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Presbyterian churches to be celebrated for hunger work

New Hunger Action Congregation covenant launched today

by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – For nearly 50 years, the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) has worked with Presbyterians and global partners towards the common goal of ending hunger and poverty. Now PHP is expanding that to recognize congregations involved in hunger work through a covenant called Hunger Action Congregations.

PHP wants to hear from congregations that are doing at least one of the following six activities:

  • Hunger Alleviation — providing or sharing food while looking for long-term structural solutions
  • Development Assistance — addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty through sustainable development
  • Hunger Education — learning about systemic causes of hunger and working directly with those involved
  • Lifestyle Integrity — adopting sustainable personal and corporate lifestyles to restore justice and protect God’s creation
  • Corporate and Public Policy Witness — advocating and campaigning for changes in policies and practices to end hunger
  • Worship — incorporate prayer, education and preaching about ending hunger and its causes.

“We celebrate and are grateful for local congregations who are working to help alleviate hunger in their communities,” said Rebecca Barnes, PHP coordinator. “This new program will help us to recognize congregations on two levels: one is for a congregation that covenants to care for those who are hungry and is doing some level of hunger ministry. Another level is for a congregation that would like to be certified, meaning it is operating across the board in all six areas mentioned. We hope this tool will help to connect, equip and support Presbyterian congregations, wherever they are in their hunger ministry.”

“Presbyterians have historically and faithfully responded to this biblical call to feed the hungry and create conditions for people to feed themselves. We estimate as many as 90 percent of all churches are already doing this kind of work,” said Andrew Kang Bartlett, associate for national hunger concerns. “We want to celebrate their efforts and create a sense of community and connection with other congregations.”

“A purpose of the program is to acknowledge and also invigorate churches in the faithful work they are doing to end hunger,” he said.

Kang Bartlett hopes the designation will inspire churches — by hearing stories and ideas from Presbyterians in other places — to support new ways to help people provide for their families. “It really is a human and political choice to put things in place that would ensure healthy food for everybody.”

All Hunger Action Congregations who have completed the covenant will be celebrated on World Food Day — Oct. 16. The application can be found online.

“The covenant is very accessible. A broad variety of approaches to the common goal of ending hunger is included. A church can share food or send volunteers to a local soup kitchen to be considered,” said Kang Bartlett. “Only one activity per church is necessary to become a Hunger Action Congregation.”


The Presbyterian Hunger Program is able to work with global partners to end hunger and poverty around the world because of gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing.

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