A new 40-day devotional from the Advocate Press called “Feed My Sheep” is featuring hunger ministry stories from churches all over the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.
The book, the newest from the Advocate Press, is penned by Advocate editor and award-winning author Jessica Brodie. The 174-page book teams Bible verses with hunger ministry stories that have appeared in this newspaper over the last decade since Brodie has served as editor.
All proceeds from the book benefit the nonprofit newspaper ministry of the Advocate, which has been in existence since 1837 and is the oldest newspaper in Methodism.
“Feed My Sheep: A 40-Day Devotional to Awaken a Heart for Hunger Ministry” illuminates the work of United Methodists in South Carolina who provide food for people in need, while also glorifying the message Jesus gave His disciples in John 21:15-17 to feed and otherwise care for others.
In that passage in the Gospel of John, Jesus’s question, “Do you love me?” came three times during a conversation between the disciple Peter and the Son of God. Jesus had just been executed on the cross, then resurrected and was back among His disciples for a season until He ascended to heaven (John 21:15-19). “Yes!” Peter insisted three times in answer, each time more and more hurt that his Jesus would even ask.
Then feed my lambs, Jesus responded. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.
That is the undercurrent of this devotional, which shows how United Methodist churches are able to be the hands and feet of Jesus through various food ministries in this state.
As Brodie wrote in her introduction to the devotional, “I’m certain the Son of God didn’t mean for Peter to start peddling bread and fish all over Judea. Most readers of the Gospel believe He meant that Peter should care for people. Pastor people. Tend to their needs, both physical and spiritual. Feed their souls with the Gospel and teach them that Jesus, not the Law, was the only way to heaven. Go and make disciples for the transformation of the world.”
But, Brodie wrote, “Looking back over the life of Christ, we see Jesus not only consistently met people’s spiritual needs but also their physical needs, often using tangible, practical solutions to daily problems to steer people toward God’s truth.”
Throughout the book, Brodie offers examples of South Carolina United Methodist churches big and small engaged in some form of hunger ministry, from collecting spare change for a kids’ food ministry to running a soup kitchen to delivering bagged meals to the elderly and infirm. Every one of the stories in the book first appeared in the pages of the Advocate.
Dozens of churches across South Carolina are featured in the book, including Central UMC in Spartanburg, Macedonia UMC in Mullins, Hampton and Varnville UMCs in Walterboro, Goose Creek UMC in Goose Creek, Lyttleton Street UMC in Camden, Wesley UMC in Johns Island and many more.
“Feed My Sheep” is available online via credit card at www.advocatesc.org/books, or by calling 803-786-9686, ext. 335. Paperback ($10) and eBook ($5) versions are available.