.S. this pandemic is killing black and brown people at a disproportionate rate in communities across the nation.
Recognizing a rapid increase in demand for food assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program has announced $113,000 in grants to help churches and community groups weather the coronavirus storm and build capacity to address hunger.