“For Such a Time as This.” Pray. Fast. Act. Lutheran-Episcopal call for Public Witness
On May 18, 2017, the presiding bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church issued a joint invitation to a season of prayer, fasting and advocacy. The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA and The Most Reverend Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, extended this call out of concern for proposed deep cuts to programs that are vital to hungry people struggling with poverty. They summon our churches to practices of spiritual devotion that undergird a discipline of public witness with and on behalf of the neighbor:
“We are coming together as leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church to oppose deep cuts to programs that are vital to hungry people struggling with poverty. We make this call in anticipation of the May 21 Global Day of Prayer to End Famine. We highlight the importance of foreign assistance and humanitarian relief as members of the World Council of Churches.
We also make a call to pray, fast and advocate not just on May 21, but throughout the 115th Congress. At the invitation of Bread for the World, we join with ecumenical partners and pledge to lead our congregations and ministries in fasting, prayer and advocacy, recognizing the need to engage our hearts, bodies and communities together to combat poverty. As the call to prayer articulates: We fast to fortify our advocacy in solidarity with families who are struggling with hunger. We fast to be in solidarity with neighbors who suffer famine, who have been displaced, and who are vulnerable to conflict and climate change. We fast with immigrants who are trying to make a better future for their families and now face the risk of deportation. We fast in solidarity with families on SNAP, who often run out of food by the last week of the month. ”
ELCA Advocacy will support this call, equipping the ELCA Advocacy Network by:
- Sending resources early each month to support faith practices of prayer and fasting, along with background materials to equip advocates to prevent elected leaders from cutting programs that work to eliminate hunger and poverty across the country and around the world or adopting policies that would harm our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. Each month will lift up a different area of concern, including food, water, racial justice, immigration and the environment.
- Encouraging Lutherans to prayer and fasting on the 21st day of each month through the close of the 115th Congress. We fast on the 21st of the month because that is the day when 90% of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits run out for families, making the remainder of the month a hungry time. On this day, an advocacy alert will also invite participants to speak their faith by sending a message to their members of Congress.
Here is how to join us as we pray, fast and act together in this important time:
Join the ELCA Advocacy network and invite your friends and family.
The symbol for the fast is burlap, representing the sackcloth worn by the Jewish people in their time of mourning. It can be worn as a stole in public events.