Pentecost Sunday is May 31, 1998. Following on last year's services and events around the country, the Call to Renewal is again urging that this Pentecost be a special day to focus the attention of the church on those who are poor. The second Call to Renewal "Pentecost to Overcome Poverty" occurs at a time when the situation is worsening for those facing poverty.
Our society faces a growing contradiction. As more and more people are moving "from welfare to work," the lines at food pantries and homeless shelters are growing. Many local ministries report that they are unable to meet the increased demand.
A recent editorial in Business Week called the situation a "disaster in the making," and noted that "going to work may force many people deeper into poverty. That's hardly what was intended."
ON THE WEEKEND of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the Call to Renewal Coordinating Committee decided to launch a national and grassroots mobilization that can create the conditions, networks, preparation, and training for a faith-based movement to overcome poverty.
The moral crisis is already mobilizing people around the country, but a broader corporate commitment is needed to fully respond to this opportunity. There is a new openness in the churches for community ministry and a new willingness in our society to hear the voice of the church.
While not neglecting its other principles, the committee felt strongly that in the current situation, and with the initiative taken through our roundtables, conferences, and local organizing, God is calling us to a strategic focus on the priority of poverty. Our faith calls us to care for the widow and orphan, welcome the stranger, restore our streets, and act with compassion toward the least of those in our family. It is one of the most fundamental teachings of scripture.