Elizabeth Ring shared the following letter from the Poverty Initiative of the National Council of Churches. She thought Maine’s deacons might be interested because the letter offers specific actions one could take in response to the General and Diocesan Conventions’ Resolutions on poverty that passed this year. Note: actual handwritten, snail-mailed letters are so rare these days that politicians take special note of them, but email is also effective. Read on – Mary Lee

Many churches remember people living in poverty during holiday seasons by preparing and delivering food and gift baskets to those in the community who might otherwise go without. Some churches also take up special collections for relief efforts at home and around the world.

Over the next several months, important decisions will be made about the federal budget. People of faith from many traditions have gathered in the Faithful Budget and Circle of Protection coalitions to call on politicians to get serious about deficit reduction in a way that does not harm struggling poor and hungry people. While church relief efforts help, they often meet only a fraction of the hunger needs in the community. We need government to reflect who we are as a nation — We are our brother and sister’s keepers, and we respond to our neighbors in need.

As churches gather to prepare and deliver holiday baskets, the National Council of Churches also encourages you to write a short letter in your own words to your Representative and Senators. You can hand write the letter according to the template below, then send it in the mail.

You can also simply click here to email your message:

Grace and Peace,
Shantha, NCC Poverty Initiative

Dear __________ (name of your Representative or Senator),

Paragraph 1: Describe what your church is doing to help people living in poverty, either at home or around the world.

Paragraph 2: Ask your leader to develop a deficit reduction agreement that gets our fiscal house in order while also keeping a Circle of Protection around programs that serve people in poverty at home and abroad.

Paragraph 3: Ask your leader to tell you what he or she plans to do to protect people living in poverty during the budget and deficit negotiations.

Paragraph 4: Assure your leader of your prayers for wisdom and courage as he or she makes these important decisions.

______ (Your Name)

To address the envelope:

The Honorable __________________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable _____________
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510