Magazine article Anglican Journal

Sharing the Bread of Life

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Sharing the Bread of Life

Article excerpt

Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told the disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost."...from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets (John 6:11-13).

In other words, there were leftovers.

There is enough food in the world today to feed everyone--with leftovers. Yet about 800 million people--about one in nine--will go to bed hungry tonight. There are all sorts of reasons--political, economic and environmental. Some I understand; others are beyond my comprehension.

For the past two years, my colleague Sheilagh McGlynn and I have been developing educational processes and resources for the three-year food security campaign of the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). That work has come to be called "Sharing Bread," a name coined from Jean Vanier's 1998 Massey Lectures: "The word accompaniment,' like the word companion,' comes from the Latin words cum pane, which means 'with bread.' It implies sharing together, eating together, encouraging each other to continue the journey of growth and the struggle for liberation..."

Along the way, I have found myself learning as much about the place of food and food security in my life as I have learned about their place in the lives of PWRDF's development partners.

One community-building exercise Sheilagh and I developed involves inviting people to share stories of food. I often speak about my growing up years in Cranbrook, B.C., where I spent many weekends and vacation days on the nearby cattle ranch of friends. I learned to plant, tend and harvest veggies, drive the tractor, rake hay and stack hay bales, ride horses, herd cattle and bake bread. On the banks of the Kootenay River, in the shadow of the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, I found "ground to stand on": I felt most alive, most me and most connected to God's creation.

For the past 25 years, I have lived and worked in downtown Toronto, about as far from that cattle ranch as one can get in Canada. My work has taken me around the world, and for 20 of those years, through human rights and community development work, it took me to Latin America. …

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