Following President Clinton's signing of the federal "welfare reform" legislation last August, three top administration officials resigned in protest. We decided to invite these officials to have a conversation together with representatives of faith-based organizations who deal with poverty in America. One result is our cover article, "The Issue is Poverty," a discussion including two of the Clinton officials who resigned, Peter Edelman and Wendell Primus, and Sharon Daly of Catholic Charities USA, Barbara Howell of Bread for the World, and Jim Wallis of Sojourners. Several columns and articles in this issue serve as companion pieces to this discussion. In "Hearts & Minds," Jim Wallis presents a strategy for the churches to respond to poverty and the aftermath of the welfare legislation. The Call to Renewal network, of which Sojourners is a participant, has made working to overcome poverty a primary component of its political agenda for 1997. An overview of that agenda is presented in the "Call to Renewal" column by Sue Stine. And in "Commentary," Duane Shank sets out the network's call for actions and events across the country on Pentecost Sunday (May 18) to draw attention to the crisis of poverty and to advocate for justice in state welfare legislation. Extra copies of this issue of Sojourners are available for study groups and organizing, as are a full-length video and transcript of the discussion from which "The Issue is Poverty" is drawn. Contact Sojourners Resource Center if you are interested. Special thanks go to Mark Farr, who organized the welfare discussion, and Anne Wayne, who spent many hours transcribing the tapes from it.
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