We all serve as advocates on one level or another. As members of society
we naturally advocate for our loved ones making this necessary and supportive
practice the natural succession within intimate relationships. The real key is
to extend beyond our immediate circles of influence, to reach beyond the
borders of our own lives and make a difference. The intangibles such as time,
words and gestures serve as the foundation of advocacy and if diligently
applied will grow into the ability to promote, support, and defend the many
social causes of the young and the elderly, the poor and all the alienated by
society. Join us in making a difference!
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By Mark Silk -
The Obama approach,
which emphasizes partner-
ships among government agencies, large non-profits
both secular and faith-
based, and congregations,
may be more capable
of resisting the one-size-,
one-ideology-fits- all of
the Bush administration.
A prayer for the jobless
By Philip Jackman -
Toronto Globe and Mail
For people in Britain who
have lost their jobs - and
for those who have seen colleagues laid off and are troubled by feelings of guilt about still being employed -
the Church of England is offering some solace in the
form of two new prayers published yesterday.
Obama likely to retool
By Jane Lampman -
Christian Science Monitor
President-elect Obama has promised to build on the
faith-based initiative of
President Bush...But to do
that, his administration will
need to resolve constitutional and other tangles that have made Mr. Bush's effort so controversial. (Read More)
Why Tim Kaine Is Likely to Expand Democratic Faith Outreach as DNC Chair
By Dan Gilgoff - U.S. News
& World Report, God and Country Blog Kaine's 2005
run for [Virginia] governor... became a test case for
many of the faith-based
tactics that have now
groups ready to take on
By Steven G. Vegh -
When the General Assembly convenes next week, two religious groups will be
pushing legislators not to
solve Virginia's budget
problems by cutting
programs for the poor.
Of course, President-elect Barack Obama's most
urgent task is to repair an
ailing economy. But one of
his most important promises
was to end the cultural and
religious wars that have
disfigured American politics
for four decades.
As he goes about keeping
his central domestic pledges,
Obama should not forget
that one of the most
inspiring aspects of his
campaign was his call to
"turn the page" on spiteful
conflicts that have pitted
believers against non-
believers, cultural con-
servatives against cultural
liberals, red states against
blue states. (Read more)
Catholic voters mirror general electorate in
support for Obama
Catholics pretty much
voted the way the rest of
the country did Nov. 4, even
backing Democratic Sen.
Barack Obama a little more strongly than the electorate overall, according to
What the exit polls don't
explain, however, is whether
efforts by bishops in some
dioceses to direct Catholic
voters to base their vote
only on the abortion issue
are responsible for some
deviations from the
general trend. (Read more)
Black, Jewish Vote for Obama May Signal a Renewed Tie
After months of predictions
to the contrary, American
Jews voted for president-
elect Barack Obama in
higher proportion than any demographic group besides African Americans. For
many Jewish liberals, this
was a watershed moment,
marking a return to the days
when blacks and Jews were
thought to have a special
relationship founded on
a shared language of
suffering and joint efforts
to promote civil rights.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leader-
ship Conference will be attending the Republican National Convention that's occurring in Minnesota on September 3rd & 4th, 2008.
Wary of Mixing
By Eric Gorski -
Social conservatives are
growing more wary of
church involvement in
politics, joining moderates
and liberals in their unease about blurring the lines
between pulpit and ballot
box, a new study found.
Foreign Missionaries Defy Ban During Olympics
By - Associated Press
Christian groups who flouted
a Chinese ban on foreign missionaries are calling their underground evangelizing
during the Olympic Games
a success. (Read more)
and Christian Leaders
are dissapointed with
Senator Barack Obama
Members of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy
and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC), the largest
latino evangelical pastor's advocacy organization in the Country, who participated
at a "conference-call
meeting" with Senator
Barack Obama yesterday...
and the 2008 Elections
August 7-8, 2008
Jesse Miranda Center,
1st Panel: Kingdom Issues
2nd Panel: The future of
Life and Marriage
3rd Panel: Evangelical
4th Panel: Obama
or McCain? ___________________
More than 100,000 ONE
members have written
letters, signed petitions and
made phone calls, asking
our senators to support the
reauthorization of PEPFAR,
response to global AIDS,
TB and malaria.
