Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An blog update for YOU!

Hey friends and fans! We've moved the blog.
The new address (so you can update your RSS feeds and readers) is http://e4gr.wordpress.com/. Please update your lists!

We recently asked our wonderful team of bloggers if they had interest keep up writing and posting, and from this group there was little time and availability. However--we would LOVE to add your voice to the mix!

If you are interested in writing, posting and keeping us all in the loop on making a difference towards achieving the MDGs--we need YOU! Please email Executive Director, Devon Anderson at e4gred (at) gmail (dot) com or leave us a comment here and we'll contact you right away!

This blog will be removed soon, but each and every single post has been archived and saved, and is completely searchable anytime at http://egrarchive.wordpress.com/

Thanks and look forward to seeing you all at the new space!

Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
End Poverty. Unite the Church. Heal a Broken World.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Diocese of MD and MDGs

Exciting times are here again this year in the Diocese of MD - we have 10 applicants for the Diocesan MDG grants - including many new applicants. The Committee is excited to learn of the work parishes are doing in alleviating extreme poverty and the variety of ministries they are participating in. The Committee will make our recommendations to Diocesan Council in November. Our website is http://www.globalmission.ang-md.org/

Monday, September 7, 2009

E4GR Half the Sky - MDG#3

Dear E4GR Friends:

I try to track news coverage of the MDGs via a Google News Alert, and I have to say there is little in the US press about extreme poverty and the attempts to address it.

Thus I was delighted to see the significant coverage around the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Pulitzer Prize winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. My copy should be arriving this week.

There was a major piece in the New York Times Book Review section a couple of weeks ago:
And last night on Dateline, Ann Curry interviewed Nicholas Kristof and Mukhtar Mai, one of the heroines of the book -- a woman who turned her rape into incredible efforts to build a new society in rural central Pakistan, by building schools for girls. See more on the story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032600/

Kristof and WuDunn have not only written a book, they are starting a movement for women's rights, and have set up a web page on the movement, here:
http://www.halftheskymovement.org/ . The Get Involved section shows some of the many organizations working for women's rights, education, maternal health, stopping sex trade trafficking and more.

Perhaps some of these resources can be helpful to us as we plan our MDG campaigns.

Eleanor Braun
Diocese of Virginia Co-Coordinator

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Millennium Development Goal #1 – by John G. Miers

Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

“I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
- Matthew 25:31-46

Extreme Poverty and Hunger. Have you seen it? Are you sure? People are quick to say “sure, I’ve seen hunger and poverty….just downtown earlier this week.” I’m sure they saw some hunger and poverty, but that is not exactly what this goal is speaking to. This Goal is to Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty. It also refers to this eradication as being done throughout the world, not just “downtown.”

What is meant by “Extreme?” Just what does it mean? How hungry can you be before your hunger is “Extreme?”

This is a hard question, because there are many definitions of hunger.

If a person doesn’t have lunch, is he or she hungry?
If a baby does of malnourishment in its home is he or she hungry?
What about one who dies in the hospital?
If a school age child only eats junk food for lunch, is her or she hungry?
If there is a crop failure in Nigeria, will the people be hungry?

The same set of questions can be used as to just what defines “Poverty.” How poor do you have to be before your poverty is “Extreme?”

I think that the terms for the title of MDG #1 were chosen carefully. I believe that what the MDG-drafters were – and are – referring to is a pair of root and basic situations where many people do not have sufficient nourishment or wealth over an extended period of time, with not much hope to turn the situation around.

The MDGs were crafted to force us to look away from “downtown” and to a bigger picture, one that is world-wide, one that is “over there.” Poverty and Hunger can, indeed, be “Extreme” here, close to home, but the odds are much greater that they will be “Extreme” when you go to another part of the world. It is these places to which our attention must be directed, and our plentiful resources need to be directed “over there.”

How should this be done? How can we tend to our own people as well as tending to the others? This is a hard question, and one that is not easy to answer. Part of this difficulty is that when we see Poverty and Hunger in other places, the causes are often significantly different than they are “downtown,” and the ways to deal with them are also different than the easy ways that work over here. An entirely new way of thinking is needed; creativity and imagination are essential. We need the proverbial new set of lenses.

One of the most far-reaching impacts of the MDG effort will be the shifting in our perspectives from “downtown” to “over there.” This will be the most long-lasting and valuable effects. I hope that we can be “opticians to the world,” issuing everyone a new set of lenses!

We are currently in the series of Gospels where Jesus states that “I am bread.” Not the short-lived manna, but the long-life bread. This is what we need to give to the world.

