The Heart of What We Do
Mission is at the heart of everything we do as we seek to be faithful disciples according to Jesus.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care ofme, I was in prison and you visited me.” – Matthew 25:35-36 (Matthew 25:35-36, NRSV).
It is a priority in for our congregation to address issues our neighbors in need near and far are experiencing. Beginning in 2020, we are focusing on food insecurity in order to make a significant impact on hunger in our community while continuing to support other mission efforts. Information below offers a sample of our commitment as a congregation and in partnership with agencies and groups including many local faith communities.
Hunger Action: Hudson's Roadmap
Focus on Hunger: Food Insecurity
by Beth Billman
After surveying the congregation and working with the Mission Committee, Session has approved a church-wide mission focus of Food insecurity. This will be the focus of our church moving into the future with a kickoff in January 2020. A task force was formed and has been working diligently to discern what this mission will look like, where we should put our efforts and how to engage all members and groups of the church. The members of the task force are Beth Billman, JoLee Carpenito, Carol Clemens, Mitch Perry, Glenn Schindo, Carolyn Scott and Debbie Kirk.
The task force presented their research, thought process, and future plans to the congregation in September during The Gathering. The presentation showed the statistics of hunger throughout our area and addressed difficult choices those experiencing hunger may be making in order to feed themselves and their families. We also announced an exciting new partnership with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. The Vision, Mission and Strategy of the task force were explained as well. The entire presentation may be found HERE.
The Four Pillars that make up our strategy are: Partnerships and Relationships, Advocacy, Neighborhood Outreach and Education. Through these focus areas we are confident that we can make a real and lasting impact on food insecurity in our community. We are hoping that these four areas will hold something that is of interest to each of our church members. We will have opportunities to work with existing partners, for hands-on volunteer work, learning about the underlying issues of hunger, and working to improve public policies on the issues.
One of our first goals is to become a designated Hunger Action Congregation through the PCUSA’s Presbyterian Mission organization. At our kickoff in January we will all have the opportunity to sign the covenant that pledges our efforts toward this designation. This designation will show our denomination and the world that are dedicated to alleviating hunger and to work to end its causes. This pledge and commitment will be reviewed and explained over the next six weeks in Window articles.
I look forward to working with each of you as we move toward the goal of alleviating hunger.
By JoLee Carpenito
One of the goals of the Food Insecurity Team (FIT) is to become a designated Hunger Action Congregation through the PCUSA’s Presbyterian Mission organization. To become certified, Hudson must establish a comprehensive program to address Food Insecurity. Specifically, Hudson has to demonstrate action in six designated areas for ending hunger and its causes. They are: Hunger Alleviation; Development Assistance; Hunger Education; Lifestyle Integrity; Corporate and Public Policy Witness; and Worship.
The first is Hunger Alleviation which is defined by PCUSA as “Providing food in a dignified way with an eye to long-term structural solution.” Hudson currently engages with several organizations in activities such as packing meals with Rise Against Hunger and delivering food through Meals on Wheels which help us to meet the criteria of this category.
FIT is working to provide additional opportunities for us to positively impact Hunger Alleviation by partnering with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Fighting hunger since 1980, they delivered almost 69 million meals last year and are focused on growing by an additional 11 million meals (20%) by the end of 2020. They are continuing to build solutions to end hunger including key initiatives that drive education and build partnerships to improve health and nutrition. FIT is evaluating the many ways that we can partner with the Food Bank in their efforts. We are working to organize formal and informal, individual and/or group, as well as ongoing or one-time opportunities to help. Something for everyone! Come to our kick-off on Sunday, January 12th to get the specifics on how you can get involved.
HMPC to Become Hunger Action Congregation
By Carol Clemens
Following last week’s article on Hunger Alleviation, the second topic of Development Assistance. As defined by PCUSA Hunger Action Committee Development Assistance addresses the root causes of hunger and poverty through equitable and sustainable development.
Food Insecurity is a result of many external factors. These include education, homelessness, domestic issues and economic inequalities. So, it’s not just a matter of feeding those in need, we must also address the peripheral programs that help eliminate the root cause of food deficiency. We are inviting our Christian community to join in, to rectify the unfair system that exists today and help to create supportive and sustainable solutions.
Today, many of you may already be working with groups that fall under this umbrella, for example: North Raleigh Ministries, Family Promise, and Jobs for Life. We would like to hear from you and communicate the good work that is being done. But there is more that can be done. In the months to come we will identify and communicate opportunities for you to participate, such as programs that address economic justice, proper shelter, job skill development and food cooperatives.
The work being performed is not only on a community level but also globally. The United Nations and World Bank have established many great programs to assist needed countries with aid and relief. We will have more information available at our January 12th kick-off.
“Alleviating hunger and eliminating its causes is at the core of our lives as people of faith"
Focus on Education
By Glenn Schindo
On Sunday January 12, Hudson will kick off our support of efforts to end food insecurity beginning with The Gathering and continuing throughout the morning. You will have an opportunity to learn about the four pillars that shape our food insecurity objective. Focusing on the pillar of education, there will be a variety of videos, printed materials, presentations, and conversation at your disposal.
There will be many opportunities for you to learn more about this issue as awareness of food insecurity takes hold in our culture. Hudson’s partnership with the Food Bank of NC will be the anchor.
