Friday, November 13, 2015

Praying for the hungry and homeless

For 12 years, residents of Frederick, MD, have participated in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, celebrated the week before Thanksgiving. This year's activities begin with a Day of Prayer for the Hungry and Homeless supported by many Frederick churches and non-profits. An interfaith dinner for the hungry will be prepared and served by members of different churches. But how did Frederick become involved with the national event? According to The Frederick News-Post, the idea was born at the Christian Science Reading Room on Market Street.

Christian Science Reading Room, Frederick, Maryland 

The reading room is a familiar bookstore/lounge where anyone can study the Bible and related materials -- an island of calm on a busy street. One visitor was Joan "Joey" Hoffman,  who served in the Peace Corps in Tunisia after graduation from Principia College, and eventually retired as an English teacher at Walkersville High School. Hoffman appreciated the reading room's serenity but remembered the African proverb, "When you pray, move your feet." To her, this means true prayer leads to action, so she and other reading room regulars brainstormed with other churches until someone suggested a community day of prayer for the hungry and homeless, which led to joining the national event.

This year's prayers will definitely move some feet. The interfaith dinner will be followed by a candlelight walk pausing at a church, a homeless center and a government agency serving the homeless. Walkers will offer prayers and share information about each location. On Thursday, Asbury United Methodist Church will host a community Thanksgiving dinner, and on Friday Frederick Community College will screen the film "Homestretch," about three homeless teens fighting to survive.

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