VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/7/12)—The national board of American Baptist Women’s Ministries, at its annual meetings July 17-21, 2012, unanimously voted to become signatories to the “1,000 Conversations Campaign” sponsored by Bread for the World. The Campaign is a strategy of the ecumenical community’s Women of Faith for the 1,000 Days Movement to promote nutrition for mothers and children in the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday. The 1,000 Days Partnership supports the global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement that brings together more than 100 governments and organizations committed to working together to fight hunger and malnutrition.
Malnutrition is a critical issue globally, and three of the eight U.N. Millennium Development Goals depend on improving nutrition—eradicating hunger, improving maternal health, and reducing child mortality. Covenanting members of the 1,000 Conversations Campaign each pledge to have 1,000 conversations to spread the word about the importance of proper nutrition, and to advocate to our government leaders the importance of supporting and protecting programs that prioritize nutrition for women and children during this critical 1,000-day window.
October 23-24, 2012, American Baptist Women’s Ministries sent a staff representative to a strategy meeting held at the Bread for the World offices in Washington, D.C. This meeting brought together representatives from denominational women’s organizations and others who have become part of the 1,000 Days Movement in the last year. The purpose of the meeting was to develop goals to promote the movement more deeply and to lift up advocates who can speak on a national scale to influence Congress and the administration. Additionally, the group planned Lenten resources which will be made available in early 2013 to help individuals and groups explore global hunger from the perspective of faith.
“It was inspiring to be gathered with my sisters and brothers in Christ from so many other denominations and organizations such as Church Women United, Church World Service, Ecumenical Advocacy Days, and, of course, Bread for the World, working on crucial issues such as maternal and infant health. Our denominational differences inspired us to even more bold and creative strategies for advocacy. I could truly feel the Holy Spirit at work in the room,” said Rev. Sandra Hasenauer, associate executive director for American Baptist Women’s Ministries and staff representative to the strategy meeting.
AB Women’s Ministries Executive Director Virginia Holmstrom said, “I urge American Baptists to initiate conversations—with family, friends, congregations, groups, and other networks—to speak out in support of adequate nutrition for mothers and their children. Hunger and poverty are two huge oppressors of women worldwide. Conversations inform and invite reflection, first steps toward change. Our commitment to this movement will empower more women and children in this country and other countries to have access to better nutrition during a critical 1,000 day window of time that determines an infant’s healthy physical and cognitive development. Let the conversations begin!”
“I am excited that the American Baptist Women’s Ministries has joined Women of Faith for the 1,000 Days Movement in the 1,000 Conversations Campaign. We are at a critical moment when the Administration will be setting priorities for a new term. With staffing changes within the State Department and possibly USAID, it will be vital for our voices as Christian women, as women of faith, to urge both our Congress and Administration to continue our nation’s leadership in the Scaling Up Nutrition movement. It is in spreading the word that we have the power to make a difference,” states Nancy Neal, Associate for Denominational Women’s Organization Relations at Bread for the World.
For more information about the 1,000 Days Movement, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/womenoffaith1000days. American Baptist Women’s Ministries website will also have resources available in early 2013: www.abwministries.org.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.