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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Urgent Action Alert...One Week Left...Sequester

m: Presbyterian Washington Office of Public Witness <ga_washington_office@pcusa.org>
Reply-To: Presbyterian Washington Office of Public Witness <ga_washington_office@pcusa.org>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2013 09:01:14 -0500
To: Ruth Farrell <ruth.farrell@pcusa.org>
Subject: Action Alert: One Week Left Until the Sequester


Action Alert: One Week Left Until the Sequester


One week left…
 
On March 1st, new federal budget cuts will begin to take effect. If Congress does nothing, many hundreds of thousands of people will be hurt by across-the-board cuts (sequestration) to education, nutrition, job training, home heating assistance, public health, mental health, and social services, to name only a few areas. In the absence of a resolution, there will be $31.4 billion in spending cuts to domestic programs like WIC, Head Start, child care, housing, home energy, homeless aid, education and training, and much more. Medicare alone will be cut by $11.2 billion.
 
 
Congress should replace the sequester with a balanced approach that reflects our collective responsibility to our human community. There are core challenges facing our nation: rising income inequality, persistent unemployment, historically high rates of poverty and anemic economic growth. These challenges must be addressed with justice, but the sequester will only exacerbate them.
 
Sequestration was developed as a backstop – a last resort if Congress failed to reduce the deficit in a more thoughtful and balanced way. As Christians, we believe that our economic system must be rooted in fairness, justice, and equal opportunity. Without these values, our economy is, quite literally, demoralized. Thus it is our responsibility, both individually and collectively, to respond to those who are in need.
 
Therefore, the first rule should be that deficit reduction should not increase poverty. Congress must not replace the current sequester with policy that will be even worse for those who are already struggling to make ends meet. We must explore responsible alternatives to sequestration that will be more consistent with our faith and sense of compassion. The nation’s deficit problem cannot be solved through spending cuts alone – new revenues must be part of the solution.
 
 
To raise revenue, the tax code should be made more progressive (that is, tax liability increases as income increases), system-wide health care costs should be controlled, and unnecessary tax expenditures should be eliminated. Further, Congress should seriously scrutinize the Defense budget, which has doubled in size in the last fifteen years. Outdated weapons systems and an over-reliance on the apparatus of war are no way to build peace and true security in a troubled world.
 
Our partners at the Coalition on Human Needs have recently released new national and state-specific fact sheets that highlight (or lowlight) the effects of these devastating cuts.  Just a sampling of the impacts in fact sheets for every state and for the U.S are startling: Up to 125,000 families and 100,000 formerly homeless people losing their housing (or having to pay much more), 600,000 young children and moms losing WIC nutrition aid, 70,000 children denied Head Start, nearly 76,000 people with disabilities losing Voc. Rehabilitation services, 373,000 adults and children with serious mental illness losing treatment.
 
To link to this content on another site, please visit our blog.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Fair Trade and Organic Chocolate Eggs

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Call to Action: Lenten Petition to Prevent Gun Violence


A Call to Action: Lenten Petition to Prevent Gun Violence

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:00 PM
From:
To:
"Patty Sanders" <pattyredwoodshae@sbcglobal.net>
A Call to Action: Lenten Petition to Prevent Gun Violence



LENTEN PETITION CALLING FOR COMMON-SENSE MEASURES TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE
 
 
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons (and daughters) of God.
- Matthew 5:9
 
The 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted the resolution, Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call, in exercise of its responsibility to help the whole church address matters of “social righteousness.” The resolution calls both the Church to support and the federal government to establish laws that will prevent and reduce gun violence. The PC(USA) recognizes the seriousness of gun violence in the United States, where more than 30,000 lives are lost each year due to firearms. We call on all people to conscience to make earnest strides to challenge the pervasive culture of violence that permeates our social fabric.
 
 
During this Lenten Season we are joining other faith groups in prayerful engagement and direct action to reduce our culture of violence and to bring peace to our homes, streets, and public venues. Our role as Christians is to be peacemakers. Peace is more than the absence of conflict. Peace requires our active participation in the work to serve the common good. Making peace often stirs controversy, because it requires engaging in faithful witness on behalf of Jesus Christ, despite the resulting discomfort. Peace exposes human frailty and sin in order to make repentance possible. Jesus affirms that his presence and teachings in the world will create division among those who are closest to him (Matthew 10:34). Therefore, the gospel is a double edged sword that evokes unrest while creating a platform for peaceful reconciliation.
 

As we journey together through this period of spiritual discipline and contemplation, while also experiencing gun-related grief and trauma in our communities and nation, let us remember that New Life awaits us on Easter morning.
 
