On Monday, August 26th, 2019, RISE members met to discuss among several issues, the possibility of a new theme that could focus on and reflect on RISE programs that support immigrants and refugees.
The theme that has been selected for this season is: “WE ALL BELONG”, which will embrace all and sundry as well as welcome everyone to participate and feel welcome in our communities.
Also RISE volunteer Sam Alger suggested a program in which members of the community will bring bread from their diverse country experiences and backgrounds to share with others throughout the season.
Bread becomes our common symbol of the oneness of our humanity, a common familiar food, which provides strength and livelihood, and is common to all countries and generations. Bread continues to our day, just like it was in the Bible to serve many purposes. ‘In the Bible bread is mentioned at least 492 times beginning in Genesis and continuing right through’. There are several lessons of bread that we should transfer to our daily lives. In the bible, peace was also established by disagreeing parties who broke bread together.
As Joseph A. Grassi puts in in his Loaves and Fishes, “To eat bread is to taste the very source of all bread and nourishment which is God Himself because it was God who created the earth, plants, and especially wheat as the staff of life.”
God’s creative voice regarding bread makes all of life, bread, and nourishment possible. That’s why it is so appropriate to say a blessing over the food you eat. That is to acknowledge that God is the ultimate source of the nourishment you are about to receive.
The many types of breads today also speak of our diversity and to know a culture through food in the form of bread is to appreciate and embrace that culture and welcome the people and embrace them with a warmth of encouragement that we all belong.
Just like bread comes in every shapes and sizes, so is our human diversity and different abilities. Bread unites us and shows also that oneness and by breaking bread together and sharing, we are reminded of Christ and our faith and to welcome all, share the gift of bread and embrace each other as part of the human family is to carry out God’s will and a positive message that we all belong to the one Body of Christ.
At RISE we are sending a message that we all belong, we are striving for an inclusive community and society, and that we all belong not because of who we are or where we come from, but being here means belonging to a supportive community in which everyone has a chance to contribute. In doing so, RISE sees the potentials in everyone and creates a stage where everyone is respected and where these potentials can be nurtured and where people are given a voice no matter their circumstances.