In May the members and friends of Community UCC will have the opportunity to take part in a coordinated action for justice. We will engage in an Offering of Letters.
The Offering of Letters is the annual campaign of Bread for the World, a Christian citizens’ movement dedicated to ending hunger in our nation and around the world. I have been a member of Bread for three decades, and I have often described it as the gold standard among social justice advocacy organizations. Plus, during a summer internship at Bread’s headquarters in Washington DC in 2003 I met Sarah, who worked in Bread’s Church Relations department from 2003 to 2010. For both these reasons Bread for the World occupies a warm place in my heart.
Each year Bread develops a campaign related to a particular hunger or poverty issue and organizes members from all over the country to urge their Members of Congress and Senators to support the campaign in various ways. The chief means of communicating with lawmakers is through letter-writing; even in the age of email, social media, and online petitions, a handwritten letter is still the most effective way to communicate your concerns. Some Congressional offices have indicated that they give tremendous weight to such letters. They figure that anybody who takes the time to write a letter represents many others—as many as 200 others—who share the same opinion. Letter writing is therefore one of the best ways to exercise your citizenship. If you think “one person, one vote” is a pretty good deal (which it is), think about “one person, 200 letters.” That’s what I would call “super-enfranchisement.” Democracy on steroids.
The annual campaign is called an Offering of Letters because Bread wants to reinforce the idea that we find among the prophets Amos, Micah, Isaiah, and others, including Jesus, that worship and justice are inseparable. After writing the letters, congregations gather them together and bring them forward as an offering to God during a regular Sunday worship service. It’s a powerful expression of discipleship and citizenship working hand in hand.
In the coming weeks I will be telling you more about this year’s Offering of Letters campaign and how you can be a part of it. For now, let me just put the following events on your radar screen:
Sunday, May 7, following worship — educational program and letter writing
Wednesday, May 10, 7:00 pm — educational program and letter writing
Sunday, May 14 — presentation of the letters in worship
The Church in Society committee (Marianne Lubenow, Marti Smith, and Kathy Herrmann) is spearheading this effort. If you feel moved to get involved in some way, we would welcome your participation; contact any member of the committee for more information. If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Grace and peace,