ELCA World Hungerhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/2015 ELCA World Hunger Education & Networking Grants - apply now!Gina Tonnhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/646http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/646<div class="ExternalClass06336CA4962047BA83A55880B7156B16"><p><strong>ELCA World Hunger Education and Networking Grants</strong></p><p><em>2015 Request for Proposals </em></p><p>The ELCA World Hunger Education and Networking grants program is designed to support local programs in ELCA congregations, groups and/or synods. The grant opportunity encourages ELCA congregation, groups and/or synods to think creatively about educating, mobilizing, and expanding their networks to increase awareness of the root causes of and solutions to hunger. </p><p>Education grants can be used for events, educational programs or the development of shareable resources. For networking proposals, congregation-based and synod-based hunger leader events and trainings will be prioritized. </p><p>We are looking for proposals submitted by a non-profit charitable organization classified as a 501(c)(3) public charity by the Internal Revenue Service, or organization that operates under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3). Proposals must&#58;</p><ol><li>Provide a short (2-3 paragraphs) description of your congregation, group or organization and a narrative of the context in which the project, event or initiative will take place. This should clearly show what your program, congregation or group is attempting to address and how the proposal relates to the current priorities of ELCA World Hunger Education and Networking. </li><li>Summarize how the project, event or initiative will&#58; </li><ol><li>Educate and engage ELCA congregations, groups, and/or synods;</li><li>Influence this church body toward better action and engagement against hunger and poverty; and</li><li>Encourage sustainable participation in the anti-hunger work of ELCA World Hunger past the conclusion of the project, event or initiative. </li></ol><li>Provide a clear &quot;goal statement&quot; that summarizes the direction and focus of the program and defines the scope. </li><li>For education proposals, please list the learning objectives and audience for the event, resource or initiative which the grant will support.</li><li>List two or three specific, measurable outcomes by which the success of your proposal will be evaluated.</li><ol><li>At least one <em>process outcome</em>&#58; What activities will be completed in what specific time period?</li><li>At least one <em>impact outcome</em>&#58; What are the expected results – what change, by how much, where and when?</li></ol><li>Summarize the implementation strategies and methods and/or sustainability of your plan (identifying additional sources of funding if needed). If the project, event or initiative is an annual or cyclical occurrence, or you have previously applied for an ELCA World Hunger Education and Networking Grant, please include a summary of how you plan to create a self-sustaining program or how the program has grown and changed since the last grant received. </li><li>Demonstrate an ELCA connection with one letter of support by an ELCA pastor, bishop, or Lutheran agency/institution that explains how a relationship between the organization and ELCA World Hunger impacts/enhances each other's work and furthers the objectives and guidelines of ELCA World Hunger. </li><li>Include your organization's name, address, contact person, email, phone number, and tax ID number with your proposal.</li><li>The amount of funding you are seeking in a budget for the event, project or initiative using the format below&#58;</li></ol><table width="100%" cellspacing="0" class="ms-rteTable-default"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;33.33%;"><strong>Item</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;33.33%;"><strong>Amount</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;33.33%;"><strong>Explanation</strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Put the line item label here.</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Put the line item cost here.</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Describe how you came to that amount (show your calculations, if relevant). You may also use this section to further explain why you need this cost covered, if you believe that is not clear from the proposal.</td></tr></tbody></table><p>&#160;</p><p>Proposals will be reviewed throughout the year. All proposals must be received by <strong>December 31, 2015</strong> to be considered for funding. </p><p>If you have any questions please email <a href="mailto&#58;hunger@elca.org"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>hunger@elca.org</em></span></a>. </p></div>12/01/2015Charleston, SCOTUS and Hunger: What a Week!Ryan P. Cumminghttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/659http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/659<div class="ExternalClass41AD5FFF9C6E43A18727B642A7A3DF4B"><p>Whew, what a week!&#160; Even for the time, the second week of August 1965 was a whirlwind.&#160; On August 6, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act that protected suffrage for Americans of every race.&#160; The Act was the result of months of activism, including the actions in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. &#160;&#160;But even the joy of the moment could not mask that trouble was brewing out west.&#160; A few days later, on August 11, riots erupted in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. As Selma was celebrating, Watts was burning.</p><p>Fresh off success in the South, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., headed to California and was shocked by what he witnessed.&#160; Many folks today are surprised to learn that King's reception in Watts was less than enthusiastic.&#160; When he spoke, he was greeted with jeers&#58; &quot;Get out of here Dr. King!&#160; We don't want you!&quot;&#160; As theologian James Cone has pointed out, not even the Jim Crow South could prepare King for the depth of economic and social racism of Watts.</p><p>The trip marked a turning point for King.&#160; His message shifted; he started talking less about segregation and more about economic opportunity.&#160; What did it matter if a lunch counter served both blacks and whites, if blacks couldn't afford to eat there?&#160; When he was assassinated, you might recall, he was in Memphis, Tenn., campaigning with striking sanitation workers for fair pay, the right to organize, and safer job conditions.&#160;<strong> King lived fighting racial injustice and died fighting economic injustice</strong>, learning in 1965, as his counterpart Malcolm X has pointed out before his death, just how closely the two were connected.</p><p>Whew, what a week!