On Monday, July 11, 2022, we received a small delegation from the Bishops Spouses and Partners Planning Group of the Episcopal Church. The 80th General Convention of the denomination was scheduled to take place in Baltimore, but rising COVID numbers forced them to alter their plans. The Black Church Food Security Network was initially scheduled to lead a large delegation of the House of Bishops Spouses and Partners Planning Group to various gardens around the city for a day of service at multiple sites. Despite the changing of the original plan, however, we were able to receive a small delegation at one of our church gardens located at Shiloh Baptist Church in Edgemere, Maryland. We enjoyed a morning of gardening, relationship-building and discussion about the prospect of future support or collaborations.
While much of the work of The Black Church Food Security Network is currently grant-supported, we are working to establish the kinds of partnerships with denominations and local churches that allows for our work to be included as a line item on their annual budgets. While we are exceedingly grateful for our Foundation partners, we are clear that being primarily funded by grants is not a strong strategy for sustainability. We are excited about what genuine collaboration with various denominations, judicatory bodies and local churches could look like to help sustain this most important work far into the future. We are meeting so many religious leaders that see the value of investing in food justice work and food system organizing rooted in love, agency, faith and self-determination for the African American community.
We are prayerful that meetings, events, and connections like the one we experienced with our new colleagues in the Episcopal Church can help us to take steps in this direction.