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Friday, April 24, 2015

Highland UMC to Participate in 30-Hour Famine

I normally write my columns after tucking my full-bellied children into their warm beds and while eating my homemade black bean flourless chocolate cake.  This level of abundance is something I (and likely many of us who live in cozy Fort Thomas) completely take for granted; however, for 842 million people worldwide, hunger is a very real, daily struggle.

In order to better understand and empathize with the plight of hunger, as well as raise money to combat this worldwide problem, the youth of Highland United Methodist Church in Fort Thomas will be participating in a 30-hour Famine.  This program, sponsored by World Vision, began in 1990 but this will be the first time for Highland UMC to participate.

The fast begins this afternoon at 12:30 pm and lasts until 6:30 tomorrow evening.  During the famine, the participating youth will be having a lock-in at the church which will be devoted to looking to biblical scriptures for lessons on compassion and empathy, but also some fun and games.

Renee Jennings, Associate Pastor and Youth Leader for Highland UMC, says “We have access to SO MUCH in our daily lives that it is hard to have compassion for people who are missing what we consider the basics - like reliable access to good food.”

For 30 hours, the youth will be walking in the shoes of the hungry, learning about the effects of hunger on the human body, and discussing how hunger keeps people in a cycle of poverty. Tying this into their work as a church, they will discuss mission work around the world, wrestling with such questions as: “why do people do mission work”, “do our efforts really matter”, and, most importantly, “why should we care when our lives are fine”?

Their ongoing conversation as a youth group will be around supporting the mission efforts of the church which has recently partnered with the Tin Roof Foundation in Cincinnati to support the people of Nicaragua.  The famine will raise funds for this cause rather than World Vision, given the church’s ongoing mission work with the Tin Roof Foundation.  Additionally, they will be doing volunteer work with Immanuel New Hope UMC on Saturday morning at the food pantry. Of those 842 million people who live in hunger, about 49 million of them live in the United States. So they are going to spend Saturday morning with just a few of those families and help them get access to the food they need.

Highland UMC has 19 youth and several parent volunteers signed up so far, plus Renee Jennings who has fasted numerous times before.  Says Jennings, “I've participated in famine for the past 6 years - 2 as a youth, 4 as a leader; it's a small group this year, but I hope more people will join us in the future.”

While it is too late to sign up to participate this year, the church will be holding the famine again in February and welcome any and all participants.

To learn more about the 30-hour famine, go to 30-hour famine. Visit World Vision to learn about the founding company.  And go to Highland Methodist to learn about the sponsoring church.

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