&#160; As we close in on the 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and the Watts uprising, <a href="http&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/06/29/six-predominately-black-southern-churches-burn-within-a-week-with-arson-suspected-in-at-least-three/">black churches are burning</a>, videos of racial violence are flooding the airwaves, and a Lutheran racist murdered nine African Americans as they studied the bible in church.&#160; The more things change, the more they stay the same.</p><p>And yet, the times have changed.&#160; Supporters of a racially inclusive vision of the country (<a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/RaceSS.pdf?_ga=1.90940441.202766406.1386002600">and that should be all of us, by the way</a>) eagerly anticipate the (official) removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse following the murders in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.&#160; Supporters of marriage equality celebrated the Supreme Court's decision to protect the right to marry in every state.</p><p>You've come a long way, baby.&#160; But, man, there's still a long way to go.</p><p>Removing a flag is an important step, but it's just a step.&#160; In another Supreme Court decision this past week, the justices upheld a key part of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that allows advocates to bring claims of discrimination when the effects of a practice are discriminatory.&#160; What this means is that discrimination means much more than intent; when practices and policies disproportionately affect racial groups negatively, they are discriminatory.&#160; </p><p>This may help to address some of the more complex and challenging aspects of racism in the United States.&#160; </p><ul><li>Even when they had similar credit scores, people of color are <a href="http&#58;//www.epi.org/publication/webfeatures_snapshots_20080611/">more likely to receive subprime mortgages</a> with prepayment penalties than white borrowers.</li></ul><ul><li>Borrowers of color are also <a href="http&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/12/23/if-youre-poor-your-mortgage-rate-can-depend-on-the-color-of-your-skin/">more likely to get turned down for mortgages</a> than white borrowers with similar credit scores.</li></ul><ul><li><a href="http&#58;//www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=3&amp;ved=0CDAQFjAC&amp;url=http&#58;//iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/Author/shapiro-thomas-m/racialwealthgapbrief.pdf&amp;ei=mtSSVarKKsGbgwT00ZnoDw&amp;usg=AFQjCNGX2QSx_QwrwCRIi5TDmM5ohMYtpw&amp;bvm=bv.96783405%2cbs.1%2cd.cWw&amp;cad=rja">The median net worth of white households is nearly 20 times that of black households, due largely to massive disparities in home ownership. </a>&#160;(For a very good explanation of how this came to be the case, see <a href="http&#58;//www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-about-03.htm">here</a>.)</li></ul><ul><li>Young white men with felony convictions are <a href="http&#58;//ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/08/09/study-black-man-and-white-felon-same-chances-for-hire/">more likely to get called back</a> for job interviews than black men with no criminal history.</li></ul><ul><li>In 2013, more than 25% of <a href="http&#58;//www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/african-american-hunger/african-american-hunger-fact-sheet.html">African American</a> households and 24 percent of <a href="http&#58;//www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/latino-hunger/latino-hunger-fact-sheet.html">Latino</a> households were food insecure.&#160; By contrast, only 11 percent of white, non-Hispanic households were food insecure.</li></ul><p>Death-dealing racism wears many faces.&#160; Sometimes it looks like a white Lutheran (and, yes, we have to admit this) and sometimes it wears the more subtle but no less destructive mask of economic disenfranchisement and poverty.&#160; </p><p>The Supreme Court decision protecting rights to marriage will have far-reaching economic effects, protecting (for the first time, in many states) the right of spouses to receive much-needed Social Security benefits and protecting their right to shared assets if one spouse passes away.&#160; These are significant consequences that should be celebrated.&#160; But the decision leaves much work to be done.&#160; Gay and lesbian partners can now legally marry in all 50 states.&#160; They can also <a href="http&#58;//fortune.com/2015/06/26/gay-americans-can-marry-but-lack-workplace-protections/">legally be fired because of their sexual orientation</a> in 28 states.&#160; In more than half the states in the US, <a href="http&#58;//www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/non_discrimination_laws">you can legally be evicted or denied housing</a> if you are gay or lesbian.&#160; </p><p>The situation is even worse for transgender persons.&#160; Even fewer states offer workplace and housing protections for those who are transgender.&#160; An estimated <a href="http&#58;//www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=6&amp;ved=0CEkQFjAF&amp;url=http&#58;//www.nhchc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/in-focus_transgender_sep2014_final.pdf&amp;ei=_PCSVe_mBMTdgwTL9oqoDg&amp;usg=AFQjCNFtxKhUZPenvriyhz1SXDEn8bSVNw&amp;bvm=bv.96783405%2cd.eXY&amp;cad=rja">20% of transgender persons have unstable housing or are at risk for homelessness</a>. When they do seek help from a shelter, <a href="http&#58;//www.thetaskforce.org/static_html/downloads/HomelessYouth.pdf">they are often discriminated against</a>, even at shelters that are open to diverse sexual orientations.&#160; Gender identity is still stigmatized – at home, in workplaces, in churches, in shelters, and on the streets, where many LGBTQ youth find themselves.</p><p>Race, sexual orientation and gender identity intersect with policies and practices at critical points, and hunger and poverty can often be the results.&#160; </p><p>On June 18, 2015, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton issued a call to a day of repentance and mourning in the wake of the Charleston church murders.&#160; After this day, she wrote, &quot;then we need to get to work.&quot;&#160; She urged ELCA Lutherans to be involved&#58; &quot;We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act.&quot;&#160; </p><p>We do all of this with hope in the resurrected God and awareness of the crucified Christ.&#160; Lowering a flag does not enliven a dead body.&#160; Ensuring the right to marry for all people does not protect the rights to employment, housing or public accommodations for everyone.&#160; We live in the tension of the reign of God that is &quot;already&quot; here but &quot;not yet&quot; here fully.&#160; Too often, we get an appetizer of the &quot;already&quot; and gorge ourselves on the &quot;not yet.&quot;</p><p>This isn't about building a perfect world.&#160; As Lutherans, we know that the fullness of God's reign is God's doing.