Recent General Convention resolutions on hunger and poverty
Advocate for Policies Supporting Nutrition, Healthcare, and Housing as Human Rights

Concurred as Amended

Final Text:

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church direct The Office of Government Relations to advocate unflaggingly for the federal government of the United States to close gaps in the safety net which cause millions of Americans to suffer eviction, homelessness, inability to access health care, medical debt, and hunger; and be it further

Resolved, That Episcopalians, Dioceses and The Episcopal Church advocate at the federal, state, and local level for adequate nutrition, healthcare, and housing as human rights which should be provided to all residents of this country, and for which eligibility is determined only by the applicants’ current financial need, and all eligible people receive the aid for which they qualify; and be it further

Resolved, That Episcopalians, dioceses, and The Episcopal Church oppose federal cuts in tax credits that benefit low-income families including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Child Care Credit, and advocate for similar tax credits at the state level; and be it further

Resolved, That Episcopalians, dioceses, and The Episcopal Church oppose health care proposals 1) to limit public benefit funding to block grants, or 2) to cut off new enrollment of income-eligible people at a future date irrespective of their needs, or 3) to stipulate that people who lose eligibility when their income rises cannot re-enroll if their income falls again in the future due to loss of income; and be it further

Resolved, That Episcopalians and dioceses in the 19 states that did not accept the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion advocate with their state legislators and governors to accept this benefit and federal funding for their constituents; and be it further

Resolved, That Episcopalians, dioceses and The Episcopal Church call on Congress to make the cost-sharing provisions of the Affordable Care Act an entitlement; and be it further

Resolved, That Episcopalians, dioceses and The Episcopal Church call on Congress to cap the mortgage interest deduction for wealthy taxpayers and direct the increased revenue to low-income housing assistance programs; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $83,750 for 1/4 FTE staff person at the Office of Government Relations to track federal and state legislative proposals on public benefit funding and eligibility, and to provide timely action alerts to dioceses, and Episcopal Public Policy Network; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Dioceses and congregations provide networking relationship for housing and employment to refer homeless people to assist in getting employment and housing.

Citation:
General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of…The Episcopal Church, Austin, 2018 (New York: General Convention, 2018), pp. 421-422.

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Urge Advocacy for Policy Changes to End Mass Incarceration Practices

Concurred as Substituted and Amended

Final Text:

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention acknowledges that implicit racial bias and racial profiling result in a criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates people of color damaging individuals, families, and communities; and be it further

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention challenges The Episcopal Church at every level to commit mindfully and intentionally to dismantling our current mass incarceration system; and be it further

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention urges the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church and the Office of Governmental Relations of The Episcopal Church to advocate publicly for changes in Federal policies that perpetuate the mass incarceration system; and be it further

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention encourage each congregation and Diocese to undertake at least one specific initiative aimed at addressing the destructive consequences of the mass incarceration system. These initiatives include such possibilities as:

1. Advocating for alternatives to incarceration for those who are addicted, and increased funding for treatment programs;

2. Advocating for alternatives to incarceration for those who are mentally ill, and increased funding for treatment programs;

3. Advocating for protection of the civil rights and provision of appropriate support and accommodation for people with disabilities who are arrested and incarcerated;

4. Advocating for funding for job training and apprentice programs for those who are at risk of incarceration and those who are formerly released from prison;

5. Working with local businesses to create pathways to living wage jobs for formerly incarcerated people;

6. Establishing mentoring and accompaniment programs for those leaving prison;

7. Advocating for the repeal of mandatory-minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses;

8. Calling for the abolition of the sentencing disparity between crack-cocaine and powder-cocaine offenses and, as an intermediate step, urging the U.S. Congress, in accordance with the recommendation of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, to make retroactive the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which reduces the disparity in sentencing from previous levels;

9. Advocating to eliminate “three strikes” sentencing protocols;

10. Joining local “Ban the Box” campaigns to remove questions about arrest records in on-line and written job application forms;

11. Opposing the creation of “for profit” prisons and immigration detention centers, and, where they exist, organizing against guaranteed nightly numbers of prisoners and detainees, and advocate for access to education and rehabilitation programs for those being incarcerated or detained;

12. Reforming monetary bail bond systems, which rely upon often-unlicensed and unregulated bail bond agents and on conditioning release from pre-trial incarceration solely on the ability to pay;

13. Advocating for immediate return of the right to vote for those who have served their sentences and left prison; and

14. Calling for the exploration and creation of restorative justice programs to transform juvenile justice systems; and be it further

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention request that each Diocese report back to the 79th General Convention on the initiatives engaged at congregational and Diocesan levels.

