Conference Focuses Attention on Alleviating Poverty

Post a Comment » Written on June 13th, 2007     
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WASHINGTON D.C. (June 13, 2007) – Members of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) who attended the Interfaith Convocation on Hunger on Monday at the Washington National Cathedral say it was one of the most powerful events they have experienced.

PulpitMore than 1,000 people attended the second annual convocation that was held in conjunction with The Gathering 2007, a four-day conference organized by Bread for the World in partnership with 29 denominations and religious organizations. The Gathering ran Saturday through Tuesday, with seminars and general sessions focused on alleviating poverty.

The convocation brought together leaders of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, evangelical and ecumenical Protestant denominations, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, and Jewish traditions, and other faith groups to call on the President and Congress to renew their commitment to end hunger.

“This was one of the most phenomenal gatherings I’ve ever been to,” says Ruth Hill, executive minister of Women Ministries for the Covenant. “It was inspiring to be among so many religious leaders, all committed to ending hunger and poverty. It gave me a sense of a shared commitment to work together to address these issues.”

William J. Shaw, president of the National Baptist Convention, gave the message in which he addressed the need to recognize the common humanity of the rich and poor. “His sermon was out of the park,” Hills says.

Glenn-2Jim Sundholm, director of Covenant World Relief, also noted the strong sense of cooperation. “Regardless of what our different religious beliefs may be, we all agree hunger and poverty must end, and we can work together to achieve that goal.”

ECC President Glenn Palmberg (see accompanying photos by Jim Stipe) closed the convocation with the charge to take seed packets attendees had been given, and to  “plant these seeds, and as they spring forth from the soil, let them be a reminder of your growing commitment to end hunger in God’s world.”

On Tuesday, many of the participants met with national legislative leaders to discuss policies, including the current Farm Bill under consideration. “The Interfaith Convocation on Hunger was as much about passion as pageantry,” says Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “People in our nation are yearning for bold leadership from our elected representatives. They want to see our leaders take real action to fight hunger and poverty. The Interfaith Convocation will energize this movement.”

Also attending The Gathering were Debbie Blue, who is nominated to be the first executive minister of the Department of Compassion, Mercy and Justice, and Adam Phillips, co-pastor of Cuyler Covenant Church in Chicago, who helped guide discussions among “emerging leaders.”

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