Here are some of the 150 homeless men, women and children invited to the Sistine Chapel yesterday by Pope Francis. The Pope met privately with them, asked for their prayers and said, “This is your home.” Afterwards they were invited to a special dinner.
This beautiful photo is itself a meditation on many truths: First, we are reminded of St. Lawrence bringing the poor to a third-century Roman emperor and saying, “Here are the true treasures of the church.” Indeed, here they are: the greatest treasures of the church before the greatest artistic treasure. Second, it is a unique meditation on the communion of saints, above and below. The people in this photo, seated below, are part of the great communion of saints, who are included in Michelangelo’s masterpiece, which depicts not only those going to hell but the saved, those being invited into heaven. And what is the litmus test for entrance into heaven? As Jesus says in Matthew’s Gospel, it is how you treat the poor. Third, it is a meditation on humility. The Pope asked that no photos of himself be taken. Fourth, it is a meditation on how the church can treat the poor: the way that the father treats the prodigal son in Jesus’s parable in Luke’s Gospel: lavishly, prodigally, over the top. Why should we stint when it comes to helping the poor? Finally, it is a meditation on joy. Look at the faces of these these men and women when they are treated as human beings, and not simply as objects of charity or as bothersome problems in our cities and towns. The Joy of the Gospel, Evangelium Gaudium, is real, and it can be found here on earth.
Stop Hunger Now will provide over 60 million meals this year to our partners around the world. Here is a brief update on the meals we are distributing in Madagascar.
Partner Highlight – Madagascar
Stop Hunger Now has been shipping meals to Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Madagascar since 2013. We recently received this update from the field.
This is a easy, short and powerful story to share with volunteers, donors and supporters.
“The rate of absenteeism has decreased by 100% in two schools as a result of meal program with Stop Hunger Now. The school exam results have also improved greatly. When asked who liked their food, everyone raised their hand!” via ADRA Madagascar
Here is a recent update from Stop Hunger Now’s newest affiliate in Bangalore, India. I have had the privilege of visiting this school and can attest to the wonderful work being done there. School feeding programs make a real difference.
Thanks for helping change our world. This is just one more example of the growing global movement to end hunger in our lifetime. Working together we are transforming lives.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, Stop Hunger Now India salutes the spirit of these girls from the Hope Foundation school near Tannery Road in Bangalore who, despite all the odds and challenges, have successfully completed their high school courses and are getting ready to spread their wings. They will soon be joining college courses to pursue higher studies after spending 10 to 12 years in the same school. These girls and nearly 400 others from this school located in a slum community inside Bangalore are benefiting from the meals provided by Stop Hunger Now India. Proud moments!
All life is sacred. Allowing such suffering is an obscenity.
This Somalian child is a member of our human family, created in the image of God.
He is my brother.
There is no spiritual tradition, no faith path, no religion that condones, tolerates or allows such misery. Every hungry and starving child in the world is an indictment against superficial spirituality that ignores the reality of this unnecessary evil.
When will we decide it’s time to become human enough to erase the obscenity of hunger once and for all?
Night before last we had the opportunity to gather all the wonderful folks who have been instrumental in helping open Stop Hunger Now India. It was a delightful evening of getting to know one another, sharing past successes, new ideas and plans for Stop Hunger Now’s future in India, and being inspired by the knowledge that by working together we can make a real difference on behalf of the hungry here in India.
Everyone of our friends in this photo is a leader in the fight to end hunger on our lifetime. Gandhi wisely remarked that action denotes priorities, and this group of leaders are clearly demonstrating their priority is to help end hunger in India.
Pictured (left to right) (front row) Sherin George, Anjani Kumar, Hatim Amreliwala, Hatim Dawasaz, (second row) Supria Dhanda, Mr. and Mrs. Nitesh Shah, Sripathi Nilkar, Naresh Mittal, Deepika Mittal, Archana Sahay, (third row) Andrew Sullivan, Srichand T. Rajpal, Allen Renquist, Amit Agarwalla, and yours truly.
I am in Blackstone, Virginia with the clergy of the Lynchburg District and the clergy of the James River District at a training event that began yesterday morning and will conclude later this morning. The focus of this training is on making mission happen.
The keynote leader for the training is Ray Buchanan, author of “Getting Off Our Buts: Making Mission Happen.” Ray knows well how to make mission happen; he is the co-founder of Stop Hunger Now (1998) and founder of the Society of St. Andrew (1980). He has inspired us and entertained us with many personal stories of the miracles he has witnessed in mission.
He shared with us a blueprint that he has followed for decades to help congregations engage in mission, and this blueprint comes straight from Scripture! The blueprint has seven steps.
Identify the Need – Mark 6:35-36
Locate the Resources – Mark 6:37-38
Get Organized – Mark 6:39-40
Give Thanks – Mark 6:41a
Just Do It! – Mark 6:41b-42
Clean Up Your Mess – Mark 6:43
Repeat Steps 1-6
What do you think of this Biblical blueprint for mission? For the readers from Monroe UMC, do you think this blueprint would work for us at Monroe UMC to engage in new mission opportunities? Please post your comments to this blog site.
Can you find me in the group picture of clergy taken yesterday in our “Imagine No Malaria” tee shirts?