Written by Gregg Brekke
Nearly 150 people of faith gathered March 28 across from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., to hold in prayer issues concerning the country's federal budget and their effect potential effect on the nation's most vulnerable populations.
The prayer was held on the final day of the three-day Ecumenical Advocacy Days, whose theme this year was "Development, Security and Economic Justice: What's Gender Got To Do with It?"
"The people who went to the Hill also advocated for the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and passage of the International Violence Against Women Act," said Sandy Sorensen, director of the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries Washington, D.C., office.
"The sub-theme was that these budget cuts threaten programs like these and many more, and we can't afford to cut those programs," she added.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days is the nation's largest annual gathering of faith-based activists from the United States and around the world. Some 700 participants attended the conference to show their concern about the budget as well as development, security and economic justice, especially as they affect women and girls in the U.S. and abroad.
Also addressing the conference were: the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Washington office; Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK; the Rev. David Beckman, president of Bread for the World; and ambassador Tony Hall, director of the Alliance to End Hunger.
Sorensen was among those reading a litany of afternoon prayer.
"Holy One, we thank you for entrusting us with the care of your precious creation and for calling us to be doers of justice and makers of peace," said Sorensen. "We seek your grace to be the church you call us to be, even as we acknowledge our frequent failure to live into that call."