Baptists join other faith leaders in pledge to fight hunger

Children participate in a summer feeding program. (USDA Photo)

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WASHINGTON (BNG)—Baptist leaders joined about 100 top officials from all major faith groups calling for a shift in national priorities to end hunger and poverty.

suzii paynter150Suzii PaynterFaith leaders gathered at an interfaith summit that is part of a larger movement in the faith community to end hunger and poverty by 2030. They met on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States, committing themselves to encourage their own communities to work for the end of hunger and signed a pledge to work to change national priorities.

“The pope has repeatedly urged people around the world to address the problems that contribute to the persistence of hunger and poverty,” the faith leaders said. “He has called us all to pray and work to end hunger. We trust that he will summon our nation to end the hunger in our midst and support global efforts to overcome hunger.”

“U.S. faith communities are deeply engaged with many sisters and brothers who struggle with hunger and poverty, and we have become increasingly active in urging our nation’s elected leaders to do their part—defending low-income people in the national budget debate, for example,” the pledge reads in part. 

“Our experience of God’s mercy and compassion for all people moves us to engage in God’s work of overcoming hunger and human misery, and our sacred traditions include visions of the world transformed.”

Baptist leaders signing the pledge include Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics; William Shaw, past president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.; David Goatley, executive director of the Lott Carey Foreign Missionary Convention; and James Perkins, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

“Pope Francis has consistently prioritized acts of humility and simple practices of compassion ministry,” Paynter said. 

“Pope Francis has let his life speak the gospel on the world stage. He has attracted the world’s attention by making the gospel visible. Learning to live by showing love and living the surprising acts of grace make a world of difference.”


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