WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate’s and the U.S. House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committees are expected to mark-up their respective versions of the U.S. Farm Bill very soon – beginning May 14 and 15! EAD advocates are strongly encouraged to contact their Representative and Senators to continue advocacy efforts and relationship building that began during EAD’s 2013 Lobby Day on April 8th. EAD Director Doug Grace notes, “Even if your Senators or Representative do not serve on the Agriculture Committees, their support and encouragement are strongly needed for a positive Farm Bill outcome coming out of Committee.”
Call your Senators and Representative the week of May 13th at 1-800-826-3688.
Ask to speak with the legislative aide that works on the Farm Bill.
Tell them that:
“Congress should enact a farm bill this year that alleviates hunger and malnutrition, supports vibrant farms and healthy communities, and protects God’s creation.”
Please continue to make use of EAD 2013 Lobby Day resources in your call, including the official Congressional Ask and the talking points, as well as other resources from our 2013 Lobby Day.
Our nation’s food and farm policies, as embodied in the farm bill, affect people from rural America to inner cities, from our local communities to less industrialized regions around the world. The farm bill is the single largest piece of federal policy impacting our food system. A good farm bill can strengthen nutrition programs such as SNAP, help our struggling rural communities, support new and socially disadvantaged farmers, enhance global food aid to the world’s most impoverished, and encourage farming and ranching practices that protect God’s creation. Congress failed to pass a farm bill in 2012, and a number of important programs that promote a just and healthy food system are currently without funding. Other programs are continuing, but need the certainty provided by a multi-year farm bill.
The Senate farm bill will likely look very similar to last year’s stalled bill with roughly $23 billion in proposed cuts. About $4 billion will come from nutrition programs and roughly another $6 billion from conservation programs. The rest of the major savings will come from changes to commodity and crop insurance programs.
The House bill is expected to cut deeper than last year, aiming for $38 billion in total cuts over ten years. $20 billion of those cuts will come from the nutrition title but it is unclear how the remaining $18 billion will be divided amongst the rest of the titles.
“EAD’s advocacy is needed to protect vital Farm Bill programs that alleviates hunger and malnutrition, supports vibrant farms and healthy communities, and protects God’s creation,” Grace said.]]>
WASHINGTON - As part of Ecumenical Advocacy Days’ 2013 National Gathering focusing on food justice education and advocacy, EAD’s Director Douglas Grace called upon participants to “build together the image of God’s great banquet table as found in Luke 14:12-14.” EAD began with a blank table and slowly filled it to overflowing as part of the Friday Opening Celebration with hundreds of plates, mugs/cups, bowls, silverware, and non-perishable food items. After inspiring the 700+ advocates who came from across the country in a public witness for the poor and marginalized, the items were then donated to a local Washington, D.C. area-based charity, A Wider Circle.
This week, Laura Whiston, In-Kind Donations Coordinator for A Wider Circle gratefully acknowledged the generosity of EAD participants. “Typically once an item is donated to us, it goes home with a family in a day or two, so you can be assured we found a good and grateful home for everything,” Whiston told Grace.
Below are some photos of A Wider Circle workers and volunteers transporting the donated items to their new homes.
On Monday, April 8, 2013, hundreds of Christian advocates headed to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to pass a Farm Bill that promotes food justice and ends hunger for all.]]>
Sunday, April 7 was a busy-but-enriching day at the 2013 National Gathering – encompassing morning and lunch plenaries, issues and advocacy skills workshops, preparation for Lobby Day, and capping Dinner Banquet. Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts’ second district addressed the banquet on our moral responsibility to feed the hungry of this world.]]>
Saturday, April 6 was a busy day for the 700-plus Christian advocates gathered to explore the injustice in global food systems that leave one billion people hungry, create food price shocks that destabilize communities everywhere, and undermine God’s creation.
