Three Lutheran pastors recently completed a 13,000-mile U.S. tour to raise awareness and donations to fight world hunger.
Starting from Chicago – the location of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America headquarters – the three pastors on May 13 embarked on the Tour de Revs 2009. One hundred cities and 65 ELCA synods later, the Revs. Fred Soltow, Jr., David Twedt, and Ron Schlak arrived at the denomination’s Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis on Aug. 20.
“Our tour was not about reverends. But about revelation, revolution and revenue,” said Soltow at the Assembly on Thursday.
The revelation, he said, is there are over 2,100 verses in Scripture that talks about feeding the hungry and eliminating injustice.
Co-biker Ron Schlak shared about the revolution taking place by lifting up a white cloth bag with 550 pennies. He said a homeless woman they met in San Diego had donated the money after hearing about the pastors’ mission. The woman had said she wanted to help hungry people too.
Pastor Twedt then spoke about revenue. He declared that if every baptized ELCA member donated $5 a month to the denomination’s World Hunger Fund, the group would have over $250 million a year for the cause.
“We all know that we have enough stuff. We have the resources to fight poverty and end hunger, but the question is, do we have the desire, because it is God’s will,” Twedt said.
It took two years of planning for the Tour de Revs to become reality after the idea was first conceived five years ago. The pastors, whose average age is 60, have been colleagues and friends for 15 years.
During their long and intense journey, the three pastors rode on a custom-made, 3-person, bamboo bike.
World hunger is at its highest level in history in terms of the number of people it affects. The U.N. World Food Program reported in July that the number of people going hungry every day has hit a historic high of 1.02 billion. Compared to last year, an additional 100 million people are in chronic hunger and poverty this year.