From the Worldwide Faith News archives

GA committee OKs farm-crisis report

Date 18 Jun 2002 15:47:14 -0400

Note #7256 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


GA committee OKs farm-crisis report

Members of PC(USA) are reminded, We Are What We Eat

by Evan Silverstein

COLUMBUS, OH - Members of the Assembly Committee on Evangelism and Witness passed a report on June 17 calling for the entire church to get involved in issues relating to food production and consumption.

The report, titled We Are What We Eat, was approved in response to an overture enacted by the 211th General Assembly (1999) on farm-crisis issues and their effects on family farmers and ranchers.

The report, to be forwarded to this the current 214th GA, urges all church members and governing bodies to get involved "to influence the agricultural revolution" by doing such things as praying for farmers around the world, farm and agricultural workers, rural churches and communities, directors and employees of trans-national corporations and lawmakers, as well as for "each of us as we make choices related to the food we produce, process and consume."

Committee members attached their own comments to send to the Assembly along with the report, which was originally proposed by the General Assembly Council (GAC).

In the comments, the committee noted that more than half of the more than 11,000 Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations are in rural settings, and that it considers the report a "positive step toward revitalization of rural congregations." 
That was a priority identified as part of the denomination's Evangelism and Church Growth strategy. Members said they recognize the "responsibility of all parties" in achieving the report's goals.

The report urges church members to become more aware of issues affecting rural communities, farmers and ranchers, whose situations affect PC(USA) congregations. 

"Invite farmers and ranchers to meet with us, so that we may learn first-hand about these issues," it says.

The report asks churchgoers to "put faith into action" through witness - to be present with farmers, ranchers and lawmakers and to speak up "as a witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ" by:

* Contacting legislators, mentioning their connection with the PC(USA) and urging support of legislation that benefits family-owned and -operated farms and ranches, assures fair food-distribution systems and promotes safety in the world's food supply;

* Encouraging rural congregations and presbyteries to provide safe places for discussion of issues that can divide communities, congregations and families;

* Advocating on behalf of family farmers and ranchers with multinational corporations, "as shareholder and/or board member and/or food consumer."

The report suggests cooperating in the effort with other churches, urban, suburban and rural communities, organizations and coalitions. 
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