General Synod Statements: Hunger

In 1975, the General Synod voted to adopt a statement on hunger entitled “Holy Living in Time of Famine.” Among other things, the statement asserts:

The imperative of sharing and acts of mercy is close to the heart of the Judeo-Christian ethic as expounded in the Bible, but it is not only an ethical concern. It bears directly on the credibility of our witness to the world and the integrity of our worship and prayer.

The Bible is replete with injunctions upon the affluent making it quite clear that God views redress of this imbalance as being the responsibility of His worshippers who have more than enough of the world’s goods…Indeed, an argument can be made that in the teaching of Jesus the principle mark of discipleship was the renunciation of the affluent life style and the sharing of the risks of the poor, for whom there is no assurance of a secure future of shelter and a full stomach.

It is the responsibility of Christians to multiply their efforts to aid the hungry of the world both by immediate short term aid and long range development assistance, and to reject as guides for our lives arguments which are morally unacceptable in the light of Scriptural teaching. (MGS 1975: 194-199)

In 1990, the General Synod adopted a resolution “to request RCA congregations to continue to increase contributions toward the RCA hunger program.” (MGS 1990: 125)

The 1991 through 2001 General Synods adopted resolutions promoting various hunger advocacy and education programs, and encouraging RCA congregations to contribute to areas around the world where hunger remains a serious issue.

In accordance with the General Synod’s position that it is the responsibility of the church to care for the hungry and needy, the RCA responds to hunger in four ways:

1. Relief for emergency needs
Relief for emergency hunger needs and development of long-term solutions to hunger are two primary goals of RCA Global Mission. Funds are collected through Partnership-in-Mission shares and special emergency appeals.

2. Development of long-term solutions
To develop long-term solutions to hunger, the denomination distributes funds through RCA missionaries and mission partners and through partner agencies.

3. Education about the root causes of hunger
The RCA encourages congregations to participate in a hunger awareness program.

4. Advocacy on behalf of hungry and needy people
Bread for the World is a nationwide Christian grassroots organization that works for justice for hungry people by lobbying U.S. decision-makers. It does this by encouraging Christians to give an offering of their citizenship to God by writing elected officials to support the needs of the hungry.