The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Michael Perham, has authored a collect (a short prayer) to be used as a focal point for over 2,500 congregations, Christian organisations and individuals pledged to fast against the rise of UK Hunger on April 4th as part of the End Hunger Fast campaign.
The prayer calls for “all to have a place at the table” while statistics released by the Trussell Trust earlier this month reported that their food banks gave out three days’ emergency food over 600,000 times between April and December 2013, a situation deemed by 71% of the public a “national disgrace”.
End Hunger Fast is asking individuals across the UK to fast on 4th April 2014 in solidarity with the thousands of Britons forced to turn to foodbanks or go hungry. Bishop Michael is one of 27 bishops who signed an open letter and has personally participated in the fast this Lent.
The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Michael Perham, said: “There are many ways that we can show our support for End Hunger Fast, and, as Christians, we believe in a God who hears and answers our prayers. I hope that others will join me as we continue to raise awareness of this issue of food poverty so that we can begin to tackle this issue in a practical and meaningful way. We cannot simply sit back while people struggle to feed themselves and their families.”
The collect reads:
God of mercy and of plenty,
your Son fasted in the wilderness
and shared food with the people in a desert place:
give us courage to resist the injustices around us,
the will to end the hunger that shames our society
and a share in your vision for a new world
where all shall have a place at the table of the feast;
through Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life.
Rev Keith Hebden, Founder of End Hunger Fast, said,
“We’re grateful to Bishop Michael for authoring this prayer, a solemn and simple call that will be used by thousands on April the 4th on the National Day of Fasting.
More and more families are just one unexpected bill away from facing empty cupboards. This Lent has been a time to reflect on the urgent moral crisis that is hunger in our midst. It is time for government to play its part and act to make work pay, to fix food markets and to ensure the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against hunger.”