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Friday, January 31, 2014

Fair Trade Your Valentine's Day


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Fair Trade your Valentine's Day: Sell or hand out Chocolate Hearts! Last year, Diana Waldrop organized the sale of Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate Hearts at Marietta First United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia. Here's what she had to say about it: 'Everyone loved the small boxes of wrapped hearts.  They made perfect Valentine gifts and they were very reasonably
priced.  People wanted to purchase the candy because I told them how good it was, but they were also very interested in participating in Fair Trade. Not only did we sell everything we had, but we made a nice profit that we then invested in our women and children's mission program.' - Diana Waldrop. Shop Chocolate Hearts: These cute foil-wrapped hearts come in boxes of 24 hearts and are available in Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate.
Make baked goods to sell or share: We love these heart-shaped chocolate sugar cookies. Get the recipe.
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Bread for the World Preacher

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.
  February 2014
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Bread for the Preacher Send this to a friend
Dear Patty,
In this season of new year's resolutions and new starts, we celebrate that Congress just last week passed a budget without shuttering the government. Perhaps we are seeing small cracks in the walls that divide us politically. Our pleas and prayers for an end to the political brinkmanship are making a difference.
The lectionary passages for this month address the Why? and the How? of doing justice work. The texts urge us toward justice and righteousness, not only in our personal devotions, but also in our public lives. In some instances, we will challenge our communities to ground their justice work in a devotional life. And in other cases, we will challenge our communities to extend their personal devotions into the world to act for justice.
Grace and peace,
nancy.jpg
Rev. Nancy Neal
Associate for Denominational Women's Organzation Relations, Bread for the World

Lectionary Reflections 

The following excerpts from "Preaching God's Transforming Justice: Year A" 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.
February 2, 2014 Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
As in Jesus' beatitude, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matt. 5:6), the psalmist offers direction for those who seek sanctuary in the presence of God. The dos and don'ts of God's holiness code are as to "walk blamelessly," "speak the truth," avoid "slander," refrain from evil acts, honor God-fearers, keep promises, unburden the financially enslaved, and protect the innocent. To live thus is to earn the label "righteous one." Read more »
February 9, 2014 Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
[A] deeper, heartfelt, and communal measure of righteousness is held out in Isaiah’s text that admonishes us to share bread with the hungry, bring the homeless poor into our houses, cover those who are naked, and not hide ourselves from our own kin (v. 7). While the reference to kin appears to be a reminder of communal accountability among the ancient Israelites, given the advances of technology that connect humanity across the planet today, a contemporary global vision of how we are all connected and must be accountable to one another worldwide is also clear. Read more »
February 16, 2014 Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
The honor and gratitude due to God subvert all human competition and divisions within the community of faith. Paul’s theological vision thus leads to radical Christian practices that embody an alternative to the surrounding culture. Rather than simply reflect the social divisions of the time, Paul declares, those who trust in God are called to subvert those divisions in their life together. In a church and society that are deeply divided today, Paul’s words remain critical and challenging. Read more »
February 23, 2014 Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany
At the center of this Gospel text is a continuation of the idea that perfection is found in a disposition of life that reflects God’s disposition toward creation. Of particular note is the way that Jesus frames this disposition. It is explicitly toward the well-being and flourishing of those normally cast outside of one’s circle of care. Specifically, the text enjoins this felicitous disposition toward those who would normally be objects of our enmity. Read more »

Praying Together

Prayer for Justice
Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Resources for Your Ministry

New Advocacy Resources for Pastors
Bread for the World has produced a new set of resources specifically for pastors to support your advocacy with your congressional representatives for policies to end hunger around the world. The folder for pastors contains a variety of resources that describe the unique role of church leaders in advocating for U.S. poverty-focused foreign assistance. These resources can serve as tools as you learn about, teach, and carry out advocacy. If we have your mailing address, you will automatically receive the advocacy folder for pastors in the mail by Feb. 14. If you have not received a copy of the folder by then, let us know (jnoetzel@bread.org or 800-822-7323, ext. 1109), and we’ll mail you a complimentary copy.
If you would like to be included in other mailings, you can update your contact information by sending it to memberservices@bread.org.
2014 Offering of Letters
Bread for the World's 2014 Offering of Letters focuses on reforming U.S. food-aid programs—one part of the federal government’s poverty-focused foreign-assistance programs, which provide critically needed food in times of disaster and famine and have saved millions of lives. We need to assure funding for these programs continues and, at the same time, we need to reform them to make them more efficient and effective. Order an Offering of Letters kit for $10: www.bread.org/store; 800-822-7323, ext. 1072; publications@bread.org.

