World Hunger Emphasis
Bradenton-Sarasota Online Service
September 6, 2020
Today is a day of remembrance and World Hunger Emphasis Sunday. As the Mission Initiative to Abolish Poverty, End Suffering reminds us, we are called to do something in our world that faces the challenges of hunger. It is a time to ask ourselves what we can individually do to alleviate hunger in our own community and throughout the world.
Call to Worship
The Lord is my strength and my salvation.
The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things.
I will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalm 118, adapted)
Preparing for Worship – “Here I Am to Worship” by Hillsong
Our God of All Creation,
We are humbled to come before you this Communion Sunday to remember the covenant we made with you through your son, Jesus and his sacrifice for the sake of all humanity. We thank you, O’ God, for the opportunity, even in difficult times to come together and worship as a community. Just as you planned and led the Israelites in their exodus from Egypt, so will you lead us through the challenges that separate us from each other today. May we never take for granted the many blessings you freely give us, and always remember to freely give ourselves as a blessing to others. This prayer we raise up to you in the name of our Savior, Christ Jesus.
Disciples’ Generous Response
During the Disciples’ Generous Response, we focus on aligning our purposes with God’s purposes, aligning our heart with God’s heart. As you share your mission tithes or if you give regularly through eTithing, use this time to express gratitude for God’s many gifts in your life and to reflect on how we respond faithfully to those blessings. When we understand God’s love and grace are given freely to us, we respond out of gratitude and are liberated to share freely in return.
The Lord provided for them that they should not hunger, neither should they thirst; and the Lord gave them strength that they should not suffer but be swallowed up in the joy of Christ. (Alma 16:119, adapted)
Testimony of Ginger Robertson – A Long Journey; Fulfilling Christ’s Mission
Twenty seven years ago, as a new member of what was then The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I found myself praying about what my contribution to this congregation would be. Where could I do the most good? What were the needs? Like most “newbies” I was careful not to be too bold in my effort to find my place. We were friends with Laura Belle and Eddie Brown who shared much about the life of the congregation with us, and I was pleased to hear about a small group of retired men who, when they heard of a need within the community, would shop for food and go into the homes to minister to the people they served. They also did a lot of other volunteer work within the church, but having been raised by parents who were dedicated to looking after the needs of friends, family and neighbors, I was thrilled to know this ministry was so important to the dedicated retirees who fulfilled the need in this community.
Many changes have come since those early days, including the name of our church. We are now known as Community of Christ. It was during that time of change when our then pastor, Richard Allshouse, approached me with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. A local agency, Healthy Start/Healthy Families wanted to partner with us in providing food to families with young children who needed a hand up. At least 2-3 times a week I received calls from caseworkers about families who needed food, and I would carefully shop for enough nutritious food to last them a few days. As always, you, our generous congregation, made sure the money was always available, and support was always there when needed. For many years I served in this ministry, but as often happens, God called me to new ministries, and I passed the Mantle of the food pantry to Patty Benjamin, who had even greater visions in expanding our desire to feed the people in our community. As I said, change does come, and I eventually returned to serving in the food pantry ministry. Yes, it is a tremendous amount of work and responsibility, but like all endeavors an amazing team of volunteers is truly the backbone of a successful organization. After a frightening cancer diagnosis, I would again reluctantly step aside from my work as coordinator of our food pantry. This time it was Lynn and Wade Bryant who accepted the mantle of responsibility and have graciously and tirelessly given their time to ensure that even through unforeseen difficulties within the food distribution channels, the people of our community would continue to receive plenty of food.
Before they were rescued from the bonds of Egyptian slavery, God instructed the Israelites to bake as much bread as quickly as possible using only wheat flour and water; no time to add yeast for leavening. They would need something for the long journey into the wilderness and unknown. When food became scarce, God provided “manna”, a kind of plant that appeared overnight that sustained them until food was finally available to hunt or to grow. God provided for the Israelites and He continues to provide food for the hungry today. It is once again time for the mantle of responsibility to be passed on to others with a passion to fulfill this much needed ministry of feeding the hungry in our community. Where is God calling you? Could you be the one who desires to serve in this capacity? I promise you this: You will never be alone. Jesus will be there beside you to lift you up and keep you on the path. Let His mission be your mission.
Testimony of Lynn Bryant – Feeding Our Community: Christ’s Mission
Wade and I believe that having a food pantry is one of the most important things the congregation does. Remember, Jesus says that we should help those less fortunate than ourselves.
We have been volunteering in the food pantries for 20 years; first in Missouri and now here.
A lot of work goes into getting the food ready to distribute. Many of you have worked hard, getting hot and sweaty, shelving food or sacking it. Besides that, reports and orders must be made to two food providers. Then trucks from Feeding Tampa Bay must be met, once a week for government food and another time for other orders. Trucks with these other orders often arrive late or not at all, as some of you know. Thankfully, Brad Martin delivers food from Manatee Food Bank, so we always have a good idea when he will arrive. Other than those things, records must be kept, clients registered, copies made and required documents obtained from us to ensure that we are following guidelines and meeting all standards.
While this sounds like, (and is), a lot of work, the reward comes when you see how thankful the clients are to receive the food. The food is sorely needed!
In other words, when we help others, it’ is as if we are helping Jesus.
The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper
You are invited to join the Clearwater Congregation this Sunday via Zoom at 10:30 am to share in their Communion service. Have your own bread and juice ready for the consecration prayer. Click here for Zoom link information.
Prayer for Peace
You came to us a Savior; the Prince of Peace. You offered us your love, your teachings and your life, and yet we have, failed to fully accept and appreciate the magnitude of the power within those precious gifts. For that, Lord we ask forgiveness, and pray that we can, through the covenant you have made with us have a renewed awareness of how we can share your love and teachings, and to offer your gift of peace to everyone we meet so that swords will be beat into plowshares and hearts will be softened to receive the infinite love that have for all.
Together we have opened our hearts to hear the word and testimonies of God’s love and amazing care for his creation. As we go forth into this new month of hope and promise, may we hold onto one another through our prayers, being mindful of all we can do to make life a little better for each other. Go forth in Love, Hope, Joy and Peace.
This service was prepared by Ginger Robertson and Lynn Bryant