Lenten Hunger Offering
March 06, 2019 -
March 6, 2019 -- April 20, 2019
Jan Matthews, Mission Team Chairperson
The theme for the 2019 Memphis Conference Lenten Hunger Offering is MERCY. Mercy is an often-used word, especially here in the south, but do we fully understand what it means? Mercy is the showing of kindness or compassion to the less fortunate and showing it without judgment. Throughout the Bible there are numerous illustrations of mercy. God demonstrates mercy at its finest in Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are recipients of this ultimate mercy and it is our duty to extend mercy to our fellow humans. Showing mercy by feeding the hungry is the goal of the Lenten Hunger Offering.
The 2019 LHO campaign’s goal is to decrease physical hunger – the feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by a lack of food coupled with the desire to eat. Medically, hunger results from stimulation of sensory nerves of the stomach by the contractions and churning of an empty stomach.
Why have a campaign about hunger when we live in the richest country in the world? It might surprise you to learn that 1 in 8 people in the US struggle with hunger. That’s 41 million people – nearly 13 million children and more than 5 million seniors. Hunger knows no boundaries and affects people from all walks of life. Many Americans are one job loss or medical crisis away from food insecurity. Your neighbor, your child’s friends or even a member of your congregation may be struggling to get enough to eat. Imagine having to
choose between buying food for the week and paying utility bills. People who struggle with hunger face those tough decisions every day. Decisions can have serious, long-lasting consequences.
Hunger and health are deeply, irrevocably intertwined. People who are food insecure are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. For children, food insecurity is particularly devastating, affecting not only physical and mental health, but also academic achievement and future economic prosperity. Hunger and food insecurities in young children are associated with delayed development and increased risk of chronic diseases like anemia. In older children, hunger is associated with anemia, decreased academic achievement and behavior problems such as anxiety and aggression. Imagine being a hungry child sitting in a classroom with a stomach that has not been fed since lunch time the previous day. It is difficult to pay attention and learn.
The Memphis Conference began the Lenten Hunger Offering to combat problems on local and global levels. This furthers the mission of the conference to “discover, equip, connect and send lay and clergy leaders who shape congregations that offer Jesus Christ to a hurting world, one neighborhood at a time.” Our conference distributes LHO monies to local neighbors such as food pantries in our four districts, Reelfoot Rural Ministries and United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis, as well as to global neighbors: Our Father’s House, Project Peanut Butter and feeding ministries in Mexico. This helps alleviate immediate problems of hunger, ultimately builds relationships and shares the MERCY we have received with a hurting world.
Your spare change can save lives! Please pick up your Lenten Calendar in the narthex of the church at our Ash Wednesday Service that will be held on Wednesday, March 6th at 5:30 p.m. We will have some containers available for you to use to collect your loose change. If you would like to make your own container for your change, a LHO label will be available to place on an empty can or jar. If you are unable to attend the Ash Wednesday Service, the materials will also be available on Sunday, March 10th. Together we can make a difference in our communities and our world by showing mercy to the world!!!
Aldersgate’s Mission Team