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WMU world hunger bread loaf bank debuts

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–A bread loaf bank for missions made its debut during the Woman’s Missionary Union report at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Ky., June 23.

The bank, a new resource for the World Hunger Offering, will replace the plastic, disposable rice bowls previously used by churches to collect funds, Wanda S. Lee, WMU’s national executive director, told messengers.

“Southern Baptists have demonstrated concern for the hungry throughout our history, and food banks and hunger projects are vibrant ministries in many of our churches,” Lee said.

WMU, an auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention, introduced the bank as a resource to encourage giving to the World Hunger Fund, established by Southern Baptists in 1974. WMU is working on the project in partnership with the North American Mission Board, International Mission Board, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, LifeWay Christian Resources and Baptist Press.

Kaye Miller, WMU’s president, said the banks, manufactured by a Southern Baptist family, are reusable and affordable and “serve as a visual reminder to help those who do not have enough food to eat.” They can be ordered directly from WMU, she said.

With a focus on giving to missions, Lee thanked messengers for their support of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Since WMU began the offerings in 1888 and 1907 respectively, WMU leaders and members have helped raise more than $4.2 billion to support missionaries and their work.

“This year’s giving to these offerings may be more sacrificial for some than ever before, considering the level of unemployment and loss of income experienced by many in our churches,” Lee said. “And yet, Christ’s command to go into all the world compels us to give, in support of our missionaries during these challenging times.

“I believe if we keep our hearts focused on the mandate of the Great Commission, God will be faithful in providing the people and financial resources needed to reach a world desperately in need of the help found in Christ,” Lee said.

A video report highlighted WMU’s Children’s Ministry Day, when nearly 16,000 children and 4,600 volunteers put their faith into action this year by ministering to an estimated 74,000 people.

Launched in 2008, the ministry day takes place each February as children across the country actively share the love of Christ by meeting needs and ministering in their communities.

Miller challenged churches to join in the third annual Children’s Ministry Day, Feb. 20, 2010, as children’s groups will be urged to meet housing-related needs in their communities.

Lee reported that Miller, of Little Rock, Ark., was re-elected to a fifth term as national president, and Rosalie Hunt of Guntersville, Ala, was elected as national recording secretary during WMU’s annual meeting at St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville June 22.

With Hunt’s election, Lee noted WMU now has two MK’s (missionary kids) serving as national officers; Miller is an MK from Thailand and Hunt grew up as an MK in China. Hunt, a member of First Baptist in Guntersville, also is an emeritus missionary, having served for more than 30 years in China with the International Mission Board.

Lee asked messengers to visit the WMU’s website at wmu.com “to discover a variety of exciting ways all ages in your church can be involved in the Great Commission.”

“Your church has an enthusiastic partner in WMU,” Lee said. “Whether it’s through prayer, giving to missions, learning about missionaries and the people whom they serve, or meeting needs and sharing the love of Christ, it is our privilege to provide opportunities for missions discipleship and involvement so that all the world may know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Julie Walters is Woman’s Missionary Union’s communications specialist.