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Church men launch new effort to reduce hunger in America

 


Church men launch new effort to reduce hunger in America

May 17, 2005

By Rich Peck*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)—Presidents of United Methodist Men in U.S. annual conferences are launching an effort to involve 9,600 men in hunger relief and to create 800 local church units for men’s ministry.

The effort will begin with a gleaning, a potato drop, and a dried and canned food collection at the July 15-17 National Gathering of United Methodist Men at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Every four years, United Methodist men from around the globe gather for a time of spiritual renewal, fellowship and instruction. This year’s event is the ninth gathering.

A gleaning, or collecting of left-over food from a farmer’s field after harvest, will be held on the morning of July 15. Food will be distributed to hunger relief agencies in the West Lafayette area.

The potato drop will be held on the afternoon of the same day, next to the Purdue football stadium. More than 40,000 pounds of potatoes will be bagged and then distributed to more hunger relief agencies.

The 4,000 men expected to attend the national gathering are also asked to bring five cans of vegetables, fruits and soups to help feed the hungry.

These mission events are done in combination with hunger-relief training sessions and hunger-relief workshops.

The workshops will help men understand a new effort launched by the National Association of Conference Presidents and the Society of St. Andrew, a hunger relief ministry based in Big Island, Va.
 
Each annual conference president of United Methodist Men is asked to find 12 churches without a unit of United Methodist Men. Following the Purdue event, they will ask each of these churches to send 10 volunteers to participate in a potato drop, gleaning or other hunger-relief effort. The men will also be challenged to give $20 each for Meals for Millions to support national hunger-relief ministries.

The men hope each church will want to charter a unit of United Methodist Men to participate in future mission and spiritual-enrichment experiences.

In a world that produces 4.3 pounds of food daily for every individual on the planet, there is no reason for anyone to go to bed hungry, said the Rev. Ken Horne, the top staff executive of the Society of St. Andrew.

“Our goal is not to sponsor more potato drops or gleaning efforts,” Horne said. “Our goal is to have enough people get angry about hunger in America that they will demand action.” He estimates the efforts by United Methodist Men will raise $158,000 for hunger relief.

Speakers at the national gathering include:

  • Rudy Ruettiger, a short-stature man who struggled with dyslexia but dreamed of playing on the Notre Dame football team. His story inspired the film “Rudy.”
  • Clay Dyer, who was born without any lower limbs, no arm on the left side and a partial arm on the right. His limitations have not dampened his determination or love of competitive bass fishing. He is an active member of First Baptist Church, Hamilton, Ala., and a full-time staff member of Making U Disciples ministries.
  • Dayton Edmonds, a full-blooded Native American of the Caddo nation and a retired United Methodist missionary.
  • Bishop Violet L. Fisher, who leads 800 local churches and 1,500 clergy in the North Central New York and Western New York annual (regional) conferences.
  • The Rev. Tyrone D. Gordon, pastor of the 5,400-member St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church, Dallas.
  • The Rev. James W. Moore, senior pastor of the 7,500-member St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston.

Other featured performers include Friends of the Groom, an interdenominational theater group; Phillips Craig & Dean, three full-time church ministers with a music ministry that has produced nine albums; Christlike, an Oklahoma-based group of men who combine country flavor acts with traditional Southern Gospel music; Africa University Choir, 16-member choir from Mutare, Zimbabwe; and Paul Saik, soloist from Nashville, Tenn.

The week will also include 30 workshops on topics ranging from using the Internet to practicing biblical justice. Cal Turner, former president of Dollar General Stores, will speak at a dinner honoring members of the John Wesley Society, and a mission fair will include exhibits from national and international agencies. The three-day event will also include a golf tournament and a fun run.

For information and to register, go to www.gcumm.org and click on the 9th National Gathering.

*Peck is the communications coordinator for the Commission on United Methodist Men

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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