June 8, 2005
A UMNS Report
By Allison Scahill*
United Methodists joined with some 1,500 other Christians in Washington to advocate for hunger awareness.
were participants in "Hunger No More: An Interfaith Convocation,"
sponsored June 6 by Bread for the World at the National Cathedral in Washington.
Bread for the World's partners include the United Methodist Committee
on Relief, and it receives support through the church's Advance giving
Jim Winkler, chief executive for the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, said he met that day with Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada,
the Senate Democratic leader, to express concern about the budget that
was passed by Congress and the cuts that social service programs face.
also wanted to express to him our appreciation for his recognition that
the budget is a moral document and his statement to that effect on the
floor of the Senate," Winkler told United Methodist News Service. "We
also tried to meet with Sen. Frist but once again were unable to arrange
a meeting with him."
said the meeting with Reid seemed more like a pastoral call. "I think
that Sen. Reid feels rather disappointed by the bitterness that's taking
place these days in the Senate," he added.
Winkler also met with White House officials on June 7 to discuss President Bush's role in the fight to end hunger.
this case, we were calling on the president to support the new
Hunger-Free Communities Act and to fight against those cuts in food and
nutrition programs and to support further debt relief and assistance for
poor countries, particularly Africa," he said.
next step is really to work with our coalition partners, which include
other denominations and faith groups as well as organizations such as
Bread for the World and America's Second Harvest … to try to see to it
that food stamp programs and other nutrition programs are not cut."
Love, chief executive of the Women's Division, United Methodist Board
of Global Ministries, was unable to attend the convocation, but said the
division has a two-pronged approach to poverty and hunger.
is that we offer charity and mercy to those who are the least of these
and who suffer problems associated with poverty and hunger," she said.
"So, we offer institutions and programs that deliver goods directly to
those who need them. We have lots of mission institutions across the
country, for example, that provide child care for children and meals for
the elderly and other forms of direct service to poor people.
we also enter into the work of advocacy to change public policy that
help cause these problems in the first place, so we would always be in
the business of mercy and charity to people all over the world. But some
of those people can take care of themselves better if government policy
operates more to their benefit rather than their detriment."
organizations such as Bread for the World and United Methodist Committee
on Relief do a good job of keeping the Women's Division informed and
involved with hunger-related issues.
Methodists can play a large role to support the hunger awareness cause
through prayer and works of charity, mercy and justice, Winkler said.
He urged church members to visit his church and society's Web site, www.umc-gbcs.org,
and click on the "UM Power" button, "where they can be in touch with
members of Congress, as well as the president, or be in touch with their
own local officials and call for full funding, and no cuts, to food and
nutrition programs as well as more livable wages for all people who are
working and for health insurance for everybody."
65 United Methodists also were among the more than 600 participants at a
June 4-7 conference called "One Table, Many Voices: A Mobilization to
End Poverty and Hunger" in the Washington area.
a mass communications major at United Methodist-related Baker
University in Baldwin City, Kan., is an intern with the Convergence Team
at United Methodist Communications.
News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.