Join a Circle of Protection on Nov. 16: Standing For and With the Poor

By Onleilove Alston 11-08-2011

At 12 noon on Nov. 16, faith, community and non-profit leaders in New York City will come together for an hour of prayer and action, in the hope of creating a "circle of protection" around Friendly Hands Ministries.

Friendly Hands is a faith-based organization founded by Latino/a clergy to serve New York City's East Harlem neighborhood through a feeding program, job training, childcare, health care referrals and legal advocacy for immigrants.

Many of the clergy who work with Friendly Hands are Pentecostal and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to take action in their community. In addition to providing direct services the leadership of Friendly Hands has undergone faith-based advocacy training and lobbied in New York's state capital on behalf of their community. This organization is moving from charity to justice and having a powerful impact in East Harlem.

As we pray for Friendly Hands (which depends on federal EFSP funding from FEMA for it's feeding program), we will also pray for all the non-profits and human services agencies throughout New York City and our nation that will be directly affected by the Congressional Super Committee and appropriations processes as our lawmakers decide which federal funding to cut and which to preserve.

Programs such as Friendly Hands are on the front lines of serving and organizing low-income people and it's a moral imperative that people of faith stand with these organizations.

The New York City Human Circle will be replicated throughout across the nation, when faith leaders host Human Circles as members of the Sojourners National Mobilizing Circle, which is bringing together faith and community leaders to organize faith-rooted actions in their communities.

The purpose of these circles is not only to lobby for the poor but also with them. During the New York City action, we will hear powerful testimony from formerly-homeless father and veteran organizer Willie Baptist, now a scholar-in-residence at Union Theological Seminary's Poverty Initiative; Domingo Vasquez, director of Friendly Hands Ministries; and Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing for Sojourners. Nov. 16 will be a time of faith in action across the nation.

Will you join us?

If you are in the New York City area on Nov. 16and want to join our action please contact Onleilove Alston.

If you want to organize a Human Circle Action in your city visit: Sojourners Human Circles to learn more.

Onleilove Alston is a native New Yorker and the Faith Based Organizing Associate for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. She blogs at Esther's Call.

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