&#160; Nor is this about saving ourselves, as if our works can make us or our world righteous apart from God. </p><p><strong>It is not works-righteousness to strive for justice and peace in the world.</strong><strong>&#160; </strong><strong>It is works-righteousness to sit back contented and believe we have done enough.</strong>&#160; Striving for justice and peace in all the world is part of our baptismal calling.&#160; Believing we have striven enough, that lowering a flag or protecting one set of rights has cleared us from addressing the deeper, more entrenched symptoms of sin, is works-righteousness and threatens to undermine our baptismal vocation.&#160; God invites us into God's work of building a community of justice and peace here, now.&#160; God is already in the process of inaugurating God's perfect reign.&#160; We have been called to be workers in the vineyard.</p><p>There is some to celebrate, there is much to mourn and there is much to do. Addressing the root causes of hunger, a commitment our church has made through ELCA World Hunger, demands the kind of honesty Bishop Eaton asks of us.&#160; Despite where we land on various spectrums of politics and faith, we are all invited to share in God's work of crafting a world in which &quot;justice roll[s] down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream&quot; (Amos 5&#58;24).&#160; </p><p>Regardless of which way we might answer the latest, greatest CNN/Fox News/NBC/Whatever-you-like-media poll, we can at least unite around this as a confession of faith in the Gracious Creator&#58; no one should go hungry in a world of God's abundance.&#160; As our namesake, Martin Luther, once wrote, &quot;<strong>we are bound to each other in such a way that no one may forsake the other in his distress but is obliged to assist and help him as he himself would like to be helped</strong>&quot; (<em>Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague</em>, 1527).</p><p>We do this work not because we can make our world perfect, nor because we are compelled to obey a demanding God.&#160; We enter into the hard work of eradicating hunger because we seek God.&#160; And when there is suffering – from the direct violence of a shooter or the indirect violence of discriminatory economic practices – I can't help but recall the response to an execution in Elie Wiesel's <em>Night</em>&#58;&#160; &quot;Where is God?&#160; He is there, hanging from the gallows.&quot;&#160; We find God on the cross at Calvary, and we find God on the cross today, with those who have been excluded, marginalized and victimized.&#160; To fight hunger – authentically, Lutheran-ly – is to feed others and be fed ourselves, by the presence of God among our neighbors.</p><p><strong>What Can We Do?</strong></p><p>So what do we, as people of God called to anti-hunger ministries do, practically?&#160; There will be other suggestions (and I hope they are shared widely), but one step is to listen, as Bishop Eaton urges us.&#160; Start a listening campaign in your hunger ministry.&#160; If you are unsettled by the racism in Charleston, <strong>start listening </strong>for subtle and overt signs of racism in your ministry.&#160; More than that, listen for ways that your hunger ministry can be anti-racist and part of the broader solution.&#160; (For a great article on this, see <a href="http&#58;//onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2006.00582.x/abstract">Rachel Slocum's article, &quot;Anti-racist Practice and the Work of Community Food Organizations.&quot;</a>&#160; If you don't have a license, the article is still worth the purchase price.&#160; Or ask a college student to look it up on a library database.)</p><p><strong>Ask the right questions to the right people</strong>, too.&#160; Many ELCA members are unsupportive of the protection of marriage for all people, yet profess love for LGBTQ neighbors. How is this exemplified in our other ministries?&#160; For those who do support marriage equality, what other ways are you allying with the LGBTQ communities to address economic and social inequity? <strong>We may be one church under a big tent, but it is a tent in which ALL ought to be fed.</strong><br></p><p>Here are some other questions to ask&#58;</p><ul><li>Are our <strong>relief</strong> ministries welcoming and inclusive?&#160; </li><li>Do my congregation's or synod's hunger <strong>education</strong> programs include education about the intersections of hunger and racism, sexism and heterosexism?&#160; </li><li>Are our <strong>sustainable development</strong> programs – tutoring, job placement and assistance, community gardens, etc. – affirming of persons from diverse backgrounds?&#160; </li><li>Does my <strong>advocacy</strong> include demands for protection of rights to employment, housing and public services for all people, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation and ethnicity?</li><li>In our <strong>community organizing</strong>, are we listening to and affirming voices that have been often marginalized and silenced in our communities?<br></li><li>Is our ministry's <strong>leadership</strong> diverse?&#160; Is there intentional space for a variety of voices to be heard?</li><li>Are our <strong>communications</strong> not only sensitive to but <em>affirming</em> of diverse identities?</li></ul><p>ELCA World Hunger – from the team at the Churchwide organization to the local pantry in a congregation – can be part of the work God is inviting us into by listening and being open to what we hear.&#160; The challenges can seem so large, the issues so complex, but anti-hunger ministry is already an entrypoint to doing our part in God's work of reconciliation and renewal.&#160; I hope that we, as a Church <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Church_SocietySS.pdf?_ga=1.24265401.202766406.1386002600">&quot;gathered and shaped by the Holy Spirit to be a serving and liberating presence in the world,&quot;</a> take advantage of the opportunity we have to be the community we are called to be.&#160; </p><p>Maybe this is where we begin as ELCA World Hunger, with a season of listening for ways our Church's hunger ministries can be enriched by addressing discriminatory practices and policies not as &quot;race problems&quot; or &quot;sex problems&quot; but as what they are – root causes of hunger that create scarcity when there is abundance and exclusion when there is more than enough room at the table.</p><p>&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>&quot;Each of us and all of us need to examine ourselves, our church and our communities. We</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>need to be honest about the reality of racism within us and around us. We need to talk and we</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>need to listen, but we also need to act. No stereotype or racial slur is justified. Speak out against</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>inequity. Look with newly opened eyes at the many subtle and overt ways that we and our</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>communities see people of color as being of less worth. Above all pray – for insight, for</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>forgiveness, for courage. </em><em>&#160;</em><em>Kyrie Eleison.