St. Anne's, Sunfish Lake: We Can All Work to End Global Poverty

“We Are the First Generation to Have the Means to End Extreme Global Poverty”

The headline is actually a prayer – The Counting Prayer, which is offered as an invitation to individuals, communities, and congregations to join the fight to end global poverty. The prayer actually ends with “….pray that we have the will.”

Throughout Lent Episcopal congregations in Minnesota have demonstrated that prayer works – and that there is the will.

Among these is St. Anne’s, Sunfish Lake.

St. Anne’s is one of the four Episcopal congregations in the Diocese of Minnesota participating in the current Millennium Development Goals (MDG) pilot program, learning how to address the MDGs as a congregation. To kick-of this effort, a team of five individuals was trained to lead the program with the goal of a congregation-wide Lenten campaign. Through house parties, sermons, and story telling (also called personal narrative), St. Anne’s members exceeded their initial goal of 50% participation, raising $10,000.

However, for the St. Anne’s community, the goal wasn’t just about the dollar amount, the goal was about participation.

Rather than assign decision-making to a committee, St. Anne’s proceeded as a community to discern support for Operation Bootstrap Africa, a Minnesota-based, inter-denominational non-profit dedicated to helping people help themselves through education,  Holy Cross Anglican School in Belize and Kiva microlending.

Through Kiva, St. Anne’s is providing support to:

Ablossi Dissenou, who lives in Togo, is married, and is the mother of seven children. She sells medicinal products to support herself and her family. Thus, she stocks up on products when they are abundant and sells them when they are expensive. She requested a US $475 loan from Kiva to improve her earnings and her living standard.

Chim Leang Sim, who lives in Cambodia and sells vegetables in the local food market while her husband, Yim Sophat, is a private doctor. She typically makes $50 each day in revenue, working as a middleman, purchasing vegetables from the growers and reselling them in the market. Her husband makes US $15 per day of income and they have six children who have all married and started their own families. She has asked for a loan of US $1000 to allow her to purchase more vegetables to resell in the market. She has seen that there is client demand for the goods, but she lacks the capital needed to expand.