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The Joining Hands Initiative is an innovative way to mobilize people in focused campaigns to tackle systemic causes of hunger both in the United States and abroad as a witness to the wholeness of God’s creation. Joining Hands is committed to a holistic hunger ministry and its work is integrated with the mandate of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, outlined in the Common Affirmation on World Hunger. The five components of the mandate are: Relief of chronic hunger, development assistance, public policy advocacy, lifestyle integrity and hunger education. It also considers that spiritual wholeness is necessary for a sustainable community as indicated in Hope for a Global Future and adds this dimension to the five programmatic areas mentioned above.
Both presbyteries and congregations are invited to work within a denominational coalition that joins with marginalized people in ten countries, including churches, nonprofit organizations, community groups and members of other faith traditions – what we call communities of mission practice, who in disciplined ways, engage the world together through common spiritual and ethical values. Rather than replicate project-based mission, the goal of Joining Hands is to organize together in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres to campaign for peaceful social change in a globalized world.
Most of the issues identified by global partners as contributing to poverty abroad are also relevant in the United States. This effort is not about going somewhere else to do mission. Instead, we look together at the immense troubles we all face on a small planet and pull together in prayer, research, repentance, and in a process of mutual transformation that reflects our shared commitment to restoring the wholeness of God’s creation by contributing to the building of a more peaceful and just world.
We envision a growing and spiritually-grounded movement that maintains an ethical focus on:
- addressing the root causes of injustice, inequity and the lack of human dignity
- promoting the self-sufficiency of poor and marginalized groups
- confronting and influencing the structures of exploitation and injustice
We see a movement that:
- grows strong through knowledge, communication, education and skill-building
- values ethnic, religious, cultural and economic diversity
- draws upon common threads of spirituality and unites peoples of diverse faith in worldwide action
- involves congregations in global partnership
- models democratic and participatory decision-making at all levels
We envision a transforming partnership that is:
- characterized by equitable relationships based on mutual respect and not dominated by money
- built upon frequent exchange visits between and among networks including people of all ages
- strengthened by open, frequent and effective communication
We look forward to:
- effectiveness in advocacy for change
- opportunities for coordinated action
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