|World Hunger Team|
By: Rev. David Preisinger, Assistant to the Bishop
This is the third in a series of articles featuring synod committees, teams, task forces, and networks as outlined in Bishop Jerge's October 3rd article
One billion of our neighbors - that's one in seven people in our world today - live in poverty. As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we are called to respond. We do God's work in the world restoring and reconciling communities.
If you have been to an Upstate New York Synod Assembly in the last ten years, you know that the Synod's Hunger Team works hard to raise the awareness of hunger issues here and around the world. The team encourages healthy competition among congregations and challenges each of us to work toward alleviating the problems of hunger. We have filled film canisters (hard to find a film canister these days) with quarters; barns with animals; we have dug wells and a whole variety of other things. Our efforts do make a difference. Every year that the Assembly has had a hunger campaign we have raised at least $25,000 with a high of over $48,000.
Issues of hunger and poverty are all around us and we respond in various ways. Every congregation in the synod is invited to participate in the Hunger drive at the Assembly and year round. The congregations that do participate are generous. At the Assembly this past year 51 congregations raised over $37,000. The 51 congregations include every congregation in the Southern Tier. (The only conference with 100% participation). St. Paul's in Spencer (the smallest congregation in the conference), for the third year in a row had the highest per capita giving to hunger of any congregation in the synod.
Congregations that support the Hunger Campaign have fun with the effort. Synodical Deacon Barbara Hayden at Redeemer in Binghamton, agreed to dye her hair purple and wear it in a Punk Rock style if the congregation would raise over $2,000 for hunger. (The year before they raised $600). The congregation met the challenge and raised $2,300, and Deacon Barb dyed her hair and changed her hair style. Giving to the ELCA World Hunger campaign is not limited to the Synod Assembly, nor does the money only go overseas. A portion of the gifts to ELCA World Hunger are used to address hunger and poverty right here in the United States, and here in New York State.
Check your mail. In mid-September every congregation was sent resources to help educate our congregations about hunger with stories about what your hunger dollars do. If you haven't seen the packet look for it. You can also go to www.elca.org/hunger for ideas and resources.