Big things are happening now in our nation and for me personally.
Congress is negotiating a transformational recovery package, including both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the family support budget bill. Even when the budget bill is scaled back, the package may still do more to reduce poverty than any legislation in my lifetime.
I’m now a co-chair and the coordinator of the Circle of Protection, a coalition of church bodies and ministries that include nearly 100 million members. The leaders and groups in the Circle of Protection have been inspired to a burst of activism in advocacy. Check out what the Circle is doing, especially what Christian leaders are saying to their people about the family support budget bill (https://circleofprotection.us/). A delegation from the Circle was recently invited to a meeting at the White House with senior advisors to President Biden.
My work with the Circle is keeping me busy, but I’m also a visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York this term. Building on the course I taught in Berkeley this spring, I’m focusing my Union course on effective lines of action in faith communities to change the politics of poverty. Legislative advocacy is just one of them.
I’ll be posting 20-minute videos from a series of guest presenters on my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3lJ7yirhK7RpAQCq9Q_4tw) and sharing some of what I’m learning in blog posts. I hope you will find these videos and posts useful as you consider how you can best contribute to overcoming hunger and poverty in our time.
I’m still convinced that God is moving in our time to end hunger. I think of the progress that’s been made around the world as a great exodus from hunger. The pandemic has been a serious setback - a Sinai phase of the exodus. But the setback hasn’t by any means cancelled out what was achieved in recent decades, and it’s still feasible to virtually end hunger and extreme poverty in our time. In fact, hunger and poverty in America have dropped this year, thanks mainly to President Biden’s American Rescue Act.
I retired from serving as president of Bread for the World and the Alliance to End Hunger more than a year ago, and I thank God that I’ve been able to establish a new leadership role. I’m now devoting about 50% of my work time to current advocacy and 50% to learning and teaching about how to strengthen the contribution of faith communities to the political change we need to make rapid progress against hunger and poverty.