&quot; – <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7756">Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton</a></em></p><p>&#160;</p><p><em>Ryan P. Cumming, Ph.D., is program director of hunger education for ELCA World Hunger.</em><em>&#160; </em><em>He can be reached at Ryan.Cumming@ELCA.org.</em></p></div>07/02/2015Humanity and hungerAnna Smithhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/658http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/658<div class="ExternalClassA7F7353CC6F44632B8B8A2EF64A13816"><span><p><em>If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. - 1 John 3&#58;17 (The Message)</em></p><p>This past week, I was able to head to Wrigleyville, a Chicago neighborhood, to witness the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup victory celebration. Throughout the night I observed a great number of unsettling scenes unfolding. One in particular that deserves reflection occurred on the way home via public transit. I was transferring trains and walked through a tunnel among the sea of boisterous fans. Up ahead, someone caught my eye. There was a man sitting on the side of the tunnel. As I moved closer, I noticed he had signs made of cardboard. The two I remember said&#58;&#160; &quot;$1.00 for my daughter to eat,&quot; and &quot;$1.00 for the Blackhawks.&quot; The man was sitting there, holding a cup and staring at the wall across from him. My attention was quickly drawn away from him by the several fans shouting, &quot;GO HAWKS!&quot; I saw that every one of these people were walking straight by this man without sparing a dollar or even acknowledging that he was there. In particular what resonated with me about witnessing this occurrence is that most of us had probably spent dozens of dollars already that night on food, drinks and victory merchandise. Admittedly, I, too, fell victim to the pressure of my surroundings and continued to walk by this man just like everyone else. I spent the rest of my train ride home attempting to process what I saw and how I am called to respond as a Christian.</p><p>As I reflect on this, what first comes to mind is a late-night discussion I had while studying abroad in India last fall. We were discussing the practice of untouchability, an attitude based on the belief that certain people are &quot;impure&quot; that translates into a variety of behaviors, norms and physical acts. People in the Dalit community, with whom I spent my time, are most often considered &quot;untouchable.&quot;</p><p>During that discussion someone posed the question, &quot;Does untouchability happen in the United States?&quot; After a brief moment, we listed several examples, such as avoiding the &quot;bad part&quot; of town and sidestepping people who appear to be homeless. </p><p>What I witnessed that night – and, frankly, more often than not when I see people facing hunger on the street –&#160; looks a lot like untouchability. There is a sense that the person on the side of the road is unclean, unsafe or unworthy of our attention.<br></p><p>The Bible proclaims that we are ALL created in God's own image. As Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, &quot;So in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.&quot;&#160;As Christ commands, &quot;Love your neighbor as yourself.&quot; As Martin Luther wrote in &quot;Freedom of a Christian,&quot; &quot;Therefore, we should be guided in all our works by this one thought alone – that we may serve and benefit others in everything that is done, having nothing before our eyes except the need and advantage of the neighbor.&quot; And we as Lutherans speak of the model of accompaniment, or walking in solidarity with and among our brothers and sisters of all walks of life. How do we practice this outside of our church walls or away from planned mission trips or service events? What does it mean for us to recognize each person – <em>every</em> person – as the very image of God?</p><p>Reflecting on that experience on my way home, I wish I wouldn't have followed the crowd. This wasn't a matter of not giving a dollar, but rather the inner feeling that I, too, had ignored the humanity of the man with the signs. What would it look like for us to go from ignoring&#160;the person, to&#160;offhand giving and finally, beyond this, to really seeing the image of God in our brothers and sisters? How does our choice to give or not to give reflect our belief that God has created us in God's image and marked us as God's own? Maybe that means giving a dollar, or maybe it means asking a person his name or listening to her story. Maybe it means recognizing even those whom society deems &quot;untouchable&quot; as people worth knowing, worth listening to and worth seeing.</p><p><br></p><p><em>Anna Smith is an ELCA World Hunger intern working with Hunger Education this summer. She is currently a student at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.</em></p></span></div>06/24/2015Exploring: Community OrganizingRaymond Picketthttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/657http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/657<div class="ExternalClass21E3062ED30B408C9B215C9C670A1621"><div style="top&#58;-1999px;left&#58;-1988px;"><em>In this series of posts, we will take a closer look at some of the areas of work ELCA World Hunger supports domestically and internationally.&#160; Previously, we looked at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/650">relief, </a><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/654">education</a> and <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/655">advocacy</a>.</em><em>&#160;This week, we take a look at community organizing, and we welcome guest blogger and New Testament expert Dr. Raymond Pickett.&#160; Dr. Pickett is an ordained Lutheran pastor and Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.&#160; In addition to several articles and book reviews, he is the author of </em><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">The Cross in Corinth&#58; The Social Significance of the Death of Jesus</span><em> and is a contributor to the multi-volume Fortress series entitled </em><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">A Peoples' History of Christianity</span><em>, published in November of 2005. He also did the new SELECT DVD New Testament Introduction course with two other ELCA seminary professors.&#160; </em><em></em><br><p><br><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong></strong></span></p><p><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>What Is Community Organizing?