Members of three Carroll congregations will be putting their feet where their mouths are Saturday in Baltimore as they join the Walk Against Hunger in Africa.
Sponsored by Clergy and Laity Concerned, the10-kilometer walk will raise money for such organizations as Africare, Catholic Relief Services and UNICEF.
CALC is an ecumenical group of Baltimore-area churches and synagogues.
"Hunger is a catastrophe confronting humans that we must notignore," said John C. Springer, CALC's executive director. "The walkis also an opportunity to fulfill CALC's purpose of promoting interracial harmony in Maryland."
Carroll participants are members of Westminster Church of the Brethren, Union Street United Methodist Church in Westminster and St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Sykesville.
"I think there needs to be a balance between concern for issues at home and issues abroad," said Jan Flora, a member of Westminster Church of the Brethren who participated last year. "When you think that human lives are being lost or impaired by something pretty basic (lack of food), that's
a real concern. It's so easy for us to becomeinsensitive and not see it as a real concern."
Reminders help people not take what they have for granted, Flora said.
"I have been born with a lot," she said. "We think, 'I've earned this,' but there's a lot I haven't earned. I've gotten it through the grace of God."
In thinking of those in need around the world, people shouldn't feel guilty, Flora said. They should just share what they have with others.
"We should realize the good fortune we have," she said. "I'm willing to walk and have sore feet, especially when I realize there are some women who do that just to get water every day. It really puts it in perspective."
The Rev. Christy Waltersdorff, the minister atWestminster Church of the Brethren, said events such as the walk help people do something constructive about hunger.
"It's putting your feet where your mouth is," she said. "You can say you are concerned, but to walk and physically put yourself there is another thing."
Gary Honeman, chairman of the committee that organized Westminster'smembers for the walk, said last year's event gave him a chance for spiritual growth while helping others.
"It was just a very deliberate way of acting on my faith," he said. "You don't very often get an opportunity to respond to needs in such a deliberate way. You often feel very helpless about how to be active with your faith."
Last year's walk, a 10-kilometer loop that started at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, also gave him a chance to visit many of the city's neighborhoods.
Shorter routes are available for more casual walkers.
"We really get a sense of the multi-culture of the city," he said. "People would come out to encourage us and along the route, different churches served as aid stations. The members would serve refreshments and comeout and talk with us. It was great."
Flora said a light drizzle that day didn't dampen the walkers' spirits.
"Walking in the rain was a blast," she said. "We walked through some really neat parts of Baltimore, and people sat on their steps and cheered, 'Go, go.' We gota lot of support, and I think it touched the lives of the people whowatched us."
Westminster's effort -- together with Union Street, the church's partner in CALC's Pairing and Caring program -- helped members learn more about their immediate neighbors as well.
Pairingand Caring joins congregations that are racially and denominationally diverse.
"I walked with one of the women from Union Street," Flora said. "We didn't know each other, but I'm an aggressive walker andshe's the running type, so we joined up together."
Chatting aboutfamily issues as they walked, the two found they had a lot in common, Flora said.
"We just shared things as women," she said. "It's just amazing how when you start talking about things other than the weather and what we do in our jobs, the kinds of things we get into. There are a lot of common problems we all share, and we lose sight of that."
Honeman said it's significant that this effort crosses racialand denominational boundaries.
"CALC really has to offer that kind of inclusive faith community," he said. "To me, that's very symbolic of what God has in mind for us."
CALC anticipates a turnout of about 1,000 walkers this year, and individual participants -- walkers and runners -- are welcome.
For more information, call 962-8333, 848-8090, 876-4484 or 795-7838.