December 2018: For the Next Time
For the past 20 months, we joined together to #PrayFastAct. We prayed for those who are living in or at the edge of poverty. We fasted, reminding ourselves of what it feels like to go without. And we acted – calling and writing members of Congress to say that poverty matters to us, that we must not forget the most vulnerable among us.
We also joined together to look beyond the headlines, to consider the challenges that millions face every day, regardless of whether their particular stories are trending. We were encouraged by our engagement in advocacy with the goal of affecting long-term outcomes, committing to advocacy as a practice of relationship-building with our elected officials, so we can more deeply share the issues that matter to us.
VIDEO WRAP-UP: OUR #PRAYFASTACT "FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS" COMMITMENT
For the past 20 months we have highlighted various dimensions of poverty – recognizing that low-income communities aren’t always guaranteed safe drinking water, reminding ourselves of the particular challenges veterans face, and lifting up the programs that help people to navigate times of uncertainty due to health issues or temporary unemployment. We highlighted the importance of the social safety net, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. We addressed disaster preparedness, economic opportunity initiatives and infrastructure. We asked for you to urge further investment in women and girls, and focused on the importance of protecting indigenous people.
As the myriad issues above indicate, it is daunting to tackle a challenge as varied, complex and far-reaching as poverty, and it can be hard to know how to engage most effectively. We hoped that this campaign helped you to draw connections seeing how the tangible ministries of our churches are influenced by broader structural and systemic issues. We aim for these vital ministries of direct outreach to be bolstered by fervent, persistent prayer, by the solidarity and spiritual practice of fasting, and by recognizing the role that advocacy can play in creating change.
We strive to keep you informed about legislation even when it’s complicated, to keep the spotlight on issues even when more dramatic news stays on the front pages. We can help to provide context and background. And we ask for you to stay engaged with us so that we can help shape and influence legislation and policy initiatives before a crisis hits. The more informed we are, the more challenging it will be to distract us from the key issues from the appropriations processes that determine how much funding will go to support hungry kids who need school lunches, or to foreign assistance programs that aim to relieve famine in Yemen.
We thank you again for staying with us through this campaign even when other issues called for our attention and energy. Thank you for focusing on the quiet needs of families who are struggling, who rely on a social safety net to help them through times of transition. Thank you for taking action not just from a place of reactivity, but from a prayerful and contemplative place.
We kept up this campaign in hopes of building up our discipline to advocate for the least of these, to speak out for the rights of all, to really think about the long-term decision making in our government and our need—our obligation—to be involved in that process. For Such a Time is about preparing for the next time.
For the next time is upon us already, as the 115th Congress comes to an end, and a new Congress begins in January. Commit to diving deeper in advocacy with us as we approach this new Congressional session, learn about an issue you’re less familiar with, and join us in speaking out with those in poverty, those in need, those facing oppression or living in fear. Approach this advocacy with the long term, strategic mindset explored in the For Such a Time campaign.
Finally, as we’re asking this commitment of you, we also want to make a commitment to you to continue raising the standard of our advocacy tools, educational materials and opportunities for action throughout 2019. We’re excited and ready to engage the 116th Congress, and we hope you join us and introduce a few new friends to the ministry of policy advocacy.
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