Beginning in February, you will have the opportunity to get hands on experience supporting the Food Bank if that is your calling.
Other opportunities for learning will include book studies, bible studies, topical seminars, Sunday school curriculum, film series on poverty and hunger, and many others. The Presbyterian Mission Agency of PCUSA has a wide array of programs and resources to support your self-study efforts.
Hudson is also seeking to become a Hunger Action Congregation by signing a covenant that acknowledges the faithful work of Presbyterians around the country who are responding to the biblical call to help alleviate hunger and end its causes. Committing to hunger education is one of the six components of the covenant.
Please join us on January 12th to be a part of what will be an exciting and very rewarding journey.
Food Insecurity Task Force – Lifestyle Integrity
By Mitch Perry
Did you know that more than about 1/3 of food is wasted each year in the U.S.? That’s 11 billion pounds, enough to feed nearly 30 million people. Or that nearly 40 million plastic water bottles end up in landfills every year? Or that food packaging generally represents about 10% of the total cost of food purchases?
As we continue along our journey to adopt the PSUSA’s Hunger Action Congregational Covenant, we increasingly understand that supporting food security in our community cannot be achieved by providing direct food assistance alone. It’s important to understand how the decisions that we make individually and collectively about how we purchase, consume, conserve, and recycle food and packaging impact cost and access to food.
The Hunger Action Covenant defines this concept as Lifestyle Integrity – adopting sustainable personal and corporate lifestyles to restore justice and protect all of God’s creation. This includes purposefully making decisions focused on food sustainability.
Decisions such as choosing reusable water bottles or pitchers of water instead of individual serve plastic bottles, purchasing in smaller quantities to limit waste, purchasing fresher foods with limited packaging, recycling food packaging, and understanding the trade practices of the companies that we patron.
It is likely that most of us generally make responsible choices related to food, sometimes even without having to give it too much thought. And the same goes for our church’s practices. As we move toward becoming a Hunger Action Congregation, we will seek a blend of education, formal and informal information sharing, advocacy, and targeted initiatives to build on our existing efforts to support food security through the lifestyle choices that we make.
We look forward to sharing more information with you at our January 12th kick-off and to hearing your ideas about how together we can make a meaningful difference in reducing hunger in our community.
(See Rise Against Hunger, page 4.)
Alleviating hunger and eliminating its causes is at the core of our lives as people of faith
Advocating For an End to Hunger
By Carolyn Scott
As Christians we are called to provide for the hungry and to care for the poor. We belong to a denomination that takes this calling very seriously, even including it in our Book of Confessions:
“Enslaving poverty in a world of abundance is an intolerable violation of God’s good creation.” Confession of 1967, 9.46, PC(USA).
By participating in the Presbyterian Hunger Program as a Hunger Action Congregation, we at Hudson will join with Presbyterians around the world working to alleviate hunger by
Providing food and funds for direct assistance locally and internationally.
Promotion of sustainable food production practices through education and our own actions.
Calling on governments at all levels for policies to improve nutrition and eliminate hunger.
Advocacy is one of the Four Pillars of Hudson’s mission strategy for hunger relief. The covenant we will submit as a Hunger Action Congregation calls for “advocating and campaigning for changes in policies and practices to end hunger and its causes, promote self-development, and care for creation.” Our first step will be an Offering of Letters through Bread for the World, an organization with close ties to the Presbyterian Church which advocates for hunger relief through bipartisan legislation. Watch for information and a date after the New Year so you can participate. We already support the work of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and its Office of Public Witness which promotes the denomination’s policies of social justice nationally. You may want to think of ways you and your family can encourage fair trade, responsible food practices and fair treatment of workers through your buying choices. Let us strive to be faithful to Jesus Christ in our prayers and our actions in order to relieve the suffering brought by poverty and hunger.
Mission Task Force Focus on Worship
By Debbie Kirk
In the past few weeks we have highlighted five components of what it means to be designated a Hunger Action Congregation in the Presbyterian Church USA. We conclude this series with the importance of lifting up this commitment in worship. As our team has worked on this mission focus, we have recognized the complexity of the interrelated issues of access, economics, education, discrimination, poverty, public policy, personal and communal choices, along with others that must be addressed if healthy, affordable food is available and attainable for everyone. As a Hunger Action Congregation we will submit these challenges and opportunities to God in worship.
The worship service on January 12 will remind us through thanksgiving and praise, confession, reflection on the Word, and commitment to respond, that we are caretakers and stewards of the created world and of one another. Embedded in the service is the covenant we are making as a Hunger Action Congregation and the areas we will commit to address: hunger alleviation, development assistance, hunger education, lifestyle integrity, and corporate and public policy witness. These will be highlighted in worship throughout the year so we are reminded that, “at the center of the universe there dwells a loving spirit who longs for all that’s best in all of creation, a spirit who knows the great potential of each planet as well as each person, and little by little will love us into being more than we ever dreamed possible.” (Fred Rogers) Based on the biblical witness that the earth God created has enough resources for all its inhabitants, and knowing that Jesus addressed physical needs as well as spiritual ones, we have the opportunity to respond in gratitude by working to alleviate hunger and its causes in ways that are holistic and justice oriented.
Join us on January 12 for the Gathering, Worship and Fellowship as we celebrate the beginning of our 2020 mission focus.