Living Their Faith, an update from OFRAH

November 10, 2013 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

From the Oregon Faith Roundtable against Hunger…
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14: 13-14

The headline in

today’s Oregonian tells the story “From hungry to even hungrier: Cuts to food stamp allotments mean those used to doing without will have to learn to do with even less”

The example of Bob and Janet Raes Bread for the World members and Oregon Faith Roundtable Against Hunger Conveners gives us hope.

Many Bread members have introduced their churches to JustFaith, an adult education program that explores the biblical prescription to heal our broken world and foster congregational and individual wholeness. The 24 weekly sessions are carefully planned for faith sharing that includes prayer, study, and immersion, and deepens the participants’ understanding of the biblical basis for advocacy.

The Raes facilitated the program at West Linn Lutheran in Oregon and saw how it transformed lives.

The immersion part of the program helps break down invisible barriers that hide suffering in the world. Bob and Janet recalled how simply listening to a homeless couple’s experience opened up a new world to their group. The homeless couple told a story of selling bracelets on the sidewalk with their dog and feeling that they weren’t treated with dignity. A passerby offered them money to feed their dog, but ignored them as people. The message to the couple was that the dog deserved compassion, but they did not.

“Our groups said ‘we are going to really see people,'” said Janet. “Some ride the bus now and that has just changed them.” Their congregation sponsored 3 months of rent to transition a homeless family into stable housing, and spent the time to help them move in and listen to their goals. Bob and Janet know that compassion is relational.

Through JustFaith, participants learn about both charity and advocacy—the latter is often harder for churches to embrace. “People are so allergic to the word ‘advocate’—instead of advocating we say we are ‘seeking justice,'” said Bob. JustFaith has helped their church to take a deeper look at the root causes of hunger and write letters as part of Bread for the World’s yearly Offering of Letters campaign, which asks Congress to create programs and policies that end hunger and poverty.

Even though participants in JustFaith are a small subset of any congregation, as other parishioners see the group transform it leads to changes in the church. “It’s an invasive species,” said Janet, with a smile.

One Thing You Can Do
In August Bob and Janet Raes, and others from the OFRAH and faith-based anti-hunger communities, met with Congressman Kurt Schrader’s office to advocate against any cuts to the food stamp program. Among their many activities, the Raes volunteer in a food pantry three times a week and shared many real-life examples, underscoring the fact that reductions in anti-hunger programs are not abstract. Real families suffer from real cuts to food stamps.

Reprinted from Bread for the World’s http://blog.bread.org. Written by Robin Stephenson, National Lead Social Media / Senior Regional Organizer at Bread for the World, and Portland Metro OFRAH Convener

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Entry filed under: Issues.

Protect Food Stamps from Congress Coming months bring busy Congressional agenda for hunger and poverty issues

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