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?
The pandemic exposed more people in the U.S. to hunger, and it has also exposed the fragility of our industrialized food system. Faith communities have a unique role to play in this setting, 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 faith leaders 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 based in North Carolina may apply.
- 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 September 21, 2022 and closes on November 1, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
- Participants will be chosen by a committee of RAFI-USA staff.
- Participants will be notified by November 14, 2022 of their acceptance into the program.
- Approximately 20-30 faith leaders will be selected.
The four-month-long training program will take place from January to April of 2023, with sessions taking place bi-monthly. The School will feature two in-person, day-long retreats for the first and final session. 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.
Each virtual session will run for two hours maximum, while in-person retreats will run for the entire work day. All participants are expected to be able to commit to no more than one hour per session of additional “homework” (reading or viewing).
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
Due to generous funding support from The Duke Endowment, this program is free to attendees.
Please reach out to David Allen, Come to the Table Project Manager, 984.214.2816, with any questions.