Listening and humility are keys to achieving sustainable solutions that eliminate poverty
by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — The final in a series of four 2023 Matthew 25 online workshops working toward eradicating systemic poverty will be held beginning at noon Eastern Time on Monday, Oct. 30. Individuals and congregations involved in working with communities in the U.S. and overseas on hunger issues can register to attend here.
“In It for the Long Haul” will focus on international accompaniment for long-term sustainable development that results in lasting social change addressing poverty’s root causes.
Valéry Nodem, associate for International Hunger Concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program, is one of the featured speakers.
“This conversation is important. As we try to respond to immediate challenges that communities around the world are facing today, we also want to ensure that our work addresses systemic issues in the long term,” said Nodem. “We really believe that churches involved in fighting poverty need to understand root causes and give themselves time to work with communities. Some injustices, like fighting corruption or water contamination, cannot be fixed in a year.”
“Part of this discussion is inviting churches to respond to what people need right now, whether it is hunger or a disaster. But if you want to be a Matthew 25 church and deal with systemic injustice, you have to commit to staying in one place for a longer period and really accompany people and work within their own context. The long-term goal is not needing the church anymore; they can eventually do it themselves.”
Joining Nodem on the panel are the Rev. Sarah Henken, a PC(USA) mission co-worker and Colombia’s Young Adult Volunteer site coordinator, and Dr. Rolando Pérez, Associate Professor at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) and the University of Lima. He is also engaged in the Latin American Churches and Mining Network and the Peru Joining Hands Network.
Henken will discuss her work in Colombia and draw a connection between peace and achieving peace as an integral element toward eliminating poverty. Pérez will speak to the church’s accompaniment in La Oroya, Peru, and the role that listening plays in addressing systemic causes of poverty.
Listening and being humble are key elements to this work, noted Eileen Schuhmann, associate for global engagement and resources in the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
“Coming from a humility stance, you don’t know what a community needs. You need to be open to what they communicate about, what they need and what they have asked for in terms of help,” said Schuhmann. “There are always good intentions by churches, but some think they know what needs to be addressed with the highest priority. A community might need ‘that,’ but they might need something else first, or they may have completely different needs than those identified by churches.”
Real-time Spanish interpretation for this workshop will be available. Please select it when completing your workshop registration.
Two additional Matthew 25 webinars are scheduled for Nov. 6 and Nov. 9. Presented by the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries (REWIM), “Pushback, Process to Progress” focuses on dismantling racism. The Nov. 6 event is for Black Indigenous People of Color and the November 9 event is for white allies.
To watch previous Matthew 25-focused workshops, visit the online showcase here.
A comprehensive list of Matthew 25-related resources, including Bible study and worship resources, other online events, bulletin inserts, dismantling structural racism and building congregational vitality resources, can be found on the Matthew 25 resource page.
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