Creation Justice Ministries News

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Dear Friend of Creation Justice, 
We have exciting news to share – we are one step closer to protecting Bristol Bay, AK from the proposed Pebble Mine. Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its Watershed Assessment of the Bay. Simply put, this means that we are one step closer to protecting this beautiful piece of creation.
We are one step closer to protecting the “nutritional, social, and spiritual health of Alaskan Natives” who have lived in and around the Bay for thousands of years.
We are one step closer to protecting 14,000 commercials fishing jobs and the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.
The people of Bristol Bay need your help to ensure permanent protection for this place – their home. 
Blessings, 
Tyler

Creation Justice Ministries * 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 203 * Washington, DC 20002 * info@creationjustice.org


Light: Global Economic Justice and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

By Alexa Smith and Catherine Gordon

As the plummeting temperatures and winter storms of the last few weeks have reminded us, we are in the season of winter, when the world is at its darkest. This is the time when Earth orbits the sun in its widest arc, shortening the day and lengthening the night. For many, it is a time of searching for light.

And yet as Christians, we know that we are also in the Season of Epiphany. No other time of the liturgical year is more focused on light. During Epiphany Christ is present, born again among us, and Christ’s light illuminates the world. It guides, inspires and transforms those who seek it out. That is because it is hard to go back to seeing the world the same way we used to once we have seen it alight.

When Christ’s light shines in the darkness, the possibilities for a better earth are somehow more visible, for even the shadows are diluted by light. And that means that hunger, greed, and indifference are impossible to ignore any longer.

Most of you know the biblical stories. There are the “wise” men who ignore a powerful king to protect the life of a vulnerable baby boy. And then there is Christ, plunging into the depths of the Jordan and then rising up, showing us how the holy can wash over us and drench the world in peace and hope.

These stories remind us that in every age, the struggle for freedom from economic oppression, the struggle to shine light in the darkness, must be not simply a season but a way of life.

Our world is globalizing faster than most of us can grasp. Oddly enough, in this context of change and uncertainty, we find ourselves blindly trusting an anonymous “marketplace” to make decisions about what is produced and what it will cost, who will work and who will not, who will have bread and who will have none – or far too little. But we who have seen Christ’s light know that the ordinary machinations of the global economy should not impoverish people – from sweatshop workers in Asia to the many U.S. auto-workers whose lost jobs may well be gone abroad forever.

In this context, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is calling for light in very practical terms: asking for justice and transparency in the process of why and how the government negotiates trade agreements. While that may sound remote and complex, the implications of these agreements are very real for the lives of ordinary people, both here and abroad.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to which President Obama alluded in his State of the Union Address last night, is one such example. It is the biggest free trade agreement ever put forward, encompassing 40 percent of the global economy, and its contents are a well-kept secret. For four years negotiations have been under way – with at least 600 corporate advisors having access to the text – yet, ordinary citizens and only a few Congressional representatives have seen the document, except for a few sections that have been leaked. Citizen debate has been virtually with rumors and leaks as our only source of information.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s global partners have asked us to join them in the holy work of economic reform tied directly to the TPP. Many members of the PC(USA) have responded to the call. More than 1,000 Presbyterians have sent letters to President Obama asking him to open up the TPP text and to create a more open process for trade negotiations.

Click here to send a message to your member of congress today asking the to support fair trade not free trade!

Click here to continue reading the article in Unbound – an interactive journal of Christian Social Justice: http://justiceunbound.org/carousel/living-as-children-of-light-global-economic-justice-and-the-trans-pacific-partnership
 

Pesticide Action Network Action Alert

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Pesticide Action Network Updates
EPA, better protections are long overdue
Safer fields!

Rules protecting farmworkers from pesticides in the field are weak and unenforced.
Tell EPA to do better.

Take Action

Right now, EPA is finalizing proposed changes to the rules designed to protect farmworkers from pesticides. Thousands across the country are voicing strong support for safer working conditions for farmworkers — will you sign on?
Stand with farmworker families» Urge policymakers to better protect the country’s two million farmworkers from pesticide harms. Your support for safer fields will make a difference.
Farmworkers are explicitly excluded from workplace protections other workers enjoy. And EPA's Worker Protection Standards were designed to fill this gap, but after more than 13 years of promised improvements these standards remain weak and unenforced. 
Better safeguards in the field help farmworker families at home too. When parents unintentionally carry residues from the field into the house, their children face exposure to chemicals known to harm developing bodies and minds.
EPA, it's time to act» Improved Worker Protection Standards have been delayed too long, with farmworkers and their families bearing the burden. It's long past time to fix these broken rules.
Thank you so much for all you do.
Pesticide Action Network North America 1611 Telegraph Ave. Suite 1200, Oakland, CA 94612 USA
Phone: 510.788.9020  Email:community@panna.org Web:www.panna.org
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