Interreligious mobilisation against extreme poverty launched

By staff writers
September 17, 2009

The global advocacy organisation ONE has launched 'ONE Sabbath 2009-10': a campaign to mobilize people of faith to speak out and take action in the struggle against extreme poverty and preventable disease.

By participating in ONE Sabbath, churches, temples, synagogues and mosques will rally behind solutions to such global challenges as AIDS, malaria, lack of clean water, gender inequality and the lack of access to education for children.

Individuals and congregations in the United States are being urged to sign up for the effort at

"We know that people motivated by their faith can do extraordinary good. ONE Sabbath will help channel the energy and compassion of local congregations to act on behalf of people living through some of the harshest challenges any person can face - extreme poverty, hunger, dirty water, preventable disease and lack of educational opportunity," said J. Mark Brinkmoeller, ONE's Director of US NGO Partnerships & Faith Relations.

ONE launched the effort with a conference call featuring: Princess Kasune Zulu, a Christian and noted AIDS activist from Zambia; Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Director of Tikkum Olam for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; Imam Mohamed Hag Magid, the Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America and Ishani Chowdhury, the Hindu American Foundation Director of Public Policy.

ONE Sabbath includes Jewish and Christian congregations and encompasses ONE Sadaqa in the Muslim community and ONE Seva in the Hindu community.

"The many faiths practiced in our country share a common commitment to caring for the poor," said the Rev Adam Phillips, ONE's Faith Relations Manager.

He continued: "ONE Sabbath gives congregations tools to become champions in advocacy and awareness for the poorest people on our planet and for the efforts that are working to help them get basic needs to improve their own lives. Using something as simple as our voices, we can stand with people living in extreme poverty and help make this a better world for all of us."

The effort provides participants with concrete ways to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of the world's poor within their own respective faith traditions. Whether through small group discussions, petition drives, sermons, worship services, charitable donations, phone calls to Congress, youth group activities, multimedia hymn presentations, prayer guides, or community-wide events, ONE Sabbath participants will mobilise support behind effective poverty-fighting initiatives that are working on the ground, it says.

ONE Sabbath participants are being offered a wide-range of web-based resources to make ONE Sabbath their own. Resources include: materials developed by, a Nooma film by Rob Bell, Christian service guides, Torah and Parashat readings, a Tzedek guide for campuses for the Jewish High Holidays, a reflection and action guide for the Hindu tradition, a prayer and reflection guide for masjids, a Ramadan advocacy resource on hunger and poverty, Christian hymns, PowerPoint templates, youth group and children's materials and music videos.

In addition, for all congregations that sign up, ONE is offering a free session of a new DVD curriculum, Start>:Becoming A Good Samaritan. Hosted by Pastor John Ortberg, the curriculum features leaders and teachers in the fight against global poverty and disease such as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Eugene Peterson, Kay Warren, Rob Bell, Jim Wallis, Rich Stearns and many others.

Produced by Zondervan, a specialist in the field of Christian publications and training curriculum, the DVD explores the critical needs facing our world and helps Christians understand how they can become Good Samaritans, right now, right where they live.

"Extreme poverty forces one billion people to live on less than one dollar a day. It prevents tens of millions of kids from getting the chance to step inside a classroom. It creates conditions that allow diseases like malaria and AIDS to spread and kill millions of people a year, even though we know how to prevent and treat them," said Princess Kaune Zulu, a Christian and AIDS advocate from Zambia.

"People of faith have long been leaders in the fight against poverty. ONE Sabbath invites more people of faith into this fight and provides effective tools so that those already involved can make an even bigger impact."

ONE Sabbath 2009-10 is an effort by ONE to rally individuals, houses of worship and organizations of all faiths to address the challenges of extreme poverty and global diseases such as AIDS and malaria. The effort is known as ONE Sadaqa in the Muslim community and ONE Seva in the Hindu community.

ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 2 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information go to:

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