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You Did It! (Didn't you?)

As we saw last week, advocacy works. Advocacy is important and necessary because it is effective. If we aren’t using our voice to make our neighbors’ lives better (which also makes our lives better), we are leaving a vital tool locked away in a shed. 

Over the last two weeks we sent 30 letters to Congress! That’s wonderful! THANK YOU!

It is, however, also quite a few less letters than we had people at church and watching worship on our YouTube channel. 

Perhaps you emailed your letter but forgot to let me know you did so. If this is you, thank you for sending the letters! Now please take a moment to send me an email:  to let me know you sent them. It can be as simple as “Letters sent.” (Heck, you don’t even have to use capitalization or punctuation if you don’t want to!) 

Perhaps you've been meaning to send your letters but haven't had time. It's not too late! Here are those links again:

Click here to email Congress about preventing malnutrition for the 800 million people across the globe who don’t have enough to eat. 

Click here to email Congress about feeding the 12 million USAmerican children experiencing food insecurity

Perhaps you are intrigued by the idea of writing a letter, but you want more information? Fair enough! Let's see what we can do about that...

As we read chapter 21 of John’s gospel on Sunday, we were reminded that the disciples recognized Jesus — that he became known to them again — in the abundance of grace and love he offered. And he became known to them in sharing food, in feeding his friends. We, too, can be known for feeding others! 

The chapter beings with seven disciples unsure of how to move forward after encountering the resurrected Jesus. Oddly, two of those disciples remain unnamed. They are like ensemble players in a theatrical production: they don’t get much if any glory but they still matter! Maybe there are no books written about them, but they matter. The same can be true of us! Even if no one ever writes a book about what we do, we can still do the resurrection work of feeding hungry people. 

President of Bread for the World, Rev. Eugene Cho said, “Even before the war in Ukraine, malnutrition was responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5 globally. Now, the confluence of the war, COVID-19, climate-change, and conflict in other regions have led to dangerous increases in food and fuel costs and an unprecedented global hunger and malnutrition crisis. Tens of millions of people in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and so many countries are facing life-threatening famine and malnutrition.” 

As our friends at Bread for the World continue, “The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act will bring greater strategic vision, coordination, effectiveness, and accountability to the United States’ existing global nutrition efforts and will help to mitigate and prevent future hunger and malnutrition crises.” 

“Malnutrition has proven solutions. For example, fortifying foods with essential nutrients (like Vitamin D, iron, and iodine), providing young children and pregnant women with nutritional supplements, and supporting new mothers to breastfeed all help prevent malnutrition.” 

“This bill makes nutrition an even higher priority for the U.S. government, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It establishes a five-year strategy to support countries in implementing their plans to prevent and treat malnutrition.”

“Every $1 invested in global nutrition creates $16 in economic returns due to decreased health care costs and increased economic productivity.” 

Where else are you getting $16 back for every $1 invested?!? Let’s use our voice to tell our Senators to pass this bill. Remember, (even though it often doesn’t feel like it), they work for us!

Let’s turn our attention to the domestic side. Would you like to save our country $800 Billion or even $1.1 Trillion every year? That’s what making the Child Tax Credit permanent can do. Every year child poverty costs our economy between $800 B and $1.1 T in lower productivity, higher health care costs, and the need to spend more on social services.

The National Academies of Science study shows that expanding the Child Tax Credit had a larger impact on reducing child poverty than any other policy they studied. 

Making the Child Tax Credit permanent helps feed families, lifts children out of poverty, and makes good financial sense, saving us about $T every year. We can’t afford NOT to make the Child Tax Credit permanent! 

Perhaps you still have questions or concerns about writing a letter -- totally fine! I hope you'll reach out to me and let me know what they are: 

Posted by Pastor Dave Buerstetta with

Who is Hungry?

"Give a person a fish: feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish: feed them for a lifetime."

There is real wisdom in that old saying, reminding us that people have both immediate needs and long term needs. Those different needs require different methods in order to be met effectively.

(To be fair, there plenty of assumptions in that old saying as well: Is there an accessible place to fish? Does that place have edible fish that haven't been contaminated by mercury or overtaken by invasive species? Has the water been contaminated by corporate chemical dumbing or pollution? Or dried up by climate change? Anyway...)

Our congregation has, historically, been really good at meeting immediate needs -- especially in the ways we partner with other organizations such as West Suburban Food Pantry, Northern Illinois Food Bank, DuPage PADS, and Woodridge Strong: Neighbors Helping Neighbors. 

But don't sleep on the fact that we have also done good work meeting long term needs as well! Again, especially in the ways we partner with other organizations such as Coalition of Immokalee Workers in getting tomato pickers a better wage. Or CROP Walk to provide food security. And Next Step Ministries to provide stable housing along with community development.

But it has been our work with Bread for the World over the years that has energized me the most. All the Offerings of Letters we've conducted over the years produced hundreds, if not thousands, of letters. I know that the political nature of advocacy frightens some folks. But here's the thing: meeting people's long term needs almost always requires political solutions. Here's another thing: advocacy works.  

BREAKING NEWS! On Wednesday  the U.S. House of Representatives voted 384-44 to pass the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act! More evidence that advocacy works. Our letters — combined with many others from across the country — had the desired impact.

This Act passed the House on a truly bipartisan effort as all 220 Democratic Representatives voted for it, along with 164 Republicans. 
We can be proud of the whole delegation from Illinois:
17 of the 18 Representatives from Illinois voted YEA. (At that link scroll down to All Votes and select IL from the State dropdown menu.) That's 4 Republicans and 13 Democrats.
The lone exception was Rep. Mary Miller from downstate IL who is listed as Not Voting.

All of our local Representatives -- 
Bill Foster, Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten -- voted YEA.

But we aren't done yet. Now we need to encourage our Senators to pass the Senate version of this bill. Click here to send your Senators a letter

All those letters over the years have affected change from our Congressional leaders. Policies passed and resolutions adopted mean people experiencing hunger and poverty are fed and helped. Our letters can make the lives of our neighbors better. There is no reason to be afraid of advocacy. Advocacy is a concrete method of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. 

It is time for our next Offering of Letters, advocating for policies that will help end hunger locally and globally. This Sunday, May 1st (like last Sunday), we offer space, time, and materials for writing letters to Congress. There is both a hand-written option and an online option. 

We will talk much more about this Sunday, but to learn more about an Offering of Letters, click here. 

To read the letter about feeding the 12 million USAmerican children experiencing food insecurity (with the option of sending it via email), click here

As above, to read the letter (with the option of sending it) about preventing malnutrition for the 800 million people across the globe who don’t have enough to eat, click here

If you want to be reminded who your Congressional Representatives are, click here. 

Together we can be the voice of Jesus with and for our neighbors experiencing food insecurity and hunger. Doesn't that sound like a great way to practice resurrection?

Posted by Pastor Dave Buerstetta with

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