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  • Writer's pictureDavid Beckmann

An Eventful Week for Me

On Monday evening, Bread for the World and the Alliance to End Hunger hosted a reception in my honor. I enjoyed lots of generous comments about me, of course. But most of the people at the reception were long-time co-workers, so the event was really a celebration of what we did together during my tenure and what we're doing now. It was also a celebration of the successful leadership transition Bread and the Alliance have made to their current presidents, Eugene Cho and Eric Mitchell.

I had learned that day that Arthur Simon, the founder of Bread for the World, was dying. Eugene led us in prayer for Art and his family at the close of the reception. Art and the people across the country who worked with him achieved important advocacy victories even in Bread's early years. Most notably, they campaigned relentlessly and successfully to win bipartisan support for WIC (nutrition for little children and their mothers) and for a UNICEF-led campaign to reduce child mortality around the world. The number of children who die from preventable diseases has dropped from about 50,000 each day in the early 1980s to about 14,000 a day now, partly because of widespead adoption of child-survival strategies (mass innoculations against killer diseases, for example) that the UNICEF-led campaign taught the world. Art also laid durable foundations for the ongoing work and development of Bread for the World.

Arthur Simon long ago died to himself and lived the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, "Let your kingdom come . . . on earth as it is in heaven." He lived and died in faith and hope. Art's family is organizing a funeral at the church where he and his wife were members, and Bread for the World is organizing a nationwide memorial service in early December.

On Thursday evening, Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock spoke at Virginia Theological Seminary at my invitation. In the photo below I'm standing with Senator Warnock and Ian Markham, who is the president and dean of Virginia Theological Seminary. I'm serving at the seminary as Dean's Advisor for Political and Economic Justice.

Art Simon would have loved to hear Warnock's speech about God, racial and economic justice, and politics. You can see and hear it on YouTube. If you search "Raphael Warnock," it pops up. Or click on this link:


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