February 28 - March 6, 2005





Youth learn grown-up lessons about hunger


The light bulb went on for a half million church youth all across America this past weekend. It enlightened them to the facts that hunger is real, it hurts, and we can help.


It’s a valuable lesson that adults in our churches need to learn (or relearn) too.


The youth were participating in World Vision’s annual “30-Hour Famine,” which encourages them to fast for 30 hours to raise money – and awareness – about hunger. >From the news reports across the country, (some of which you can read in Gleanings), the kids got the message.


"What we're feeling, it happens every day” to children in poverty, Leslie Gomez-Meyer, 14, told The Denver Post. "This is what they have to live with."


Sixteen-year-old Allyson Condon of New Hampshire, participating in her fifth Famine, cited benefits of self-awareness and spiritual growth “Every time I do it, I learn something new,” she told the  Nashua Telegraph. “I learn about myself, my inner strength, how I bond with other people I’ve never met before.”


Nicki Gustafson, 12, of Ohio also expressed enthusiasm. "You're kind of hungry and kind of tired, but it's definitely worth it, because you feel like you made a difference, and that's cool," she told The Cincinnati Enquirer.


This was the 13th year that World Vision has held the Famine, and though the figures aren’t out yet, it estimated that a half million youth would participate and raise about $13 million for hunger.


The 30-Hour Famine has really taken off as a way to teach youth about hunger and our Christian obligation to help. In this way it’s a lot like the annual “Souper Bowl of Caring,” which in just a few years has also captured the hearts and imaginations of youth nationwide.


But the question is, with so much awareness to be gained, why aren’t the grown-ups of the churches getting involved, too? Surely the thirtysomethings-to-sixtysomethings in our congregations could stand a lesson in the economics of hunger and helping.


After all, poverty, malnutrition, homelessness, hunger and need are hardly kid stuff.


--Rob Blezard, webmaster and editor


P.S.: To learn more about the 30-Hour Famine and to access guides for planning and holding the fast, check out their website, www.30hourfamine.org.


New This Week:


What can your church do to help the poor?

So the social action committee of your church has been talking about helping the poor but doesn't have a clue where to start? Here's an article for you! It lists a number of practical, hands-on ministries that can make a difference in the lives of the poor in your community. Click here for the article. By Dr. Brian Fikkert, director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College (a Presbyterian school), where he is a professor of economics and community development.



With tithing, you reap more than you sow
"We have a relationship with the most generous being in the universe.  We can chose to receive from God's generosity or we can choose to become more like the one from whom we receive everything. Tithing is only a start on that journey." Click here for Pastor Dana Reardon's weekly column.



Five Common Tech Mistakes Nonprofits Make

And How to Avoid Them

Does your congregation make the most of its website possibilities for outreach, evangelism and fund-raising? You're not alone. Experts list five common pitfalls. Click here for the article. From onPhilanthropy.com.



 Stewardship Practice:
A Spiritual Discipline in Response to Grace

"The practice of stewardship begins with hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is the power of the Holy Spirit working through Word and Sacrament that changes our hearts and wills so that we become the generous children of God." Click here for the article. This and other insights from Gary Hedding, Assistant to the Bishop, Northwest Synod of Wisconsin and made available through the Association of Lutheran Resource Centers. This week's Recycling Bin feature.