True religion: Caring for the hungry

Photos courtesy of Peter F. Johnson

By Peter F. Johnson, lead pastor of Hanoverdale Church of the Brethren in Hummelstown, Pa.

For years, our church hosted monthly community meals in our multi-ministry center. The kitchen crew made nourishing meals for about 200 people before children, youth, and adult midweek ministries would take place. Then COVID hit and all indoor eating meetings ended. In a time of health crisis and loss of jobs, food disparity became all the more prevalent.

Instead of closing the kitchen, we decided to double our efforts, sending out monthly mailers to households in our area letting them know that they could register for a free meal, and come to the front door of the church to pick it up in order to bring it home on a particular night each month. The response was tremendous.

Now three years later we continue to prepare, package, and provide monthly meals to between 500 and 600 people. Most recently, 650 meals were prepared and served on October 10, and 750 on November 14. In the bag with the meals we give information about our church and how to have a relationship with the Lord. On occasion people will ask for prayer, and we have the opportunity to pray with them in their cars before they return home to eat their meal.

Feeding the hungry has always been an important part of true religion. In Isaiah 58:10 we find, “Spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed.” James also showed how “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress. . . .  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 1:27; 2:15–16). The physical food offered in true religion leads to lasting relationship when the Spirit of God then opens the heart, and a person’s spiritual hunger is met as they come to faith in Jesus Christ.

The Office of Mission Advancement of the Church of the Brethren is grateful for this reflection from Peter Johnson. It represents our passion to grow in authentic faith and care for the hungry—physically and spiritually. For more inspirational stories about congregations living as “Jesus in the Neighborhood” visit Learn more about the missions and ministries of the Church of the Brethren at

(Read this issue of eBrethren.)

Praise for every second

Photos by Marissa Witkovsky-Eldred,
Brethren Disaster Ministries, and Benjamin Hoffman

By Matt DeBall, coordinator of Mission Advancement Communications

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples. For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.” ~Psalm 117, NIV

More than 31.5 million seconds in a year, more than 2.2 billion seconds in a lifetime (of 70 years)—each one accounted for and cared for by God. And God has certainly been at work long before we (or anyone we have met) walked the earth. Before and ever since time began, God has been the loving creator, the gracious redeemer, and the faithful sustainer of all things. Short of fully understanding, we can rest in awe as we reflect on the greatness of God.

The wonderful work of God is still present and active among us. Through the missions and ministries of the Church of the Brethren, people of all ages serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, embody and articulate their faith, receive training and support for ministry, walk alongside vulnerable persons through seasons of long-term recovery, and nurture partnerships and relationships around the world. As we consider all that we are able to do together, we recognize that God deserves the honor and praise at every moment in time. We give thanks for God’s great love and enduring faithfulness—in all the world and through the Church of the Brethren.

On Giving Tuesday, November 28, join us for (at least) a handful of seconds to celebrate what God has done and will still do among us. Make a gift to our ministries to celebrate now or then at

(Read this issue of eBrethren.)