Yale Divinity School to launch “Mobilizing Faith, Fighting Poverty” initiative on Ash Wednesday

A YDS-hosted event at the National Press Club in Washington on Ash Wednesday, March 9, will serve as the official launch of a Lenten season campaign aimed at rallying the faith community in the fight against poverty.

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/188094_196173477077670_575905_n.jpgThe campaign, called “Mobilizing Faith, Fighting Poverty,” is intended to keep the issue of poverty front-and-center during Lent and beyond at a time when 2.6 billion people around the globe live meager existences on less than $2 a day. And almost 14 percent of U.S. citizens live below our poverty line of $15 per day.

Please join “Mobilizing Faith, Fighting Poverty on Facebook by clicking both “like” and “share” to participate in the online teach-in of daily postings about poverty and the sharing of experiences confronting poverty.  (Daily postings will also appear on the “Mobilizing Faith, Fighting Poverty” website  for those who do not use facebook.)

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“The sheer persistence of poverty challenges us to heed our call as Christians to respond to the needs of the least among us both in the U.S. and around the globe,” said YDS Dean Harold W. Attridge, who will be at the gathering.  To build momentum after the launch, YDS has created special “Mobilizing Faith, Fighting Poverty” Facebook and web pages for sharing information and insights into the world of poverty.

The Facebook page will serve as an online “teach-in” with each of the 40 days of Lent that will feature resources, information and stories about efforts to ease the burden of poor people. Readers are invited to follow daily postings and share stories about faith groups, organizations, individuals, or advocacy initiatives involved in the fight against poverty.

Keynote speaker at the Ash Wednesday event, co-sponsored by International Relief & Development, will be freshman U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, who earned an M.A.R. from YDS and a degree from Yale Law School, both in 1992.  Coons, who sits on the Senate’s Budget and Foreign Relations Committees, has had a longstanding interest in fighting poverty and has worked with the "I Have a Dream" Foundation, the South African Council of Churches, and the Council for the Homeless.

Following Coons’s address will be a presentation by a panel of experts in the anti-poverty community, including Arthur Keys ’73 M.Div., President and CEO of International Relief and Development; David Beckman, President of Bread for the World; Melinda St. Louis, Deputy Director of Jubilee USA; and Katherine Marshall, Executive Director of World Faith Dialogues. Linda Lader ’08 M.Div., co-founder of Renaissance Weekend, will moderate the discussion.  Each of the panelists wrote articles for the fall 2010 issue of YDS’s Reflections magazine, entitled, “No More Excuses: Confronting Poverty.”

“Beyond the Ash Wednesday event, we invite you to make a commitment during the Lenten season to keep poverty in the public eye and in your own faithful practices,” said Attridge.  “Our hope is that congregations and individuals will turn attention to issues of poverty in the spirit of Lent’s soul-searching traditions.”

The Washington gathering, which is free and open to the public, begins at 5:30 pm in the Holeman Lounge at the National Press Club, located at 529 14th St. NW, Washington, DC.

Posted: 03/07/2011