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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (August 2013)

posted Jul 31, 2013, 3:57 AM by Pastor Russ Crouthamel   [ updated Jul 31, 2013, 4:03 AM ]

From July 11-14, I attended the World Hunger Leadership Gathering in Des Moines, Iowa.  This was the third leadership gathering I attended since I began my call at the Punxsutawney Lutheran Parish (I went to one in Mexico City in 2009 and another in Detroit, Michigan in 2010).  These events always give me new perspectives on issues related to hunger and poverty and steps we can take to combat these issues.  I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of my recent leadership gathering.

  • Toured facilities that are committed to developing sustainable agriculture; genetic discoveries that offer insights into plant potential; food and human nutrition research; biomass production and processing; preservation of natural resources; and much more.  The facilities we toured were Syngenta, Iowa State University BioCentury Research Farm, and Iowa State University – College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  At Iowa State, we were also privileged to hear from Ambassador Dr. Kenneth M. Quinn, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia and a leader of the World Food Prize Foundation. 
  • Watched the movie A Place at the Table, a documentary dealing with hunger and poverty in the U.S.  We then had the opportunity to hear from Barbie Izquierdo – one of the individuals featured in the movie – on the topic of “Multiplying the Message.” 
  • Presentations by presiding bishop of the ELCA, Bishop Mark Hanson, on “Multiplying the Mission;” Rev. Stephen Bouman, Executive Director of the Congregational and Synodical Mission Unit, on “Multiplying through Congregations;” Brad Wood, Director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado, on “Multiplying through Advocacy;” and many more.    
  • “Talkshops” focusing on hunger and hunger-related issues.  The two I attended were Hunger & Disaster and Hunger & Advocacy. 
  • Worked with fellow hunger leaders of Region 8 to discuss ways we could develop future goals to educate, advocate, and fundraise for World Hunger and its companion ministries. 

Now, some of you might be wondering, ‘What will you do with all this information and learning?’  Well, during the regional work group time, all participants wrote out individual commitments for their future work in hunger ministry.  My three were:

  1. Show the documentary A Place at the Table in my congregation and coordinate showings in other congregations of my synod.  Then, work with these congregations to “multiply the movement” so we can move closer to the goal of ending hunger in our country. 
  2. Use my voice to advocate for hunger and poverty related issues.  I committed to contacting my elected officials to express my views.  I also would like to take occasions throughout the year to take up an offering of letters to our elected officials.
  3. Work on developing a network that addresses the needs and “not needs” when disasters strike.  Many people want to help during these times, but sometimes their efforts are not needed when other resources could be utilized. 

Finally, I want to lift up thanks to God for giving me another opportunity to attend this gathering and for returning me safely home.  I also want to give thanks to all of you who have joined me in our call to “tend and feed Christ’s sheep.”  

In Christ – Pastor Maureen