</strong></span></p><p>Building relational power to transform communities!</p><p>Community organizing is a strategy and set of practices to build relational power with a view to bringing about social change that improves the quality of community life. The primary goal of community organizing is to connect with people around their values and passions in ways that engender collective public action. In community organizing, issues follow relationships. The foundation of community organizing is the relational meeting, which is a one-to-one conversation focused on learning the gifts, interests, energy, and vision of the person you are talking with. The aim of one-to-one conversations is to build relationships that motivate people to participate in public life.</p><p>As individuals, the social and economic issues that diminish the quality of our common life can be overwhelming and lead to a sense of futility and powerlessness that prompts people to withdraw into private life. Community organizing brings people together around their shared interests to form bonds of mutuality and accountability that empower them to take action to improve their communities.</p><p>Historically community organizing has worked with existing communities, especially faith communities, to effect social and political change by focusing on specific issues of concern. The <a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Publicly-Engaged-Church/Congregation-based-Community-Organizing">ELCA </a>has a longstanding involvement in congregation-based community organizing. One way to think about community organizing is as a practical strategy for enacting the church's mission &quot;to bear witness to God's creative, redeeming, and sanctifying activity in the world&quot; (<a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Constitutions_of_the_ELCA_April_2015.pdf?_ga=1.61066607.27652230.1432567179">ELCA Constitution, Chapter 4.01</a>). Some congregations use the practices of community organizing to get know their neighbors and become more involved in their communities. </p><p>Congregations that are involved with community organizing also frequently discover that it is an effective way to identify and train leaders, and also a process for developing a relational culture within the congregation. Working with community organizing networks and partnering with others for the sake of God's justice in the world is also a way of becoming a more public church empowered by the Spirit to effect transformation in the world.</p><p><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Roots of Community Organizing</strong></span></p><p>Throughout Scripture God is depicted as the One who creates, and first and foremost what God creates is a people, a community, that embodies in their life together the divine reality. Scripture in all of its diversity presupposes the existence of a covenant community that God calls into being and liberates from slavery. It is a community of people defined by relationship with a God who is experienced as loving, merciful and just. The Torah provides a vision for how to structure the life of the community, and the prophets hold those in power accountable to this vision that is predisposed to its most vulnerable members. </p><p>From the beginning to the end of Scripture God raises up leaders who faithfully embody God's purposes for the covenant community. In the Gospels Jesus is anointed by the Spirit and empowered to &quot;to bring good news to the poor … proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free&quot; (Luke 4&#58;18). In his Galilean ministry Jesus was leading a social movement to renew community life. In addition to restoring to community people on the margins of Israelite society such as &quot;sinners and tax collectors&quot;, Jesus also addressed the physical and material needs of colonized people who were disenfranchised by imperial policies and practices. </p><p>A good example of community organizing in the Gospels are the meals and feeding stories which presuppose hunger as a constant reality in peoples' lives.&#160; The sharing of meals was part of Jesus' program to restore, from the bottom up, a society fractured by urbanization and commercialization. In Mark 6&#58;30-44 and 8&#58;1-10 the appetites of five thousand and four thousand people respectively are satisfied by the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. While these stories serve to declare God's abundant provision in the midst of what looks like scarcity, they also highlight underlying structural issues of unjust distribution of resources.</p><p>Jesus goes to Jerusalem as a prophet to address issues of poverty and exploitation in Galilee by performing what community organizers call an <em>action </em>in the Temple where he cites Jeremiah's Temple sermon as he confronts the Jerusalem aristocracy&#58; &quot;'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers.&quot; Power brokers in Jerusalem attempted to stop the movement Jesus started by crucifying him, but the movement continued when his followers encountered the risen Jesus.</p><p>The earliest documents in the New Testament are the letters of Paul written in the 40s and 50s of the first century. Paul's letters portray someone who is establishing counter-cultural communities by building relationships in the public square with people from varied backgrounds. In other words, he was a community organizer.</p><p>A thread which ties the story of God's people together in the First Testament with its continuation in the Gospels and Paul is the command to love God and to &quot;love your neighbor as yourself&quot; (Lev 19&#58;18; Mark 12&#58;28-31; Romans 13&#58;8-10). One way to imagine community organizing is as a practical approach for getting to know and loving our neighbors.</p><p><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Examples of Community Organizing</strong></span></p><p>The <strong>Organizing for Mission Cohort</strong><strong> </strong>is a national network of pastors and leaders in the ELCA who are using the arts of community organizing in creative ways to develop and re-develop communities of faith by building relationships with people from diverse backgrounds who may be reluctant to go to a traditional church but who yearn for a connection with God and others and want to make a difference in their communities.</p><p>In the last 10 years, hunger has increased 40% in Missoula, Montana.&#160; The <strong>Missoula Interfaith Collaborative Hunger Initiative</strong> is building a network of 15 congregations to coordinate 15 food drives, producing 45,000 pounds of food. This network is also working together to raise community awareness about the root causes of hunger.&#160; Lastly, organizing people who utilize the food bank and people in congregations, MIC will build an advocacy network in preparation for the 2015 Montana State Legislature.&#160; The MIC Hunger Initiative is supported in part by ELCA World Hunger.