Show Us Your Plate!
You are invited into a Lenten Fast to benefit the homeless ministries of the Texas Annual Conference!
For most of us, an empty plate signifies bragging rights after a fulfilling meal, or at least clear evidence that we ate too much. As we congregate and socialize around the dishwasher, our empty plate serves as a trophy illustrating the disappearance of every morsel. For the homeless individual, however, an empty plate is the ultimate symbol of destitution and hunger.
According to Lanecia Rouse of the Bread of Life organization, on any given night in Houston approximately 10,000 men, women, and children find themselves homeless, and another 870,000 families go hungry on a regular basis, as a result of underemployment and unemployment.
Spiritual Opportunity Knocking
The challenge—and the gift—of Lent is that it is a transformative season. It is a time to reckon with the reality of darkness and death, but to do so with hope, because this season of darkness ends in Easter, in resurrection, in new life. “Leaders of the Texas Annual Conference are accepting the challenge to think and respond differently this season. We want to lead by example and invite others into a Lenten spiritual discipline of fasting as we consider the plight of the homeless and make small sacrifices on their behalf in appreciation of the big sacrifices Christ has made for us,” says Missional Excellence Center Director Rev. Diane McGehee. “If each of us donate some amount of money that we would normally have spent on food during this Lenten season, we will make a collective impact on the hungry and homeless.”
The Show us Your Plate Challenge:
1. Commit to fasting during Lent (February 13– March 30, 2013) in one of the following ways:
Fast for one meal a day for each day of Lent
Fast for one meal or one day each week of Lent
Fast for one meal or one day sometime during Lent
If, for medical reasons you cannot fast, skip a meal(s) out and eat simply at home.
2. Donate the value of your missed meal(s) to the Bread of Life, Inc. or the TAC Homeless Ministries Fund (by April 7 if possible) in one of the following ways:
Make your personal check out directly to the church with memo: TAC Lenten Fast and put it in your church offering toward a consolidated check to the TAC or mail your individual check to the Conference office at 5215 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002; ATTN: CME.
Or donate directly to Bread of Life, Inc. at www.missameal.net or text a $5 donation by texting “PLATE” to 50555.
3. Take a picture of yourself, family, or any group participating, with your empty plates, and post the picture(s) on the Texas Annual Conference Facebook page. NOTE: You must have a Facebook account to post anything, so start at www.facebook.com if you want to join the fastest-growing social media network and connect with others in this way. If you have a Facebook account, just log in to Facebook, visit www.txcumc.org/facebookfan, click on “photos” and add/upload photos. While you are there, click the “like” button on the upper right. This will give you access to updates and conference news in the future—and you can watch for others to post their empty plate pictures!
4. Follow the daily Lenten Devotional “I was hungry….” blog on the TAC website for spiritual reflections regarding homelessness and the Gospel (or follow a devotional of your own choice). To receive these devotionals via daily emails during Lent, sign up here.
Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, thirsty and you gave me a drink, naked and you clothed me, a stranger and you took me in, sick and you cared for me.” (Matthew 25) During Lent, as we look toward Easter, let’s take care of Jesus in the least of these, God’s homeless children.
Funds raised through the “Show Us Your Plate” Lenten Fast will be used to benefit the Bread of Life, Inc. and other homeless ministries within the TAC. Churches within the TAC that are engaged in homeless ministries that combine mercy and justice can apply to the TAC for grants (more details to follow, pending amount donated).
See flyer to learn more (PDF)