This petition, calling for common-sense federal measures to reduce gun violence, is one small piece of a larger strategy to address the culture of violence that pervades our nation. We will deliver this petition to Congress during Eastertide. Sign it now!
 
As you move through your Lenten discipline, make this petition – signing it, circulating it, inviting your friends and congregation-members to sign it – one of your personal commitments. In addition, try these other action steps toward raising awareness and reducing violence and poverty in our nation.

  1. Pray for our President and the United States Congress as they struggle with the issue of gun violence.
  2. Encourage your Pastor(s) to preach sermons, teach bible studies, and become involved in the efforts to change our culture of violence and to eradicate gun violence in your local community.
  3. Host a screening of TRIGGER: The Ripple Effects of Gun Violence, the PC(USA) documentary on eradicating gun violence. Hold congregational and community discussions in your house of worship.
  4. Participate in a Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend, March 15-17.
  5. Write and/or call your Congresspersons and the President each week during Lent stating your support for federal legislation to reduce gun violence. (See the requested actions outlined in the petition). To find contact information for your Members, click here.
  6. Read the gun violence policy of the PC(USA) - Gun Violence and Gospel Values: Mobilizing In Response to God’s Call
  7. Register and make plans to attend Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day (CPJ) and Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) in Washington, DC, April 5-8, 2013 (attend both events in one weekend) to receive training in how to become an advocate for justice issues.
 
 
As members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and people of faith and conscience, we believe that God desires health and wholeness for all of God’s children – not cycles of despair, poverty, and violence.
 
We therefore believe that we have a responsibility to reduce such injustice in our midst, wherever we see it. We therefore call upon the United States Senate and House of Representatives to approve federal legislation that will --
 
Reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 – banning all assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Assault weapons are weapons of war and have no place in the hands common citizens. Most mass shootings in this nation involve such weapons.
 
Require universal background checks when purchasing any firearm. Many states do not require background checks, making it simple to acquire a gun for persons with criminal records, persons who do not know how to handle a gun, or persons who suffer from mental illness. Guns only belong in the hands of those who know how to handle them with correct intention.
 
Make gun trafficking a federal crime. Currently, gun trafficking is prosecuted under a statute that prohibits selling guns without a federal license. This crime carries the same punishment as trafficking chicken or livestock.
 
 
Please forward this petition to friends, church members, organizations and/or other persons and institutions.
 
Post cards are available for large groups and/or congregations who desire to collect many signatures at once (such as church coffee hour). Please contact our office at ga_washington_office@pcusa.org to request petition post cards.
 
To link to this message in another publication, please visit our blog.

Oikocredit in Senegal: Stuart Krengel Reports




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Oikocredit in Senegal: Stuart Krengel Reports from the Field

Friday, February 15, 2013 7:34 PM
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"NSO Staff - USA" <usa@oikocredit.org>
Dear Oikocredit Supporter,
 
Oikocredit USA’s Stuart Krengel is currently in Senegal, one of the poorest and least developed countries of the world. This is his first trip to Africa, and first time visiting Oikocredit partners in the field. While there, he where is visiting some of Oikocredit’s partners there, meeting clients, working with Oikocredit staff from around the world,  and even dancing to the beat of a Senegalese drum! Stuart is also blogging from the field – when electricity and internet permits. You can find all of his inspiring entries by visiting our blog: http://oikocreditusa.org/blogs You can also follow him on Twitter & Facebook using #stuartinsenegal
 
 
Oikocredit is deeply involved in all aspects of this project from the financing, building the business model, organizing the cooperative, and forming the partnerships in Europe for export. Not your typical lender, eh? Furthermore this area of Senegal is one of the poorest regions in West Africa, so as you can imagine, investments in such a project are a rare occurrence. However, that is what Oikocredit does. We go where others won’t.”  Read more…
 
When Stuart returns, he will be holding a special webinar to update us on his experiences, the projects he visited, and other aspects of Oikocredit’s work in Senegal on Monday, February 25 at 3pm EST / 12 pm PST. Click here to register!
 
Stuart is based in San Francisco and is available to make presentations about his experience and the work of Oikocredit in Senegal and beyond. If you would like him to make a presentation to your community, organization, or church, you may contact him at skrengel@oikocredit.org.
 
You may have noticed that Oikocredit USA has a brand new website! We encourage you to spend some time reading the brand new content we have created about Oikocredit’s work in the field, in addition to exploring our blog series, e-newsletter archives, and FAQs. www.oikocreditusa.org
 
Leah Gage
Oikocredit USA
Please note our new address!
PO Box 66383
Washington, DC 20035
t: 202.728.4143
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Living Waters for the World

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Living Waters for the World Partners,
 
Welcome to the 20th anniversary year of Living Waters for the World! 
 
