The Washington Times - October 3, 2008, 04:09PM

     Tonight is the beginning of a series of monthly fasts for world hunger at Presbyterian churches. The idea is to start on a Friday afternoon (tonight being the first night) and fast until a Communion service each Sunday morning. That’s about 40 hours. These monthly fasts will continue for a year until Oct. 16, 2009, which will be World Food Day. The idea is to pray about responses to a global food crisis where 845 million people go hungry each night. That last figure is according to the Presbyterian Church USA - actually that sounds almost low to me.

     Those wanting to participate can click on this site for more instructions. I checked with the PCUSA headquarters in Louisville, Ky., and they had no names of local congregations taking part but hopefully that will change, they said. 


    More than 100 have signed up to take part on a Facebook acount for the fast. The denomination passed a resolution (see below) this past June in San Jose, Calif., to start the initiative.

    “In the Eucharist, we break the bread, give thanks and divide it equally among people,” said Alexa Smith, who is in charge of PCUSA’s world hunger program. “Any time in the Scripture where Jesus feeds people, that is exactly what He does. We believe that is the image of the Kingdom of God. That is why we will break each fast with the Eucharist.” 

   Her diet this weekend will be mainly green tea and a boiled egg. She continued, “This is a statement of faith for Presbyterians. We believe that in intentionally practicing spiritual disciplines, as we engage this contemporary crisis, God will lead us into the future in a new way.”

— Julia Duin, assistant national editor/religion, The Washington Times