</p><p>Transportation is a critical foundation to preventing hunger and food insecurity in Jefferson City, Missouri. &#160;A lack of evening and weekend services creates major obstacles to people getting to work and to other important services, including community education programs. The congregations involved in <strong>Jefferson City Congregations Uniting</strong> want to help improve access to transportation for Jefferson City residents who are transit-dependent, especially those who are elderly, disabled or poor. By working with the City Council to create a task force of community stakeholders, including transit riders, they will help develop creative solutions to expand public transportation in Jefferson City.&#160; This project is supported in part by ELCA World Hunger.</p><br><em>The ELCA World Hunger blog is edited by Ryan P. Cumming, program director for hunger education.&#160; He can be reached at Ryan.Cumming@ELCA.org. </em><br></div></div>06/17/2015Welcome to ELCA World Hunger's 2015 Summer Interns!ELCA World Hungerhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/656http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/656<div class="ExternalClassC713BEAF0FD24A559DF7D646554A15AC"><p><strong>June 4, 2015</strong><br></p><p><br><em></em></p><p><em>This summer, ELCA World Hunger welcomes three new interns to our team at the churchwide office!</em></p><img alt="" style="width&#58;252px;margin&#58;5px;" /><p><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Anna Smith- Hunger Education</strong></span></p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20World%20Hunger/Browse/anna.jpg" alt="anna.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;247px;" /></p><p>Hello! My name is <strong>Anna Smith</strong>. I come from the town of Osceola, Wisc. I am will be a senior this fall at Concordia College. I am studying Global Studies-Development and Psychology. This upcoming year will be busy for me as I serve as the Social Justice Coordinator for Campus Ministry Commission and the Co-Service Lead for Better Together Interfaith Alliance. A fun fact about me is that I actually spent my first year of college in San Antonio, Texas, at Trinity University. </p><p>I have always been passionate about social justice issues but that really came to the forefront of my life after I spent the fall of my junior year on the Social Justice, Peace, and Development Program in India. We intensively studied class inequality, food insecurity, and the implications of war, among other things. It was during my time in India I saw the world's great need for justice and I committed my life to working towards that in every way I can. That commitment along with my deep Lutheran faith is what led me here this summer. </p><p>I have spent the past three summers of my life working at Luther Point Bible Camp in Grantsburg, Wisc. I am looking forward to this summer and finding new ways to live out my faith in a different environment. I love the big cities and I foresee enjoying living in the Windy City very much so. Although I haven't been to Chicago since I was in Elementary school –way back when Willis Tower was still the Sears Tower. I can already tell my time here will be one filled with adventure, learning and spiritual growth!</p><img alt="" style="width&#58;248px;margin&#58;5px;" /><p><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Jennifer (Jenny) Sharrick- Constituent Engagement </strong></span></p><p><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20World%20Hunger/Browse/jenny.jpg" alt="jenny.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;254px;" /></span></span></span></span></p><p><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"></span></span></span>Hi everyone, I'm <strong>Jenny</strong>! I am so absolutely thrilled to be the newest constituent engagement intern. In my life outside of Chicago, I am a master's in public health student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. My concentration is focused generally around Maternal and Child Health, but my specific passion areas are domestic rural food insecurity and hunger, as well as reproductive health and comp<span id="part1"></span>rehensive sexuality education. My undergraduate education focused on biopsychology and religion. Then I took a quick detour to medical school, before landing in the amazing field of public health. </p><p>My call is somewhere in the intersection of medicine, ministry, and justice. And while I am still discerning exactly what that means for the future, continuing my work with ELCA World Hunger seemed an appropriate fit. </p><p>My work within the Church has been varied, but bountiful. I have served as an intern in a parish for youth and young adult ministry and Campus Ministry Associate for Nebraska Lutheran Campus Ministry at Hastings College.&#160; I have also been on my synod's hunger team for several years now. Additionally, I am a member of the ELCA Young Adult Cohort which went to the United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women this past March. </p><p>Service learning and volunteering have been integral to my background (my Dad is so proud to say that my very first meeting with a service organization was within a week of my birth). This has taken on various forms over the years. One organization I am especially proud to be associated, offers free chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and treatment as well as reproductive health education to inmates in the county jail (unfortunately the county where I currently reside has an epidemic associated with both of these STIs). While that likely doesn't sound all that appealing to many of you, the men and women I have met have had a profound impact on my life and have taught me much more about life than what I've learned in the classrooms of medical school and public health. Empowering and educating people to make the best health decisions for themselves has truly become a passion of mine because of this. </p><p>In my spare time, I love spontaneous dance parties and going on adventures whilst wearing my sequined fanny pack. My seven-year-old goddaughter likes to tell everyone that my favorite color is &quot;glitter&quot; and I have a special affection for beautiful shoes. </p><img alt="" style="width&#58;223px;margin&#58;5px;" /><p><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Ben Brown- Fundraising</strong></span></p><p></p><p><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20World%20Hunger/Browse/ben.jpg" alt="ben.