Episcopal Relief & Development: Seeking and Serving Christ in All Persons

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 7.50.11 AMEpiscopal Relief & Development yesterday published their 2012 Annual Summary. When you have a free moment, click the picture at right to take a look at it.

The Annual Summary is not only beautiful but is an important reminder of the critical nature of Episcopal Relief & Development’s work.

Touching the lives of 3 million people across the globe, Episcopal Relief & Development lives into their calling as a “compassionate response of the Episcopal Church to human suffering in the world.”

Is your faith community partnering with Episcopal Relief & Development on any projects?

If not, check out the sections on their website titled What You Can Do and Church in Action.

Food, Faith, Garden Projects and Snow

snow 013Here in Minnesota we are caught in an April snowstorm that is predicted to drop 6+ inches of snow. A good day for reading.

I received a timely email post yesterday from Cindy Coe’s blog titled Food & Faith book resources. In her blog post she references several books that I think may be good reads for snowy days like today (or any day):

  • Michael Schut , editor, Food & Faith: Justice, Joy, and Daily Bread (Church Publishing, 2010)
  • Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Penguin, 2007)
  • Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (HarperCollins, 2008)
  • Elizabeth T. Groppe, Eating & Drinking (Fortress Press, 2011)
  • Fred Bahnson & Norman Wirzba, Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation (Intervarsity Press, 2012)
  • L. Shannon Jung, Sharing Food: Christian Practices for Enjoyment (Fortress Press, 2006)

According to Cindy’s review, any of these books would be great for adults or high school students, especially if your community is using Episcopal Relief & Development’s Abundant Life Garden Project.

algpIf you aren’t familiar with the Abundant Life Garden Project, it is an interactive, Scripture-based children’s curriculum offered to parishes, teachers, families and others who seek to share the ministry and work of Episcopal Relief & Development with elementary school-aged students. The program explores five thematic modules on Water, Seeds, Soil, Animals and Harvest. 

Although originally written for children, I’m betting Abundant Life Garden Project would be fairly easy to adapt for youth and even adult or intergenerational purposes.

You’ll find this and other Episcopal Relief & Development curriculum here: http://www.er-d.org/children.

For those of you who are also having a snowy day, my hope is that you are somewhere warm and cozy and that you have the chance to curl up with a good book and enjoy this last blast of winter.

If you find yourself in a warmer locale, maybe it is a good time for a bit of reading in the sunshine and sending warm thoughts to your friends and colleagues in colder climates.

Make This Easter Truly Life-Giving

Gifts for LifeStart a new Easter tradition! Join Episcopalians around the church this Easter in giving Gifts for Life.

A project of Episcopal Relief & Development, Gifts for Life is a program in which even a $15 gift can transform the lives of those in need and bring hope to sisters and brothers around the world. Some giving ideas:

Give a Goat: Give a goat for stable food and earnings. Give a family the opportunity to sustain a regular income. Goats are hardy, reproduce quickly and can be raised in a variety of climates to produce sought-after items such as milk and cheese, as well as manure for farming. $80/goat.

Seeds, Tools & Training: Provide the tools to thrive. Help communities cultivate a better future by supplying seeds, important agricultural training and quality farming tools needed to cultivate a sustainable food supply from the land. $45/share.

Feed Tomorrow’s Minds: In places devastated by poverty, young children often lack a healthy foundation. Pre-school programs give children a chance to develop language, social and motor skills while providing nutritious snacks and health education for both children and their parents. $15/child.

View Episcopal Relief & Development’s online catalog for more giving opportunities.

Do you have an Easter giving tradition? Are you inspired to start one?

Share in the comments below.

February 17 is Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday

Episcopal Relief & DevelopmentThe first Sunday in Lent is Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday. This event – and others like them – offer perfect opportunities for youth to build their community leadership skills.

Episcopal Relief & Development offers support materials, including:

  • downloadable checklist to help participating churches plan for this special Sunday, 
  • Storiesphotos and videos that illustrate the organization’s work, and
  • other Lenten materials that can be ordered through Episcopal Marketplace to help highlight the organization’s mission of healing a hurting world.

Creative ideas for recognizing Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday include:

  • offering Bishops Blend Coffee and Tea to educate your community on the importance of supporting growers of fair trade, organic, shade-grown coffee and tea, and
  • writing a special sermon or prayers focusing attention on the challenges of global poverty and disease.

Recent examples of how congregations have engaged creatively with issues of poverty and sustainable development during Lent and on Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday can be found in the following “Friends of Episcopal Relief & Development” features:

Congregations are encouraged to designate an offering for Episcopal Relief & Development’s Global Needs Fund, which enables the agency to reach those most in need worldwide.

Are you planning to sponsor an Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday activity?

Post your plans and ideas in the comments below.

Great Partnership Examples from Episcopal Relief and Development

ERD PartnershipsI got an email about this great project undertaken in partnership with Episcopal Relief and Development.

These partnerships (with dioceses, churches, non-governmental organizations, donors and other people who support the alleviation of global suffering) are what enable Episcopal Relief & Development to transform the lives of millions of people every year.

The partnerships exemplify the spirit of collaborative, contextualized ministry – the hallmarks of every great ministry initiative.

This month’s Power of Partnerships takes a look at an innovative “green” project currently being piloted at three Episcopal schools in Haiti.  Built and managed in partnership with local community leaders, this program combines renewable energy production with advancements in water, sanitation, hygiene, agriculture and reforestation practices.

Each school has installed a rainwater catchment system to supply water for new hand-washing stations and flush toilets, and a bio-digester that produces methane gas for cooking and liquid fertilizer for growing crops and trees. In addition, students are engaged in health and hygiene education that they can share with their families, reducing illness and promoting wellbeing.

If you don’t follow the work of Episcopal Relief and Development and its partners, I highly recommend you visit their website and learn more. Perhaps it will lead to new inspiration for engaging new partnerships – even worldwide ones – as part of your youth ministry program.