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‘ONE Sabbath’ Mobilizes People of Faith around Global Poverty, Disease

Saperstein: “There are certain issues that so transcend partisan politics that they demand the cooperation and attention of the American people as a whole and of the Congress.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Micaela Hellman-Tincher
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, DC, November 3, 2008 — In the run-up to Election Day and through the beginning of the next presidential administration, the ONE Campaign is mobilizing people of faith across America to speak out and take action for those struggling against poverty and disease around the world. The national effort, called ONE Sabbath, gives local congregations and believers opportunities to respond to such global challenges as AIDS, malaria, lack of clean water and children out of school, and informs congregations about the proven solutions that can save lives and transform impoverished communities.

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

“We know that we have the ability to reduce hunger and poverty and disease in the world,” said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, president of the Lutheran World Federation and presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “Do we have the will? The ONE Campaign is our answer. We do have the will and we know the way.”

“The ONE Campaign is trying to mobilize the conscience, the engagement, the involvement of people here in the United States to say, ‘we can make a difference,’” said Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “There are certain issues that so transcend partisan politics that they demand the cooperation and attention of the American people as a whole and of the Congress.”

Running from October 2008 through first 100 days of the next administration, the ONE Sabbath season coincides with the height of the 2008 election, the start of the 111th Congress, and the inauguration of the next U.S. President, all critical moments in our national dialogue and politics. In tandem with ONE’s 2008 election initiative, ONE Vote ’08, ONE Sabbath aims to raise awareness among voters and candidates about the opportunities our next president and Congress have to implement proven, affordable solutions that will save lives, make our world more secure and live up to America’s best convictions.

“The issues of poverty, particularly in Africa, are a concern for all of us, whether we’re Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, of any faith or no faith,” said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, the Director of Outreach at the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center. “Together, all of us can make a difference.”

“It’s about one voice—for everyone to come together to fight the most important issues of our time,” said Ishani Chowdhury, Director of Public Policy for the Hindu American Foundation.”

ONE Sabbath provides participants with tools to become advocates within their own faith traditions. Whether through a small study group, a question to a candidate, a sermon, a multimedia worship presentation, a petition, a gift to charity, a community organizing event or a conversation with a neighbor, ONE Sabbath participants will help to educate their communities and inspire healing and hope for those who need it most.

“With ONE Sabbath, we all have an opportunity in our house of worship to go to our rabbi, our pastor, our imam and say, ‘what are we doing?’”  said the Rev. Jacques Andre De Graff, Minister of Social Justice at New York's historic Canaan Baptist Church. “We can do something about what people have seen as being impossible.”

A wide-range of content and resources have been developed for participating ONE Sabbath congregations, including: materials developed by SermonCentral.com, a Nooma film by Rob Bell, Christian service guides, Torah and Parashat readings relevant to global poverty, 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. ONE is providing these key materials at its website, www.ONE.org/ONESabbath.

“The power of faith in action can be unparalleled,” said Mark Brinkmoeller, the national coordinator of ONE Sabbath. “All faiths share an appeal to aid those in need. ONE Sabbath, along with ONE Seva and ONE Sadaqa, raises awareness of the good work already being done by countless congregations across the country and invites more believers of all faiths to take action for the world’s poor.”

In addition to the materials, a ONE Sabbath video featuring high-profile figures such as Pastor Rick Warren, Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Rabbi David Saperstein, Rabbi Jerome M. Epstein, Imam Yahya Hendi, Ishani Chowdhury, Imam Johari Abdul-Malik singer Brandon Heath, bands Switchfoot and Third Day, and the Rev. Mark S. Hanson can be found at the site.

“We believe that as people of faith, we should let our elected leaders, and the people who are running for election, know what’s important to us,” said Mac Powell, member of the band Third Day.

Third Day, along with best-selling acts Switchfoot, Jars of Clay and Robert Randolph & The Family Band, is also part of this fall’s ONE Music Builds Tour, which is helping raise awareness for the ONE Sabbath effort at shows across the country.

As a nonpartisan, secular organization dedicated to fighting global poverty and disease, the ONE Campaign celebrates the fact that communities of faith and individual believers are central advocates in this effort, and have been for years. ONE welcomes people of all faiths and those who profess no faith into the growing global movement to eradicate extreme poverty and end deaths from preventable and treatable diseases. ONE Sabbath is one way people of faith can lend their voices and contribute through action.

“There are 13 million kids in Africa that are presently orphaned because of the AIDS crisis,” said author Dr. Tony Campolo. “We can step in. We can make a difference. We must make a difference.”

ONE Sabbath is an effort by the ONE Campaign to rally individuals 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.

The ONE Campaign is a global advocacy organization uniting millions of people to press government leaders to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease around the world. For more information, visit www.ONE.org

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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