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;165px;" /></span></span></span></span></p><p><span id="part1"><span><span id="part1"><span></span></span></span></span>Hi my name is <strong>Ben Brown,</strong> and I am the ELCA World Hunger Fundraising Intern and I will also be working some with the ELCA Malaria Campaign. I am a rising senior year at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio in the fall studying <span id="part1"><span></span></span>Religion and Political Science. I come to Chicago after spending the spring semester studying in Washington, DC with students from other Lutheran colleges where I interned with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC) as the Public Policy and Fundraising Intern. When not at Wittenberg, I call Indianapolis home. </p><p>I am passionate about issues of social justice, specifically hunger and food justice and the ways in which faith can play a role in that work. At Wittenberg I spend my time in Weaver Chapel with Campus Ministries and in the community through my work in our community service office. Through my experiences in Springfield's community gardens and Promise Neighborhood and with Wittenberg's CROP Walk I have come to learn a lot about the realities of hunger and the ways communities come together to end it.&#160; In the future I hope to pursue a career in advocacy, but first hopefully a year with one of the many service-year programs, like LVC! </p><p>For fun I have recently discovered a love for the Indy 11, Indianapolis' soccer team. I also really love eating and look forward to exploring Chicago by way of its food. </p><p>I am really excited to be with ELCA World Hunger this summer and hope to learn a lot and grow while I'm here!</p><p>&#160;</p></div>06/04/2015Exploring: AdvocacyRyan P. Cumminghttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/655http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/655<div class="ExternalClass9E99B8B91A2F4C5582590846017F3B4C"><p>​May 21, 2015<br></p><p><span><span><em>In this series of posts, we will take a closer look at some of the areas of work ELCA World Hunger supports domestically and internationally.&#160; Previously, we looked at <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/650">relief </a>and <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/654">education</a>.&#160; </em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/650"><em></em></a><em>This week, our focus is on &quot;advocacy.&quot; </em></span></span><br><span style="font-size&#58;17.3333px;"></span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;17.3333px;">The Work We Do&#58; Advocacy</span><br></p><p><strong>What Is Advocacy?</strong></p><p>Speak up! </p><p>Advocacy is a public witness to the gospel of Christ where the church speaks with and on behalf of others in need.&#160; It is the work the church does when it speaks up and out, lending its voice to support, to vindicate, and to challenge.&#160; One of the most visible forms of advocacy is public policy advocacy.&#160; This includes listening to the experiences of community members, lifting up these experiences during conversations with policymakers, and educating Lutherans about current priorities in government.&#160; It also includes working for change in public policy based on priorities drawn from ELCA social statements, Lutheran ministries, programs and projects around the world. Our public policy advocacy colleagues at the state, national and international levels are often in deep conversation with Lutherans in the ELCA and with our ecumenical partners about the impact of policies on hunger.</p><p>Advocacy doesn't just happen in the halls of government, though.&#160; Any time we bring our voices to bear on issues of justice, we are advocating in the spirit of the church's calling to be advocates of justice and mercy (ELCA, &quot;Church in Society,&quot; [1991], p. 6.)&#160; This can be something as seemingly small as writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper to inform readers of the realities of hunger and poverty.&#160; Or, it can be correcting colleagues at work or friends at school whose prejudices disparage people facing hunger.&#160; Speaking up, being advocates, is central to the work we do together.</p><p>Many Lutherans do this often.&#160; When misinformation and xenophobia galvanized opposition to unaccompanied children crossing the border from Mexico this summer, <a href="http&#58;//bishopmike.com/2014/07/18/a-visit-with-children-at-the-border/">Bishop Michael Rinehart</a> (Gulf Coast Synod) used his blog to speak the truth and give voice to the realities many of these children face.&#160; In September 2014, <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7698">hundreds of ELCA members joined others in the People's Climate March</a> in New York to bring attention to issues related to climate change.&#160; There are countless other examples.</p><p>ELCA World Hunger supports staff dedicated to public policy advocacy.&#160; The Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC) in New York City is an office of the ELCA, but it also represents the Lutheran World Federation.&#160; The staff of LOWC advocate for peace, human rights, justice and better standards of living for all people.&#160; It monitors the United Nations on behalf of the ELCA and on behalf of the 72 million Christians represented by the LWF.&#160; Our ELCA Advocacy staff in Washington, DC, advocates with US policymakers on issues ranging from the Farm Bill to the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act.&#160; And our eleven State Public Policy Offices (SPPOs) across the country are voices for change on issues like minimum wage, school breakfasts, and access to clean water. </p><p><strong>Roots of Advocacy</strong></p><p>Biblically, many people trace the roots of public policy advocacy to the Prophets.&#160; When Amos cries out for &quot;justice in the gate&quot; (5&#58;15), he's demanding just and fair court practices. &#160;And even modern-day political rhetoric hardly approaches the vitriol expressed by the prophet Isaiah&#58; &quot;How the faithful city has become a whore!&#160; She that was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her – but now murderers!...Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves!&quot; (1&#58;21-23a).</p><p>There are some limits to applying the prophets to public policy in the here-and-now, most notably the fact that we in the US don't live in a theocracy, so purely religious arguments have little traction in the public square. But this is precisely where Lutheran theology steps in, providing a path for bringing faith to bear on public life in a way that doesn't demand that a government be Christian in order to be good.</p><p>We have a name for this theology&#58; two kingdoms.&#160; (I know, I know.&#160; Commence groaning.)&#160; The common name might not be the best to describe what is going on in this theology.&#160; A better phrase might be &quot;God's two ways of governing.&quot;&#160; On the one hand, God &quot;governs&quot; the world through the gospel.&#160; This is the foundation of God's reign in the perfect kingdom.&#160; Here, mercy, love and forgiveness are the guiding principles.&#160; </p><p>Of course, with sin, this doesn't always work in the &quot;real world.&quot;&#160; Here, today, people suffer.&#160; People cheat.