Below is the text of a talk delivered by Paul Manganiello during worship on May 14, 2023. Visit bread.org/farmbill to start the BFW electronic letter which you can personalize. It is simple and quick. When you do contact your legislators, please let Paul Manganiello, Wendy Manganiello, or the church office know so that we can contact BFW’s Washington office.
Good morning! For our visitors and new members, my name is Paul Manganiello, I am a member of OSLC and am on the Social Ministry Committee. Welcome to our annual Bread for the World (BFW) Offering of letters! OSLC is a Covenant Church with BFW, an ecumenical advocacy movement founded by the New York City Lutheran pastor Art Simon in the 70’s.
In working for social justice, religious communities need to not only encourage personal acts of charity such as volunteering or financially supporting our non-profit charitable organizations but also work for justice to address the root causes which perpetuate generational poverty, such as the wealth gap; inadequate educational opportunities and job skills; unsafe “ghettoized” communities; etc.
BFW helps us to speak up and speak out to support those who suffer from systemic poverty.
Write for Rights is Amnesty International’s largest annual Human Rights campaign, held throughout December to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10th. During this season of Advent and throughout the year, many people wait in despair and without hope, often unjustly imprisoned. These people are Prisoners of Conscience. Jesus was a Prisoner of Conscience as he so often spoke out for Human Rights. As people of God, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to be a voice for those who have no voice by writing letters on their behalf. Through the power of collective action, these letters convince government officials to free people unjustly imprisoned and to end other abuses. For the past 12 years, during the Advent Season, our Social Ministry Committee has sponsored a letter-writing campaign for members of the congregation to write letters on behalf of, and personally to prisoners of conscience. These are letters of mercy (solidarity to the individual) and justice (to government officials for the release of the person).
To those who picked up a packet, thank you! Wendy Manganiello will have more letter packets to share on Sunday, December 11. If you have questions or would like copies, please contact Wendy.
Thank you for taking your time during Advent to write and send these letters. They do make a difference!
This is an easy and wonderful opportunity to involve children (and even adults) in caring for others. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) offers a program called “Hope for the Holidays.” The goal is to bring hope and light to thousands of immigrant children in the US. The project is to make homemade cards to be distributed at migrant detention centers across the country and at shelters along the border, reminding the families, especially their children, that they are not forgotten this holiday season. Either you can mail them yourself or bring them to church by November 27 and Wendy Manganiello will collect and mail them. The children will be making cards during Kid’s Club on Sunday, November 20.
Here are the steps and the link for further information.
Step 1: Make a card and write a message of hope and encouragement in English or Spanish. Draw a picture, or share a poem or just write words of hope. Sign the card with your first name, city and state. DO NOT put cards into individual envelopes.
Step 2: Bring the cards to church no later than Sunday, November 27
Add a note that these cards are from Our Savior Lutheran Church, Hanover, NH 03755. Then, Mail the cards in a larger envelope to: First English Lutheran Church, 3807 N Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218.
You can find more information about LIRS “Hope for the Holidays,” here. If you have any questions, please speak to Wendy Manganiello.
Sign up to Volunteer at Cover – Outdoor Projects Every Week! The COVER Home Repair program relies on the participation of community volunteers like you. By lending a hand with home improvement projects, you can help greatly improves the quality of life for local families, the elderly, and the mobility challenged. It’s a great opportunity to learn new skills. View volunteer opportunities and sign up here!
Advocate for Others: As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. God uses our hands, through our direct service work and our voices, through our advocacy efforts, to restore and reconcile our world. Through faithful advocacy, the ELCA lives out our Lutheran belief that governments can help advance the common good. Get involved by visiting the ELCA Advocacy Action Center.
Donate Additional Pantry Items: Current Top Needs: Canned beans, shelf-stable milk, canned tuna, instant oatmeal, and pasta sauce. Always Needed: peanut butter, pasta of all kinds, canned vegetables, pasta sauce, soups, macaroni and cheese, canned tomatoes, and canned fruit. Also needed, School Supplies: single-subject notebooks, colored marker sets, colored pencil sets, blue/black ink pens, No. 2 pencils, erasers, andrulers. Personal Items: shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products. You can learn more about the Upper Valley Haven here. You may bring donations directly to the Haven or bring them to worship on Sunday and we’ll make sure they get there.
As Christians, we are called to seek justice, care for those experiencing hunger and poverty, and embrace our Creator’s vision of hope, love, and peace. We are called to embody it in public as we commit to live in solidarity with those who are made vulnerable by the inequities that drive hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.
Letters are a strong witness of community concerns and personal testimonies. Over the years, letters and emails from congregations, campuses, and community groups have helped inspire our leaders in Washington, D.C., to pass legislative victories that reduce hunger in the U.S. and around the world.
This year, Bread for the World is asking for your help urging legislators to permanently expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Expanding the CTC permanently would do more to reduce hunger and poverty among our nation’s children than any single policy has in decades.
Act – click here to take action by emailing your members of Congress to help end hunger today! If you prefer to handwrite your letter, you can find a sample letter here and addresses here. Bring your written letters to church and we’ll offer them in worship on Sunday, May 29th before mailing them.
Contact Paul or Wendy Manganiello, OSLC’s Offering of Letter organizers, to let them know you’ve submitted your letter.
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