Online worship service precedes Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Wednesday broadcast one of many ways to delve into poverty eradication

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Jeanie Shaw, leader of the Eventide Community, gives food to an unhoused man in Sacramento. (Photo by Nancy Disher)

LOUISVILLE — In preparation for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the Presbyterian Hunger Program is inviting individuals and congregations to watch the encore presentation of a worship service exploring the Church’s biblical call to end poverty.

The online service, which was conducted in collaboration with the Poor People’s campaign, focuses on systemic and racialized poverty and will be broadcast at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Nov. 10, on the denomination’s Facebook page.

“This event is a replay of [a portion of] the August 2021 Week of Action in the PC(USA) and is an ongoing, relevant, and critical message as to how and why we are called to eradicate systemic poverty as part of our Christian faith,” said the Rev. Rebecca Barnes, PHP Coordinator.

The Rev. Rebecca Barnes

Featured speakers include the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, a Presbyterian minister who co-chairs the Poor People’s Campaign, and Minister Savina Martin from the Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign. The video also includes various representatives from the Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

To learn more about Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, read the following Presbyterian News Service Q&A with Andrew Kang Bartlett, National Associate for PHP.

Tell us more about the awareness week coming up Nov. 13-21.

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which began in 1975, is celebrated every year. During the week, people around the U.S. raise consciousness and encourage action around the problems of hunger and homelessness. PC(USA) has been participating for many years and lifts up these issues on Sunday, Nov. 14.

Why should congregations and individuals consider participating?

Hunger and homelessness can be ended if we can organize enough people and create the political will to do so. Our congregations join with groups all over the country, who mark the date by holding educational, service, worship and advocacy events.

Andrew Kang Bartlett (Photo by Rich Copley)

The work of ending hunger and providing shelter is central to our faith and the PC(USA)’s Matthew 25 commitment to end systemic poverty. Most of our congregations are already in this struggle and Nov. 14 offers us a great chance to highlight the issue during worship and to spend the week mobilizing more people to join in these efforts.

For those who need ideas, what are some good ways to observe the week or day?

Call up your pastor and suggest they preach on hunger and homelessness. Maybe provide them with a story from your own community. Offer a prayer of gratitude for shelter and food and pray that every person will be afforded these basic rights. Mobilize your hunger or mission committee to hold an educational, service, or advocacy event during the week — or form a committee if you don’t have one. And send a special donation to support your denomination’s Hunger Program!

How does this day fit in with the mission of the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Matthew 25?

Hunger and homelessness are a daily reality for millions of people in our rich country and we know that feeding programs and shelters are temporary fixes. PHP and Matthew 25 insist on looking at the root causes — the systemic drivers — of hunger and homelessness, and to not only look but to reform and recreate the systems that otherwise perpetuate these solvable problems. Hunger and Homelessness Sunday sheds light on these issues and lights a fire under our feet. Let us jump into action!

Where can people find good resources?

People can find good resources on PHP’s Hunger and Homelessness Sunday page. There also is the video that will be shown on Nov. 10 (and can be viewed anytime). Finally, here is a short video segment about affordable housing and the power of Congregation-Based Community Organizing.

The Presbyterian Hunger Program is one of the Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. It is supported by your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.

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