The day began with a policy plenary, “Missing at the Table,” featuring Brother Dave Andrews of Food and Water Watch, and Rev. Michael Livingston of Interfaith Worker Justice. After an initial round of issues workshops, the day continue with a lunch policy plenary sponsored by Oxfam America, “Land and Food Justice: Managing Our Natural Resources to End Hunger and Achieve Justice Around the World,” which featured perspectives from El Salvador, Guatemala and Ghana. Saturday events continued with additional issues workshops and book signings, followed by denominational and sponsor gatherings on into the early evening.]]>
More than 700 Christian advocates gathered for the first evening of the Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2013 National Gathering in Washington, D.C. The evening featured an opening celebration and keynote sermon by the Rev. Dr. Barbara Lundblad of Union Theological Seminary, as well as an opening reception sponsored by the Women of Faith for the 1,000 Days Movement and young adult activities.
The event will continue with full days of interfaith advocacy activities on Saturday and Sunday, followed by Lobby Day on Capitol Hill on Monday. Check back throughout the weekend for more scenes from EAD 2013
WASHINGTON – Ecumenical Advocacy Days is pleased to announce five film screening options during EAD 2103, “At God’s Table: Food Justice for a Healthy World.”
Friday, April 5
4:00 – 5:00 pm
Two Film Screenings about Torture and Solitary Confinement:
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT)will show two short films following NRCAT’s strategy session starting at 2pm, to which all are invited. At 4pm, Solitary Confinement: Torture in your Backyard, gives a voice to the thousands of prisonersheld in solitary confinement cells across the country. You will hear from survivors of solitary confinement, including Sarah Shourd, one of three American hikers arrested in Iran, who was held in solitary confinement for 14 months. And at 4:30pm, Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever, describes the use of torture by the U.S. government after 9/11, and portrays the lasting effects on the survivors of torture around the world, offers perspectives from a variety of faiths, and addresses how positive depictions of torture in popular entertainment are misleading at best.
Saturday, April 6
A Place at the Table
Sponsored by Bread for the World; Discussion Led by Barbie Izquierdo who is featured in the film
Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calo-ries her hardworking mother can afford. A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all.
Sunday, April 7
9:00 p.m. Two Film Options:
We’re Not Broke
Discussion Led by Jasmine Huggins, Senior Advocacy Office, Church World Service
America is in the grip of a economic panic. Lawmakers cry “We’re Broke!” as they slash budgets, lay off teachers, police, and firefighters, crumbling our country’s social fabric and leaving many Americans scrambling to survive. Meanwhile, multibillion-dollar American corporations are making record profits. “We’re Not Broke” is the story of how U.S. corporations have been able to hide over a trillion dollars from Uncle Sam, and how seven fed-up Americans, take their frustration to the streets.
Trigger: The Ripple Effects of Gun Violence — A project of the PC (U.S.A.)
Discussion Led David Barnhart, an award winning Producer, Director, and documentary filmmaker for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
In the United States more than 30,000 people are killed every year by gun violence; more are wounded. The disaster caused by gun violence is seen in almost every commu-nity. We may hear briefly about the victims and survivors of these shootings, but what happens after the media attention moves on and the wider public becomes numb to “just another shooting?” TRIGGER: The Ripple Effects of Gun Violence shares the story of how gun violence impacts individuals and communities and examines the “ripple effect” that one shooting has on a survivor, a family, a community and a society.]]>
WASHINGTON – Each year at EAD, various denominational gatherings occur during the weekend. Below is a listing of denominational sponsored events occuring at EAD 2013:
Disciples of Christ & United Church of Christ
Join United Church of Christ and Disciples justice advocates for dinner and fellowship on Saturday, April 6, beginning at 5:30 pm in the Jefferson Room of the DoubleTree Hotel. Dinner will be followed by a panel discussion on food insecurity and sustainable production, looking at both the domestic and international contexts.
With us will be Ms. Vivian Lucas, director of the UCC Franklinton Center at Bricks in rural North Carolina, joined by Rev. Richard Joyner, Ms. Sue Perry-Cole, executive director of the North Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations, and Mr. Luther Wiggins and Mr. Sylvester Hill, African American small farm owners in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. They will be talking about the Franklinton Center at Bricks’ Just Food Project, created in response to the impact of increasing poverty and food insecurity in rural eastern North Carolina, particularly for communities of color. Franklinton Center is located in the second largest food desert in the nation, and Edgecombe County has the lowest life expectancy in the state.
We will also hear from Ms. Angela Boss of the Foods Resource Bank, a partner of both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. Foods Resource Bank is the main food security partner of the UCC’s One Great Hour of Sharing program and the Disciples Week of Compassion. She will bring an international perspective on sustainable agriculture projects and smallholder farmers in the developing world.