Citation:
General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of…The Episcopal Church, Salt Lake City, 2015 (New York: General Convention, 2015), pp. 300-301.

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Advocate for a Just Food System

Concurred as Amended

Final Text:

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention affirm the work and projects being carried out across the Church in food ministry, including food pantries, feeding programs, community gardens, educational programs, and advocacy for programs that provide healthy, culturally appropriate food; and be it further

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention encourages the further development of Native and Indigenous community food programs, such as the program in Navajoland Area Mission that maintains and teaches traditional growing methods and food preparation techniques; and be it further

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention call on dioceses, congregations, and all the baptized to deepen our understanding of the moral, cultural, and environmental relationships associated with food systems, through educational programs focused on: sustainability, equity, cultural diversity, and accessibility of all people to healthy food; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention call on dioceses, congregations, and all the baptized to deepen our commitments as Christian communities to address food insecurity, food-related health issues, and food-related environmental effects in our communities and nations, through new and creative community, regional, and ecumenical projects, such as school and community gardens, church garden tithing to food banks, involvement with migrant worker and farm worker ministries, and food-worker organizing; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention call on dioceses, congregations, and all the baptized to increase our involvement in advocacy for the development and maintenance of sustainable; equitable; culturally appropriate; and accessible food systems.

Citation:
General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of…The Episcopal Church, Salt Lake City, 2015 (New York: General Convention, 2015), p. 732.

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Affirm Support for Government Funding of Social Safety Net Programs

Concurred as Amended

Final Text:

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church affirm that God has provided for all of creation, forming a world of sufficiency for all, and that inequality exists not because there is not enough, but because of the way resources are distributed; we depend on God and one another and are commanded to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the suffering and afflicted; and be it further

Resolved, That this Convention affirm its support for full and adequate funding of social safety net programs such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), food assistance for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the National School Lunch Program, all of which lift and keep people out of poverty and address basic food and health care needs in vulnerable populations.

Citation:
General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of…The Episcopal Church, Salt Lake City, 2015 (New York: General Convention, 2015), p. 277.

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Resources

The Episcopal Church

The Office for Governmental Affairs has a variety of advocacy resources for advocacy in alleviating hunger and poverty, and for funding social safety net programs.

Christian Formation Resources

Kid World Citizen offers lessons for children about hunger and poverty

Feeding America has activities to help families and children learn about and act to end hunger

Project Bread offers a four-lesson curriculum on hunger

Doing Good Together is an excellent resource for books on the issues of hunger and poverty.

Other Educational Resources

Hunger Network in Ohio has the most up-to-date information and advocacy information on hunger and poverty in Ohio.  They offer a yearly advocacy day in which the diocese is active.

The Poor Peoples’ Campaign: A Call for Moral Revival has a broad agenda for the alleviation of poverty, racial discrimination, gun violence, and other issues.

The Circle of Protection is an organization consisting of “heads of Christian denominations, agencies, organizations, and educational institutions who believe that God expects national leaders to prioritize the needs of poor and hungry people”.  They are an excellent source of information on social justice issues. 

Video Resources

Videos available at DS Learning  https://dsolearning.org/

“Bridging the Political Divide” with Parker Palmer
“Dynamics of Helping the Poor” with Lee Anne Reat
“Radical Sending” with Demi Prentiss
“Redemptive Charity” with Robert Lupton

Episcopal Church news on poverty and hunger

If you are aware of other helpful resources, please share them with the Rev. Canon Lee Anne Reat at lareat@diosohio.org.