Bringing our renewal into the world

March 19, 2017

By Rebecca Linder Blachly

“Speak out for those who cannot speak,
     for the rights of all the destitute.
Speak out, judge righteously,
     defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31: 8-9)

In the midst of these 40 days of Lent, many of us turn inward: we seek to deepen our practices of contemplative prayer, to reinvigorate our worship, and to read and to meditate on God’s holy Word. Indeed, we are all called to renew our repentance and our faith; we ask for this when we pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit with me.” (Psalm 51:11)

For those of us who also understand our ministry to include public witness, what particular meaning does this season of fasting and penitence have for us? How can we – and how should we – integrate our fasting and self-discipline into the work we feel called to do in the world?

The seemingly outward-facing work of public witness does not have to be separate from the inward work of quiet prayer and self-examination. In repentance, we examine our hearts and our consciences in the hopes that we can move forward transformed and renewed. Our advocacy begins from that place of repentance, forgiveness, and renewal, and from there, we go out into the world, transformed and transforming, calling our society to care for the hungry, the sick, and the prisoners. We sustain ourselves in and through our inward work. Ephesians 6:2 tells us that, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

We come to this work with humility – knowing that we live in a world that is redeemed through Christ and not through our own efforts. Advocacy at its best can address great systemic injustices: protecting society’s most vulnerable, responding to the call of the Prophets: “Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). We must strive for justice even as we know we live in a world that is aching and broken. We know that our faith must lie with God, and not in illusions about our own strength or power.

Advocacy is one way among many to answer the call to righteousness and love we find in scripture. We work alongside those who live out the gospel in their communities: feeding the homeless at soup kitchens, visiting the incarcerated and their families, and welcoming refugees to their communities. We are not in this work alone, and strive to serve as witnesses as we advocate for more just policies and laws, even as we recognize the complexity and variety of righteously-held views. We bear witness, knowing that the outcome is God’s kingdom.

Rebecca Linder Blachly is director of government relations for the Episcopal Church.

Advocacy is one way among many to answer the call to righteousness and love we find in scripture. 

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • The Impacts of Proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Cuts on the Latino Community

    To end hunger and poverty in the United States by 2030, our country needs to support a budget that improves the lives of men, women, and children. Unfortunately, the Trump administration and Congress are proposing dramatic cuts to programs that promote economic opportunity or provide food...

  • The Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615 & H.R. 3440)


    The United States is a nation of immigrants. Throughout its history, people have moved here from all over the world and have contributed to their communities and our national life. Today, as in the past, immigrants are also creating prosperity for this nation. 


For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.

  • Interfaith Religious Leaders’ Pledge to End Hunger

    A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.

    We are deeply pleased...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.


  • The State of Black Poverty: A Pan-African Millennial Perspective on Ending Hunger by 2030

    Over the past year and a half, about two-dozen young adults from the United States and countries in Africa and the Caribbean, have gathered virtually and in person to reflect on the effects of hunger and poverty in black communities. The working group has been considering socio-political and...

  • Fact Sheet: The Hunger-Medicaid Connection

    Congress is considering proposals that would jeopardize healthcare coverage for millions of poor and near-poor adults and children. 

    Legislation under consideration in the House and Senate would gut...