NCCI – Commission on Unity and Mission
(incorporating Justice, Peace and Creation)
Churches’ Week of Action on Food
“Climate is Changing: Food and Agriculture must too”
14 – 20 October 2016
October 16th is World Food Day. The theme for this year is “Climate Change: Climate is Changing”. It has been chosen to highlight the role of civil societies and faith communities in improving food security and contributing to the eradication of hunger by addressing climate change with the Gospel Values of Justice, Love and Peace.
The objective of annual World Food Day observances is to raise awareness about the global reality of hunger and to seriously commit people to explore ways of ending hunger. A global survey report states that one person out of every seven people in the world experiences starvation every day. This is not because of either poverty or population explosion or scarcity of food, but because of unjust structures, and unjust systems of production, procurement and distribution of food. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) critically cautions that poverty is quite acute in India and that in the long term starvation would lead to the deaths of five members including two children under the age of six in every family. Therefore it is a very great challenge for all forms of government programmes aiming to ensure food security for the poor and children.
Despite the economic growth achieved during the last 20 years, India continues to suffer from ‘alarming hunger’ and acute malnutrition among children below age five. The recently introduced National Food Security Bill tries to address some of these concerns seriously. The Government of India also has to improve the design and supervision of the welfare programmes like the Public Distribution System (PDS) which distributes basic commodities at subsidized cost to the people who live under the poverty line. However, food alone does not solve the problem of underweight children; it needs a multidimensional thrust through the right to health, right to hygiene, right to water and right to live.
Therefore, considering the seriousness of the issue, the then Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation of the National Council of Churches in India joined the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance in launching a National Campaign on “FOOD-JUSTICE for LIFE” in 2012 and initiated missional interventions in promoting ‘Life Giving Agriculture’ as a commitment to facilitate their constituent members and communities of people to join the campaign to give expression in the entire world to the Gospel of Food-Justice for Life.
Such a campaign is an urgent necessity to inform the world that food insecurity is sin caused by unjust systems and practices of the society. It would be a time to call the entire society to campaign for just-production, just-consumption, and just-distribution on the basis of needs, necessity and equality along with practicing and promoting socially, environmentally sustainable agriculture. The Gospel imperative is that we all work together, irrespective of caste, creed, faith, ideology and philosophies to change the unjust practices, structures and systems of our society.
This year the entire focus would be on ‘Climate Change – Climate Justice’. Since India ratified the COP 21 Agreement, we the faith communities and civil society movements need to work intensively to address the issues of Climate Change.
The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance calls the Global Church Community to observe the Churches’ Week of Action for Food from 14th to 21st October 2016. The proposed week in October goes from Sunday to Sunday and incorporates the International Day for Rural Women (Oct 15), World Food Day (Oct 16), and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (Oct 17). The NCCI encourages all the members and their churches/institutions to observe the Food Action Week actively as a call of God to serve the society.
The Churches Week of Action on Food is an opportunity for Christians, Faith Communities and Secular Civil Society Movements all over the world to act and speak out together on food justice issues. It is a time to raise awareness about food production and distribution systems, examine our own food consumption, and call for policy changes that will ensure the right to food for everyone. Our faith calls us to feed the hungry and care for Creation – this we can do as individuals, as churches, and as global citizens.
Since it is a life and death issue for our country, the NCCI has committed to engage in this campaign thereby encouraging the constituent members and churches to mainstream ‘Food Justice for Life’ in their respective Mission and Ministerial Agendas.
The NCCI – CJPC welcomes all its constituent Members, Local Congregations, Faith Communities, Secular Movements, Community Based Organizations and Civil Society Movements to join the campaign and be partners in establishing Food Justice in the Society.
The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has published a document to encourage global communities to observe the Week of Action for Food. The WCC – EAA has also published a poster on TEN COMMANDMENTS of Food as a campaign tool. Please find herewith links to download soft copies of the “Churches’ Week of Action” and the Poster of 10 commandments. You may visit <https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wccprogrammes/diakonia/eaa/10-commandments-of-food-advocacy-tools-for-congregations> to download the poster and related materials.
The Presbyterian Churches in the USA have also developed materials including worship orders and sermon outlines to observe the Week.
Please visit <https://www.presbyterianmission.org/food-faith/2016/10/03/ten-commandments-food/> for more information and assistance.
These links contain many theological and ministerial ideas for observing this week meaningfully with a model liturgy and prayers and a few suggested actions.
However, we suggest the following Actions for your consideration towards the observance of the week.
• Encourage the local congregations and youth fellowships to involve in developing a data base of people living Below Poverty Line (BPL) their demographic areas and help them to get ration cards.
• Developing suitable mechanisms to monitor the Public Distribution Institutions (PDI) towards just and equal distribution.
• Motivate the communities to become food-secure and starvation-free villages (areas) by initiating community barns.
• Engage in prevention of starvation deaths including, farmers suicides.
• Equip the communities to become communities with food sovereignty.
• Mainstreaming ‘Food-Justice for Life’ in all their mission, ministerial and service agendas.
• Identifying and networking with all Food-Justice activities for mutual learning and lobbying for policy changes.
• Facilitate the local congregations (ecumenically) and the Society at large to revisit the policies from the Food-justice perspective and lobby among the policy makers in all levels.
We look forward to your earnest cooperation and partnership in realizing the reign of God cultivating the values of food justice and a poverty-free society,
We request you to kindly disseminate and publish the same among your congregations and net-works and encourage them to join the campaign by observing the Week of Action for Food.
The Campaign envisions “Hunger-free Society of all and Society for All!
Yours in God’s Mission
Rt. Rev. Dr. P C Singh Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar President General Secretary Executive Secretary