This ministry has been about you - our volunteer leaders, water teams, water providers, water recipients, supporters and friends.  And thanks to all of you, lives are changed every day - as clean water, and the love of Christ shared, forever changes the trajectories of lives - particularly young lives.
 
This edition of Water of Life shares stories about some of those lives, and of the ongoing changes within Living Waters for the World as together we strive to follow God's lead toward a future where our focus is on long-term clean water sustainability - not just the joy of the first time clean water flows in a community. 
 
Click here or on the image at right to read our online edition.
 
And now a favor to ask of you.  We want to be the best stewards possible while sharing the good news of LWW.  If you also receive this newsletter in paper form and are willing to let that go and read online, would you please reply with your name and address?  We'll remove you from our newsletter postal list and we can both feel a bit greener today.  :-)

Let clean water flow!
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
Living Waters for the World is a Christian ministry that provides
sustainable clean water, fostering long-term, mutually beneficial relationships
between volunteers and communities in need. 
 
Since the inception of our training sessions in 2004,
more than 1500 volunteers have completed the Clean Water U program
from throughout the United States and several other countries. 
The Living Waters for the World “train, equip and sustain” model of mission
has resulted in 500 clean water partnerships in 24 nations.
 
a ministry of the Synod of Living Waters, Presbyterian Church (USA)
5016 Spedale Ct., #399 | Spring Hill, TN 37174
phone: 615-261-4008
fax: 615-261-4010
infolww@livingwatersfortheworld.org
www.livingwatersfortheworld.org

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Bread for the World Preacher newsletter march 2012

Bread for the Preacher: God Will Make a Way

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 3:00 PM
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pattyredwoodshae@sbcglobal.net
Bread for the Preacher Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
march 2013
www.bread.org
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Bread for the Preacher Send this to a friend
Dear Patty,
As our Lenten preaching follows Jesus' journey to Jerusalem and eventually the cross, Isaiah reminds us of the God who makes a way where there is no way (Isaiah 43). Faith in that God makes this journey bearable. This "make a way" God turns the journey to the cross into a resurrection journey.
Here in Washington, as our government moves towards a financial catastrophe that many commentators declare "inevitable," we pray that God will provide a way to solve the deficit situation without hurting hungry and poor people. We hope you will join us in that prayer, just as we pray that your flock will grow in their trust of the God who makes a way.
Grace and peace,
GarySignature.gif
Rev. Gary Cook
Director of Church Relations

Lectionary Reflections 

The following excerpts from "Preaching God's Transforming Justice: Year C" are offered to Bread for the World with permission from Westminster John Knox Press. All other rights are reserved. Copies of the full lectionary resource may be purchased from the publisher.
March 3, 2013, Third Sunday in Lent
This week's lectionary texts invite us to consider the ways in which we draw boundaries and define insiders and outsiders. Read more »
March 10, 2013, Fourth Sunday in Lent
The familiar verses of the parable of the prodigal son intentionally conclude with an open ending, forcing us to speculate on whether the liminal transition is faithfully resolved or not. Read more »
March 17, 2013, Fifth Sunday in Lent
Too often, we focus, dreadfully, on what others have done against us instead of discerning the generative and regenerative power of God. Read more »
March 24, 2013, Sixth Sunday in Lent (Liturgy of the Passion)
Luke's passion narrative serves the rhetoric of the Gospel as a whole: it shows the nature of God's sovereign power. Read more »
March 28, 2013, Maundy Thursday
Surprisingly, this is one of the few times when Paul deals with the life of Jesus in his writings. Read more »
March 29, 2013, Good Friday
Some say that "good" and "God" have been transposed, and it is really "God's Friday." Read more »
March 31, 2013, Easter Day (Resurrection of Jesus)
In preaching the resurrection through Acts, hope transforms life in the face of deathly injustice, empowered by our inward gaze to see, instead, the face of life in Christ. Read more »

Praying Together

Lenten Prayer
Eternal God whose image we bear: You have created us to live by more than bread alone. Nourish us through your Word and release us from the selfishness born of fear. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Announcements

On March 1, a major documentary entitled A Place at the Table will begin screening in theaters nationwide and through video-on-demand. Produced by Participant Media and distributed by Magnolia Films, the movie tells the story of hunger in America through the stories of four families. It reminds us that the United States has made dramatic progress against hunger in the past, and it calls for renewed national commitment. Since opening weekend attendance determines the future distribution of movies, Bread for the World urges church members to see A Place at the Table in theaters March 1-3.

Resources for Your Ministry

Bread for the World’s 2013 Offering of Letters will also carry the theme of "A Place at the Table." Churches across the country will invite their members to write to their members of Congress and the President, calling for a plan to end hunger. Watch for a free copy of the Offering of Letters handbook in the mail, or visit bread.org/OL.