Suggested donation for dinner is $20 on a sliding scale. The panel presentation begins at 6:45 pm – all are welcome.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Join fellow ELCA members to learn more about how our church advocates for a more just food system during EAD’s denominational gathering time on Saturday, April 6, from 4:45-6:30 pm. This time together will explore how the ELCA works through advocacy, global relationships, direct service, and education to alleviate hunger, build strong communities, and protect God’s creation.
ELCA advocacy is most effective when Lutherans across the country are involved and active. Our time together will answer questions on the Ecumenical Advocacy Days policy ask, provide resources on advocacy post-Ecumenical Advocacy Days, and lift up examples of our church’s work around food worldwide.
The Peace Churches will meet in the Madison room during EAD on Saturday, April 6, from 4:45 – 6:30 pm. Come introduce yourself and share about the work happening around food, justice, and peace at your home congregation.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Presbyterians will gather together for three special events during the EAD 2013 weekend:
Please join fellow Catholics at Ecumenical Advocacy Days on Saturday, April 6, from 4:45 pm to 6:30 pm. The leaders of three national Catholic organizations will provide tools and resources you can bring to your community to help realize this year’s EAD’s theme: At God’s Table: Food Justice for a Healthy World.
Ambassador Johnny Young, Executive Director, Department of Migration and Refugee Services, U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Jim Ennis, Executive Director, National Catholic Rural Life Conference; and Lucreda Cobbs, Senior Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, Catholic Charities, USA, will discuss the work of their respective organizations in terms of food justice. This promises to be a lively and helpful conversation. It is also a great time to learn what fellow Catholic throughout the U.S. are doing for food justice. At 6:30 pm, nationally renowned liturgist and homilist Msgr. Ray East will celebrate Mass with musical leadership provided by members of the St. Teresa of Avila (Washington, DC) Gospel Choir.
United Methodist Church
All United Methodist participants in this year’s Ecumenical Advocacy Days, including all the Peace with Justice Coordinators attending, are encouraged to join us Saturday from 4:45-6:30 pm for a special Presentation and Dialogue with Rev. Dr. Gary Mason. Rev. Mason serves as Senior Minister and Mission Superintendent at the East Belfast Mission. He is known throughout Ireland as a voice for peace and hope in an area plagued by decades of conflict.
East Belfast Mission is one of the largest Methodist Missions in Europe with over one hundred employees guiding a broad array of critical ministries. Located in the inner city, it is seen as one of the most creative churches in the area of social justice and peace building in Ireland. It has also been at the forefront of efforts to quell violence and is recognized by both the British, Irish and the American administrations as having a leading role in developing peace within loyalist communities.
Rev. Mason has traveled widely and has spoken in a number of church, university and denominational settings across the United States. these include: Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University, Tufts, Emory, Duke, University of Alabama, Florida Southern College, West Virginia University, West Virginia Wesleyan and Birmingham Southern College.]]>
WASHINGTON - As participants prepare to gather At God’s Table for EAD’s 2013 National Gathering Opening Celebration on Friday, April 5th at 7:00 p.m., organziational leadership is asking them to bring an item of tableware to be donated to a Washington D.C. anti-poverty organization “A Wider Circle.”
As part of the upcoming weekend of education and advocacy, there will also be time for worship and spiritual transformation. EAD’s Director Douglas Grace called upon participants to “build together the image of God’s great banquet table as found in Luke 14:12-14. We will begin EAD with a blank table and leave our time together with an inclusive image of all those that God welcomes At Table.” Grace expressed hope that the ritual during EAD will help inspire the 700+ advocates coming from across the country in their public witness for the poor and marginalized, who have a special seat At God’s Table. Plates, mugs/cups, bowls, silverware, or non-perishable food items will be placed on a common table during the opening celebration on Friday night .
About A Wider Circle
The mission of A Wider Circle is simple: to help children and adults lift themselves out of poverty. Utilizing a grassroots, holistic model of service, A Wider Circle provides beds, dressers, and other basic need items to families living without life’s necessities. They also deliver educational programs focusing on life skills and professional development, and match volunteers who want to provide long-term support with those who can use it.