On Wednesday, 80 senators
did just that by voting to
BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: Among the recession’s many victims, perhaps
none have been more painfully hurt than those who find themselves not
only out of work and perhaps homeless, but hungry as well. Money from
the federal government’s stimulus package will help, but for now, in spite
of generous volunteers, food banks say they’re almost overwhelmed.
Lucky Severson reports.
UNIDENTIFIED NUN (making announcement on the PA at a day center):
Attention in the shelter. We are now ready to serve breakfast. Families
with children at the beginning of the line.
LUCKY SEVERSON: What Americans don’t want to hear right now is more
bad news, but it should come as no surprise that so many of our neighbors
and fellow citizens — more than one in 10 of us — are either experiencing
hunger or staring it in the face.
SHANNON: We’re getting ready to sell the house because we’re going to
be going into foreclosure.
SEVERSON: People like Shannon and Erin simply can’t hang on any longer.
ERIN: Our payments are going up. Every six months they keep going up,
and we don’t make enough to cover the mortgage and all the other
necessities — you know, electric, gas, food.
SEVERSON: If not for churches and charities manning the food banks and mobile pantries, many more would be hungry. If not for friendly volunteers,
the ordeal of asking for a handout would be even more demeaning.
This is the Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque, which is funded almost
exclusively from private and corporate donations, from companies like
Costco for instance. The food goes from here to over 600 outlets throughout
New Mexico, the majority of them faith-based. It’s an impressive operation.
Roadrunner is a member of Feeding America, formerly known as Second
Harvest, the country’s largest hunger relief agency. Melody Wattenbarger
is Roadrunner’s executive director.
MELODY WATTENBARGER (Executive Director, Roadrunner Food Bank, Albuquerque, NM): Food banks are sort of like the canaries in the mineshaft.
We’ve been saying for a long time that things were not going well — that
families were struggling. The frustrating part is that the need has been going
up 30 or 40 percent, and I said yesterday now we don’t need canaries in the
mineshaft anymore. Everybody knows. Everybody knows how bad it is.
SEVERSON: Feeding America gives food assistance to over 25 million
Americans. Nine million are kids; three million, seniors. The nonprofit
supplies over 200 food banks in every state that, in turn, distribute to food
pantries like this one in Riverhead, Long Island managed by the Long
Island Council of Churches. Reverend Tom Goodhue is executive director,
and he’s not happy.
Reverend TOM GOODHUE (Executive Director, Long Island Council of
Churches): We’re more and more feeding people now who are employed
fulltime and can’t make ends meet. It makes me angry. I got to tell you,
to see hardworking people who are still employed full time and are doing
the best they can and can’t make ends meet really, really makes me mad.
SEVERSON: In New York City, nearly two-thirds of the food agencies
haven’t had enough supply to meet the demand. Joel Berg is the
executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
JOEL BERG (Executive Director, New York City Coalition Against Hunger):
If things had gone in the last few years from bad to worse, the last year
things have really gone from worse to worser. That’s horrible English, but
that really describes what’s happening.
SEVERSON: A recent survey by Feed America found that three out of four
food pantries nationwide are faced with rationing food. This small outlet north
of Albuquerque called People Helping People has had to close its doors on
occasion. This is Chris Hoyle:
(to Ms. Hoyle): And you’re really under siege right now, aren’t you?
CHRIS HOYLE (People Helping People): Yes, we are. Yes, we’re struggling
right now without finances.
Ms. HOYLE: Because our donations are down and our numbers are
LINDA STEVENSON (People Helping People): We are probably looking at
about 50, 60 families — new families — a month.
Mr. HOYLE: Yes, we’re seeing a lot of people who have never come, and
they’re just in need now. They’ve hit at a place in their life when they’ve
been laid off, they’re in between jobs, and they simply need food.
SEVERSON: People we’ve spoken with who feed the poor say this hard
time stands above all others they can remember because of how deep it
reaches and how widespread it is. They say an increasing number of people
who were once donors themselves are now coming in for help, and they say
that churches and charities can no longer feed all the Americans struggling
The hunger situation in New Mexico is even worse than other parts of the country. Here, one in six adults can’t put enough food on the table. One in
four kids are hungry.
