Our friend Colin Williams recently moved to the beautiful historic town of Ludlow. We have yet to visit him there but one of the things he particularly mentions is Ludlow's annual food festival and the question of how to link the life of the church in to that.
It's an interesting challenge - churches are places where lots of eating take place, lots of common meals - the Bible is a book with lots of stories of meals, stories too of food scarcity and also of the promise of plenty. By focusing on food justice do Christians sometimes come across as killjoys, holier than thou? Perhaps. How can we find creative ways to hold the call for justice and the real joy and pleasure of food together. With the eucharist as our founding meal we should surely find it easier than we seem to.
Human beings need food and water to even begin to be able to live. Surely, we do not live by bread alone. Certainly however folk cannot live without bread or maize or rice or some real food.
Today news comes in that the UN is warning of a major new food crisis - the situation is likely to become even more acute for many of the world's poorest.
Today I also received the information posted below from my colleagues at the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance on the churches week of action on food where they seek to highlight women and food security.
And yet even as I post this I know guilt and have once more to recognise my own very complex relationship with food - as a fat female Christian from the over-privileged north. Today I am on holiday, travelling. By midnight tonight I shall have eaten two meals in restaurants - I'm in France, these are good meals, delicious food. Sometimes holding justice and joy together is more than hard work, it makes me feel like a sinner and a hypocrite. A sinner and hypocrite who is of course nevertheless invited to the wedding feast of forgiveness and responsibility.
It would not be better if my personal sense of guilt and shame also made me silent.
So do check out some of the resources below - the sermon writing competition sounds fun. Maybe I should give that a try.
Highlight women and food security during Churches Week of Action on Food
The Churches Week of Action on Food will take place 10-17 October 2010. The focus this year is on the vital importance of smallscale food producers, particularly women, in ensuring food security particularly for the almost 1 billion people experiencing chronic hunger.
An action guide and liturgy are available in English, French and Spanish. Join with thousands of others during the week to raise awareness about the root causes of hunger in this world and what we can do to help improve food security around the world.
The resources mentioned below are available at: http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/food/2010-churches-week-of-action-on-food/resources-for-churches-week-of-action/
What can I do?
- Hold a worship service focused on food and gender on the Sunday at the beginning or end of the Week of Action. Use or adapt the liturgy available in English, French and Spanish.
- Use the resource guide in English, French and Spanish to plan actions for the week, use as a study guide, and share with others to raise awareness of the issues of smallscale food producers, women and food security.
- Print and distribute the prayer card to members of your church to use at home as the prayer before meals during the week.
- Encourage a national letter writing campaign calling national governments to safeguard communal land against land grabbing using the EAA Model Letter. Adopt, adapt, collect signatures and send to the same people/institutions on the same day.
- Enter the EAA Food for Life competition by writing and submitting sermons on food and gender for promotion in 2011. Details of the competition will be available online during the Week of Action or you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Use the information in the resource guide to write a letter to your local paper for World Food Day, 16 October, letting more people know about the issues of food and gender.
- Share the research and analysis in the 2010 Right to Food and Nutrition Watch, with community organizations, study groups and media. The Executive Summary is available now, and the full report will be available from 7 October.
- Tell us what you are doing! Inspire others and share your ideas by sending information on your events and actions to email@example.com.