John Miers is from Bethesda, Maryland, where he was employed at the National Institutes of Health from 1968 to 2005. He serves on the board of St. Luke’s House, a halfway house for persons recovering from mental illness and also serves as Jubilee Officer for the Diocese of Washington. He was a member of National Commission on Science, Technology and Faith for the Episcopal Church and is active in his local church, where he is in the choir, worship committee, pastoral care committee, and the prayer team, and he also visits patients in a local hospital on behalf of the Chaplain.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The EGR Volunteers

By John Hammock

Today my thoughts go to the EGR volunteers here at Convention—and all over the country—that have been so tireless in their work to promote the MDGs. It is a testament to their faith and their commitment to the Gospel. It is the volunteers who have led the charge in getting the 0.7% reinstated into the Church budget. It is impossible to name all the people who have contributed to this team effort. But we have had folks working the booth, selling t-shirts and passing out literature on the MDGs and EGR. We have had people testifying for the EGR supported resolutions; we have had volunteers handing out leaflets to delegates as they enter Convention to remind them of tonight’s U2charist. And we have had our EGR members and Board members as delegates working tirelessly to get specific legislation approved.

Today I want to spend a moment reflecting on the volunteer work of the EGR Board. We have a Board meeting today. It will be a short meeting where we welcome Devon Anderson as our new Executive Director. It is hard to believe that we have made a transition of Directors right in the time leading up to Convention! Devon has been front and center in the legislative EGR work at Convention—as has been Ian Douglas and Jeffrey Rowthorn. Dahn Gandell, in addition to being a Delegate to Convention has been tireless in organizing the work at the EGR booth and the U2Charist. Her energy and drive put together much of the EGR presence at Convention—very much helped by Debbie Shew, who spent countless hours at the booth with me day after day. For the first week of Convention we were joined in the booth by Arington Chambliss and in the last few days we have been joined by Board member Gary Cartwright. Yesterday Craig Cole joined us, though he is looking after the Five Talents booth also. And Laura Smith has been in and out—letting us know about what has transpired. Truly the Board members at Convention have been involved—given their time and talents to the EGR work.

I focus on the Board because this is an active board—one that takes time to work on the real issues. As Board Chair it is a pleasure to work with these committed individuals. And here at Convention we see directly the passion of our other volunteers—folks who make all the work possible. I cannot thank everyone by name, though in my next blog I want to single out several of the volunteers that have been so helpful.

With our wonderful booth and our legislative presence, some people may think that we have a large paid staff and a large budget. Neither is true. We have a staff of one and a half and a budget that is about $150,000 a year—for all that we do. And our Board is committed to keeping this a volunteer organization—building a movement for social change and personal transformation. With the help of all our volunteers, the Episcopal Church (TEC) has recommitted itself to the MDGs. Thanks be to God.

Not Just Another Day

We have a big day today. First let me thank you all AGAIN for your fabulous legislative work -- despite the slashing of the budget ($23 million) -- MDGs came out clear and strong. This is a direct result from all of you who showed up and spoke at hearings, as well as everyone out there praying and advocating from a distance. THANK YOU.

We said good-bye yesterday to Jason Long who volunteered all last week for EGR and said hello to our own Mike Kinman. God is good.

Tonight: U2charist--Dahn suggested making the time a bit later for the service with which I wholeheartedly agree. It's Dahn's call. Stay tuned. We'll keep you updated!

Short and sweet--but filled with HUGE gratitude.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Press Release: EGR Applauds Critical Funding for MDGs

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Contact: The Rev. Devon Anderson
Executive Director, Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation


The budget for the Episcopal Church presented to the joint session of the House of Deputies and House of Bishops today includes over $800,000 (or 0.7% of the budget), for the Millennium Development Goals. If approved, the funding will be directed to the Nets for Life program through Episcopal Relief and Development.

“The inclusion of the MDG line-item is a courageous and prophetic expression of faith,” said the Rev. Devon Anderson, Executive Director of Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation.

“Tough financial times require us to make heart-wrenching choices, separating the urgent from the important. The budget reflects the heart of our church. While we realize that this is a sacrificial budget, the heartbeat of mission beats the loudest. And for this reason, we can be very proud as a church.”

“We are so grateful that the 0.7% for MDGs was reinstated and that domestic mission will also enjoy a 0.7% line-item. God is calling us to mission and these investments will equip us to be faithful to this call.”

Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation is a grassroots organization serving Christ in the extreme poor around the world. Earlier this week, both Houses passed D019, which called for the reinstatement of the MDG line-item at the 1% level. The line-item had been removed by Executive Council in its draft budget sent to General Convention. D019 was sponsored by the Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas, EGR and Dr. Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies.

The line-item can be found in the budget, page “B 8 of 11” on line 405 and amounts to $803,694 total over three years (2010-2012).