Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Planting a forest: Four Micah Center members write letters to Sen. Levin; many more to follow

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (March 19, 2009)--Four trees might not make a forest, but the small handful of mustard seeds that were planted at the Micah Center this week remain hopeful that their faith will enact change. Tera Dent, Hunger Justice Leader with Bread for the World and key member of the Micah Center's Poverty & Hunger Action Group, guided three of her colleagues in an Offering of Letters workshop on Tuesday evening.
The workshop introduced participants to the advocacy process as outlined by Bread for the World, a Washington-based effort to focus Congress's attention on the many needs of the developing world. Bread possesses a rich history of advocating for the world's poor and marginalized. The organization's current letter-writing campaign calls not for a
dditional aid but rather more responsible and responsive assistance to ensure that money allocated for alleviating poverty is achieving that end. 

"At first I was pretty disappointed--I put a lot of time into preparing for this," Dent said 
afterward, reflecting on the small turnout. "But twenty minutes after we were supposed to start, Lou (Havemann) shared a story about a pastor who planted a church in a farm community that somehow made a lot of sense." 

Havemann, co-leader fo the Poverty & Hunger Action Group, told the group that on the farmer's first Sunday, only one other person showed up. The pastor tried to discern whether or not to move forward with the planned service, but the lone farmer insisted. "If I only have one cow in my barn, I still feed it," Havemann said.
Dent's planning and preparation were not in vain: at the workshop's conclusion, four hand-written letters to Senator Levin were sealed and ready to be mailed; furthermore, each participant expressed interest in Dent bringing the workshop to their own community of faith to expand the efforts of Bread for the World.

And so goes a grassroots effort to effect change--planting a forest, one tiny seed at a time.

Brian Paff, The Micah Center

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