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Editorial Review

People of faith offer glimmer of hope against bad news


With a summer of hurricanes and heat, tornados and typhoons, fires and floods, COVID and climate change, new refugees and new leaders, many seek to overcome feeling overwhelmed by finding ways to help those who have suffered and are still suffering.

Local, state/regional, national and global faith communities offer channels for responding with opportunities to donate, volunteer, pray and advocate.

One might be easily discouraged by the list of tragedies and by the self-centered focus of many who push their liberty over the life, health and wellbeing of the community, but seeing the responses of the faith and nonprofit communities in face of these events, one can be heartened and even hopeful.

Many media focus on conflicts, the unusual and the violence of weather and people.  Discouraged by news, this editor visited the websites of several national denominations to see their responses. Just looking at their opening pages, we found hope:

• "Action and advocacy are two ways, in addition to prayer, that people in the United Church of Christ (UCC) can assist the people of Afghanistan. National officers are urging people of faith to join their call for a swift response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

• One Great Hour of Sharing Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has a means to donate online to Haiti for earthquake relief.

• Together, United Methodists do remarkable ministry around the world, caring for survivors of earthquakes and storms; investing, long term, in vulnerable communities; implementing effective solutions to diseases like malaria; equipping the next generation through training and education to lead the church and society. In all of this, we share the good news of Jesus Christ.

• With our hands, we do God's work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus Christ's name throughout the world. We live in many different communities, span all ages, cultures and races and bring to this church unique life experiences and perspectives. Discover what God is calling you to do in life.

• Amid an alarming rise in antisemitic rhetoric and violence, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Anti-Defamation League will join together in a multifaceted partnership to provide Reform congregations with the tools needed to address antisemitism in their communities.

• Episcopal Migration Ministries, the refugee resettlement and migration ministry of The Episcopal Church, is currently working in partnership with the U.S. government to assist our Afghan allies with resettlement and direct services through a network of 12 affiliates across the U.S.

• In Haiti, Week of Compassion partners have already deployed volunteers to help with rescue operations and assess the damage. They are working to meet immediate needs. Our partners are also planning for longer term response, including construction; community-based psychosocial support and trauma recovery; reconstruction of damaged water infrastructure, and livelihood support.

• "We welcome the USDA's update to the Thrifty Food Plan,on needs of families and individuals who are food insecure. The increase in SNAP benefits will be a meaningful improvement in the lives of millions. U.S. Catholic bishops have repeatedly called for strengthening and improving SNAP ... to help people meet their essential needs."

These are just a hopeful sample of people putting their faith into action.

Mary Stamp – Editor

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, September, 2021