Written by Jessie Palatucci
Blessed are you who are
hungry now, for you will be filled.” Luke 6: 21
During Mission 1, members of United Church of Christ congregations across the United States have blessed the poor with food, blessed each other with the joy of giving, and blessed our public life with faithful engagement.
Many of us in the national church have also been blessed through these eleven days with your question: “How can we harvest the concern and commitment we have seen as our church has begun to realize there are deeper issues that must be addressed if we are to overcome the poverty that causes so many to be hungry?”
General Synod 27 anticipated this question when it established the Economic Justice Covenant Program: “As Christians we sing the hymns of justice, equality, and unity; we pray for the well-being of all God’s children; and we continue our activities to feed the hungry and house the homeless. But all the while we watch the gap between rich and poor in our own nation and in the world become ever wider, with many millions left in poverty… The United Church of Christ and its predecessor church bodies … have received Christ’s summons to call our churches and our societies toward the blessed vision of God’s Realm, including justice in our economic life.”
The Economic Justice Covenant Program provides materials and suggests opportunities that can assist local congregations to explore what they feel called to do. There are resources for worship, prayer, study, and exploration within and outside the walls of the church. There is also guidance to help your congregation engage the process of drafting and adopting an Economic Justice covenant to express your commitment to a new course of action to promote economic justice. Finally there are suggestions for your congregation to live out the covenant you have created.
You can also find resources for eliminating poverty on the United Church of Christ Poverty web page. A new call to eradicate poverty that is posted there, Ending Poverty: A Christian Social Contract for Our Times, concludes by naming many different ways your congregation can begin to address the causes of inequality and poverty. The ideas in this resource will help your congregation take concrete steps to ensure that fewer people in the United States and around the world are hungry in the future.