A portion of the flyer for the May 1 Break Bread with Tampa event highlighting United Methodist ministries with the poor.
May Day will take on a new meaning in downtown Tampa this year. Celebrated internationally as a holiday honoring workers’ rights and organized labor, Tuesday May 1, 2012 is the day that The United Methodist Church will promote its focus on Ministry with the Poor--ways of acting and standing in solidarity with the poor.
From 12:00-2:30 pm there will be a free and public outdoor luncheon at Cotanchobee Park, along the Riverwalk near the Marriott Waterside. The event, Break Bread with* Tampa, will feature singing groups from Tampa and African countries, a number of speakers, and up to 20 exhibitors from various ministries working with the poor. The Rev. John Edgar, Senior Pastor of the Church for All People in Columbus, Ohio, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies of the event.
The food will be prepared by “Inside the Box Catering,” an entrepreneurial initiative of Metropolitan Ministries. Proceeds from the sale of lunches are reinvested in providing meals to homeless and other hungry people in a four-county area.
"We are very pleased to be partnering in this event,” says The Rev. Morris Hintzman, a United Methodist minister heading Metropolitan Ministries. “The Inside the Box catering operation and the Inside the Box Café located near the Convention Center provide job training and business experience to our homeless clients participating in our transformational residential program, UpliftU."
Break Bread with* Tampa is a prelude to Partner with* Tampa, offering four different opportunities to engage in Ministry with the Poor in Tampa:
• Communities of Shalom Initiative will host free training in faith-based community organizing and community development techniques to combat poverty in local communities, May 1 at 4:00 p.m. at Hyde Park UMC.
• Cornerstone Ministries, Amazing Love Ministries, and Metropolitan Ministries, local organizations in Tampa, are offering opportunities for volunteers to engage in ministry with children or homeless people.
Those interested in joining any of these activities are asked to register ahead of time by visiting http://www.ministrywith.org/about/contact.html. Free transportation to and from these activities is provided.
Another opportunity for General Conference attendees to experience and learn more about poverty in the United States will be to participate in one of the two-hour “poverty simulations” being held each morning from 9:00 am- 12:30 pm, May 1-4, 2012 in Ballroom D of the Tampa Convention Center. The simulations, also dubbed the Cost of Poverty Experience or C.O.P.E., are guided role plays in which the participants confront the kinds of struggles that people living with poverty must cope with in this country. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Also on May 1, the Society of St. Andrew will be hosting a PRODUCE DROP outside the Tampa Convention Center. About 40,000 lbs of cucumbers will be delivered to the steps of the Convention Center around 6:00 am. Volunteers will be needed to bag the cucumbers for distribution to food banks throughout the Tampa area. The food bagging will take place between 6:00am and noon, in time for volunteers to join Break Bread with* Tampa, where the Society of St. Andrew will have display space. For more information about the PRODUCE DROP, contact Barbara Sales at the Society of St. Andrew, email@example.com.
“We invite all to join us for great food and fellowship as we break bread with Tampa and lift up the Church’s vision of how anti-poverty ministries look and act in the 21st Century,” says United Methodist Bishop Timothy Whittaker of Lakeland, Florida. Bishop Whittaker’s area of responsibility includes Tampa, where thousands of Methodist clergy and laity representing the global church will be attending General Conference 2012, the legislative assembly of The United Methodist church, April 24-May 4.
“Ministry with the Poor involves more than handouts,” says Thomas Kemper, the top executive of the General Board of Global Ministries. “Unlike traditional models of charity-based ministry, Ministry with the Poor seeks to understand and address the root causes of poverty and foster empowerment of those who are affected directly by conditions of poverty.” Kemper also leads the United Methodist Interagency Task Force that coordinates Ministry with the Poor. The work of the Ministry with the Poor Focus Area is framed by its Guiding Principles and Foundations.
“We must follow Jesus’ example of servant leadership,” says United Methodist Bishop Joel Martinez, who coordinates the Bishops’ Task Force on Ministry with the Poor. “Those who enjoy greater privileges are called to walk humbly alongside those at society’s margins, listening to, learning from, and working in solidarity with them for the transformation of this world.”
Nelida Morales, President of the Florida Conference of United Methodist Women, notes that “Ministry with the poor—the poorest of whom usually are women and children—has long been a critical focus of United Methodist Women. Cornerstone Ministries, a United Methodist Women National Mission Institution in Tampa, exemplifies our commitment to ministry with poor women, children and families.”