Ms. WATTENBARGER: Almost half of the people being served by our
mobile pantries are children. What we think is happening is that people are
able to swallow their pride when their children are involved, and if there
weren’t children, they likely would just make do in some kind of way.
SEVERSON: Many feel that they are forgotten victims of circumstances
beyond their control. Some are angry but they don‘t quite know who to blame.
Ms. STEVENSON: There are people making paychecks that are absolutely
ridiculous, and there are people that are hungry. How do they sleep with their
conscience? How do they do that? Obviously they — I’d love to invite them
here, see what the real world is like.
SEVERSON: One of the biggest increases in demand comes from folks on
fixed incomes, like Betty Orwick, a long-time volunteer.
BETTY ORWICK: Fixed income — Social Security goes just so far. Food
prices are way up.
SEVERSON: Has that been one of the big problems—that food prices have
gone up so much?
Ms. ORWICK: Yes sir, yes sir, and I speak for a neighbor of mine. They
decide whether or not they should get food or whether they have to get their medicine. That’s hard.
Ms. WATTENBARGER: My heart really goes out to people on fixed incomes, because there isn’t anything they can do. They have so much pride, and they
just will almost never seek help.
SEVERSON: Near downtown Albuquerque, the St. Martin’s day center and
soup kitchen feeds about 400 people a day. Many of the clients here are chronically homeless. As many as three out of four have a mental or physical
illness. These are not the people who lost jobs in the suburbs from huge
chains like Circuit City and Linens ’n Things. Most here lost minimum-wage
jobs in places like fast food establishments. Some, like Lindsay Work, can’t
go back to work until they get medical care, which is way beyond their means.
LINDSAY WORK: I was a security officer for about the last 17 years, and I
had a massive seizure working security at the state fair, and after that I just
SEVERSON: Now he and his wife are sleeping in shelters.
Mr. WORK: You got to make the choice of either food, rent, or bills. You
know, whatever gets — keeps you safe, and right now it’s the thing of food.
You’ve got to put food in your stomach.
SEVERSON: Linda Woods Fuller is the director at St. Martin’s, up against lagging donations and vastly increasing need.
LINDA WOODS FULLER (Director, St. Martin’s Hospitality Center): We
help with the near poor. You know, we don’t just say homeless, because the
near poor is that population that is steadily increasing.
SEVERSON: Here’s the good news: People are less oblivious to the misery
around them. They’re helping more.
Rev. GOODHUE: One of the great things that I think is happening in this recession is the people are much quicker to see that their neighbors are in
the same boat that they are in. So there’s been really a huge outpouring
of generosity from people saying, “I want to make sure my neighbors
SEVERSON: And some pastors report that more people are going to church
and volunteering in food pantries like this one sponsored by the Evangelical
Church of Philadelphia in Albuquerque. Pastor Joe Romero:
Pastor JOE ROMERO (Church of Philadelphia, Albuquerque, NM): Every
time there’s a crisis and it seems like it’s desperate — and it’s always at
the end of the rope — and when people feel they’re at the end of the rope
they start turning towards God, you know.
SEVERSON: The bad news is that the need is so great, all the churches
and charities put together can’t feed all the hungry.
Mr. BERG: Saying that we can end hunger with a few canned food drives—
a problem that impacts 36.2 million Americans, a population larger than the
state of California—just isn’t true. The only way to make a serious difference
in actually reversing the trend of growing hunger in America is for the federal government to once again play the leading role, which I am thankfully able
to say under the Obama administration it’s actually starting to do.
SEVERSON: Berg says hunger costs the U.S. $90 billion a year in medical
costs and lost productivity. A few years ago, the Department of Agriculture
devised a new measurement called the Food Insecurity Index. In New Mexico,
it’s 16 percent. Melody Wattenbarger doesn’t like the term. She says maybe
if we called it what it is, we would treat it more seriously.
WATTENBARGER: It is a cruel circumstance for people, and to call it other
than what it really is — it’s people skipping meals, children going without
food. It’s hunger.
SEVERSON: According to Feeding America, the president’s stimulus
package will add $20 billion to help relieve hunger among America’s families.
It’s by far the largest increase of its kind in history. This means a family of
four on average should receive an additional $80 a month in food assistance
for the next three years.
For RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, I’m Lucky Severson
Link to us and be inspired.