&#160; Greed runs rampant. &#160;Is there no grace to be found in our daily lives?&#160; Is our faith merely a matter of waiting for Heaven?&#160; No!&#160; Sin hasn't left us to our own devices apart from God.&#160; Indeed, God graciously provides for us in another way as we await the fullness of God's perfect reign.&#160; Here, God has established other structures and principles to help us live meaningful lives now&#58; justice, peace, equity.&#160; </p><p>Human communities may not be perfect communities of love and mercy.&#160; But they can be communities of justice and peace, and this can give us a taste of what perfect justice and perfect peace might be like in God's full reign.&#160; They can be communities in which the dignity of each person is protected and in which every person has an equal shot at a life lived without fear, without hunger, without oppression.&#160; </p><p>In baptism, Lutherans are called to build this kind of community – &quot;to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.&quot;&#160; Doing so is so central to who we are as the people of God that, according to the bible, we cannot be an authentic worshipping community without being a justice-seeking community&#58; </p><p>In Isaiah's words&#58;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em>Yet day after day they seek me</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;and delight to know my ways,</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> they ask of me righteous judgments,</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;they delight to draw near to God. </em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em>'Why do we fast, but you do not&#160;see?</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?'</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> Look, you serve your own interest on your fast-day,</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;and oppress all your workers. </em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em>Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;and to strike with a wicked fist.</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> Such fasting as you do today</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;will not make your voice heard on high. </em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em>Is such the fast that I choose,</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;a day to humble oneself?</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> Will you call this a fast,</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;a day acceptable to the Lord? </em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em>Is not this the fast that I choose&#58;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;to loose the bonds of injustice,</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;to undo the thongs of the yoke,</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> to let the oppressed go free,</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em> &#160;&#160;&#160;and to break every yoke? (Isaiah 58&#58;2-6)</em></p><p>Or again, from Micah&#58;</p><p><em>&quot;With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?&quot; He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?</em> (Micah 6&#58;8)</p><p>Advocacy – being voices of justice in an unjust world, voices of peace in the midst of conflict, and voices of solidarity amid marginalization – is central to who we are as church and central to our work to end hunger.&#160; As Lutherans, we believe God has ordained that we have governments, churches, families, and communities not so that some profit while others hunger but so that all may be fed.&#160; Our work as policy advocates and public advocates in other areas of our life is a key part of our role in God's establishment of a world worth living in and, if the health outcomes of hunger are any indication, a world that is possible to live in.</p><p><strong>Examples of Advocacy </strong></p><p>In December 2014, ELCA Advocacy urged followers to support <a href="https&#58;//www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/647">the ABLE Act</a>, which passed in the US House of Representatives by a 404-17 vote. The ABLE Act would allow people with disabilities to set up savings accounts for housing, transportation, educational opportunities, and other expenses without jeopardizing their eligibility for Medicaid and Social Security benefits. The act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in January 2015.</p><p>Also in December 2014, the <a href="http&#58;//www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=SB&amp;DocNum=2758&amp;GAID=12&amp;SessionID=85&amp;LegID=78572">Secure Choice Savings Program Act</a> was approved by the General Assembly of Illinois, with support from <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacy.org/">Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois</a>.&#160; This act will give millions of private sector workers in Illinois the opportunity to save their own money for retirement by expanding access to employment-based retirement savings accounts, a benefit more than 2.5 million workers do not have.&#160; With <a href="http&#58;//www.nfesh.org/research/">food insecurity affecting nearly 15% of seniors</a> in Illinois, this act could be a significant step in reducing hunger among retirees.</p><p>The Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry in New Jersey is currently in the midst of working toward passage of a <a href="http&#58;//www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/10/bill_to_require_nj_companies_to_offer_paid_sick_days_to_workers_begins_advancing_in_legislature.html">state-wide earned sick days bill</a> in the Assembly. The bill has passed the Assembly Labor and Budget committees and is awaiting a full floor vote. It is a model earned-sick-days law that covers nearly all 1.2 million workers in the state who lack earned sick days. The majority of those who will benefit are low-wage workers earning less than $10 an hour.&#160; The bill allows workers to use earned sick days to care for themselves as well as all immediate family members when sick and to use earned sick days to deal with, relocate or find safe accommodations due to circumstances resulting from being a victim of domestic or sexual violence.</p><p>&#160;</p><p>Learn more about ELCA Advocacy at the ELCA Advocacy blog&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/blogs/advocacy">http&#58;//www.elca.org/blogs/advocacy</a> </p><p>Sign up for ELCA Advocacy updates and alerts&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/mlm/signup/?ignore_cookie=1">http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/mlm/signup/?ignore_cookie=1</a> </p><p>&#160;</p><p><em style="font-size&#58;12px;">&#160;Ryan P. Cumming, PH.D., is program director of hunger education for ELCA World Hunger.&#160; You can reach him at Ryan.Cumming@ELCA.org.</em><br></p><p>&#160;</p></div>05/21/2015