Minding the gap

That was one of my key take-aways (gotta love conference attendee parlance, right?) from the Leadership Institute at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City last week: minding the gap.

In one of his plenary addresses, Church of the Resurrection Senior Pastor, Adam Hamilton, used that phrase – minding the gap – to describe strategic planning in the church. It was one of those moments when something you already know is presented in a different way enabling you to hear the idea anew, with clarity and power.

Hamilton said look around you, around your community and even around the globe. Ask where the world isn’t as it should be. See the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be. Our task as the church is to make the world as it is more like the world as it should be. Our task is to mind the gap.

The gap isn’t hard to find.

  • An estimated 925 million people suffer from hunger.*
  • An estimated 1.4 billion people in developing countries lived in extreme poverty, or on less than $1.25 a day. (The good news is that’s down from 1.9 billion in 1981.)*
  • An estimated 800 million people don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water.**
  • In the U.S.A., 14.6 % of households struggle to put food on the table.***
  • In the U.S.A. nearly 25% of children are at risk of hunger, that’s over 16 million children.***
  • In the U.S.A. 13% of our population lives in poverty.***
  • An estimated 27 million people are trapped in some form of modern-day slavery.

We’ve been talking about one way to mind the gap on the modern-day slavery front: by telling our members of Congress to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).

This legislation authorizes assistance programs for victims, establishes key components of the U.S. government’s efforts to stop trafficking, including the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Passing the TVPRA will extend this law for another three years. Together we can demonstrate to our policy-makers that their constituents care about ending human trafficking at home and around the world.

What’s the status of the bill?

Holly Burkhalter, Vice President of Government Relations for International Justice Mission, reports, “The House Foreign Affairs Committee reviewed the bill (HR.2830) [this week] and passed it unanimously out of the committee.”

However, “Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), the principal sponsor of the TVPRA, explained that in order to secure Committee action on the TVPRA and support from House leadership for the measure, he had to trim off some of bill’s most important features.” The reason? Cost.

“Two Senators in particular, Senator Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) raised concerns about spending.” [Read the whole post.]

It’s not too late. Being in contact with your members of Congress can still make a difference.

Together we will mind the gap. Together we will abolition slavery.

*Bread for the World, Global Faces of Hunger

**Charity:Water, What is the water crisis?

***Bread for the World, US Faces of Hunger

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