Crucial to the work of a faith leader is to tell impactful, meaningful stories. Stories that evoke emotion, call to action, and lead to faithful imagination. At Come to the Table, we believe that faith leaders can utilize their storytelling skills to help re-narrate and re-imagine the harmful narratives of hunger and food insecurity in their communities. Through investigating root causes of hunger, learning about the injustices in our food system, and developing storytelling skills, we believe faith leaders can make a real impact in their place.
What is the need? Why this program? Why now?
Faith communities have a unique role to play in building a more equitable food system, as many churches have food pantries, community meals, and other food programs as part of their outreach ministries. The School for Food Justice, Faith, and Storytelling will bring together a national group of faith leaders virtually to learn, grow, and sharpen their abilities to offer new and creative solutions to the issue of hunger within their communities.
What will participants gain from this program?
The School for Food Justice, Faith, and Storytelling brings together a cohort of faith leaders to:
- Investigate the root causes of hunger and the injustices present in our food systems.
- Uncover and challenge the dominant narratives about hunger and develop the skills and knowledge to tell true, personal, and compelling stories that transform the conversation on hunger in communities.
- Plan to implement a new or adapt an existing ministry that works toward reducing food insecurity in your community.
Who are we looking for? Who is a good fit?
- Pastors, lay leaders, volunteers, and those involved in nonprofit/faith-based organizations
- Priority will be given to rural UMC faith leaders and congregants.
- Faith leaders with food ministries as part of their church that want to change the story that is being told around hunger in their community.
- Leaders who want to shift away from a charity approach to a justice-centered approach in their communities.
- The application opens on August 1, 2023 and closes on September 14, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
- Participants will be chosen by a committee of RAFI staff.
- Participants will be notified on a rolling basis of their acceptance into the program.
- Approximately 30-40 faith leaders will be selected.
The virtual eight-week training program will take place from September 28 to November 16 of 2023, with sessions taking place weekly on Thursday mornings. The School will feature a bevy of guest speakers, a study guide for each session, and additional resources for each topic. RAFI-USA is committed to supporting all individuals with accessibility needs, and we will do our best to accommodate family and community needs for all participants.
Most sessions will run for two hours, while the first and last session will be half-days. All participants are expected to be able to commit to no more than one hour per session of additional “homework” (reading, listening, or watching).
Curriculum & Speakers
Sessions will cover (but are not limited to) the following topics:
- The impact of racial inequities on hunger
- How systemic and structural issues impact hunger
- Innovative examples from the field that capture justice-centered approaches to reducing hunger
- The injustices present in our food system around farmers of color and corporate consolidation
- How faith leaders can examine harmful narratives around hunger and offer new narratives in their place
This cohort will feature presentations from Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Mark Yaconelli, Rev. Nurya Love-Parish, Derrick Weston, Sarah Bowen, and many others.
The cost of the School for Food Justice, Faith, and Storytelling is $50. We believe that SFJFS is at its most effective when at least two people from the same organization come together, so if you bring someone from your faith community or organization, we will offer two registrations for the price of one. Further, if for any reason you are unable to pay for this cohort, Come to the Table offers scholarships to cover the cost of registration. Please reach out to David Allen ([email protected]) for more information or with any questions.
Please reach out to David Allen, Come to the Table Project Manager, 984.214.2816, with any questions.