Focus on creativity as dioceses promote different approaches to Jubilee Ministry development

Twenty-four dioceses received $1,000 grants from the Office of Social and Economic Justice last winter, for the purpose of supporting Jubilee Ministry development plans of the local bishop and the Diocesan Jubilee Officer.

Those grants have been used to fund varied programs around the country, illustrating a range of ways dioceses are investing in and promoting Jubilee Ministry. Jubilate invited a number of diocese to share the stories of how they’re using their grants. Among them: a ministry to the homeless in the diocese of California, a ministry to residents of nursing homes in the diocese of southeast Florida, an Anglican school in Belize supported by a church in the diocese of Virginia; and a diocesan-wide gathering of Jubilee Ministries in the San Diego diocese. 

In addition, this issue also contains an account of how the Diocese of Long Island leveraged a Jubilee Ministry grant to fund an asset-based community development workshop, and an account of how the Diocese of Maine is putting together a web-based resource to empower people of all faith traditions to join in the battle to end domestic poverty.

I wonder what walking humbly would look like?

In this, our tenth quarterly issue of Jubilate, I continue a conversation that has been building through this e-newsletter series by many names – Jubilee Ministry is transformative ministry.  Fitting with Pentecost, let me  share some reflections about the very spirit that makes Jubilee possible, the spirit that gives life to the Church.

I wonder.

What would it look like if we understood just how interdependent each of our ministries is on each other, as well as on the people we serve?

What would it look like if we developed Jubilee Ministry as a network that links ministries together, so that each can post its stories of success and disappointment as contributions for the mutual building up of the body?



Sacred Space brings church, food, compassion to the homeless in Oakland

Sacred Space~Oakland started in 2010, while doing my field education at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oakland.  I was taking a walk around a large park in the center of the business district.

It was lunchtime and there were many joggers and mothers and children playing and enjoying the park.  I was told the park is totally different in the evening, with many homeless people living there at night. During the day, they leave the park and hide on the side streets out of the way of people.

That evening, I decided to return to the park around 6 p.m. to see what it was like after dark.  There were a few homeless people setting up their makeshift beds for the evening and getting settled in.  I handed out some food in zip-lock bags so that those I met would have a little something to nourish them.


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Ministry reaches out to nursing home residents who feel church has forgotten them

Think of the Rev. Donna Hall as a kind of 21st century circuit riding preacher. There are some 50 nursing homes in the immediate vicinity of Palm Beach, Fla., and as chaplain of the North Palm Beach Deanery Nursing Home/Outreach to the Elderly ministry, Hall visits about 30 of them every month.

“I go every day, six days a week,” she said. “I always said God was calling me to work with those who thought the church had forgotten them. There’s no group of people who feel that more than those who are residents in facilities.”

The ministry began in 1985 when the Rev. Jack Tucker recognized a need in northern Palm Beach County that wasn’t being met. The ministry grew quickly, and now includes all of Palm Beach and Martin counties. Hall has served as its director since her ordination in 2004.

The ministry, a longtime Jubilee Ministry, is funded by Episcopal churches in the area. The diocese of Southeast Florida recently was awarded a $1,000 diocesan development grant, which is going to help fund the nursing home ministry.

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Southwest Virginia parish finds its mission in the students of Anglican school in poor area of Belize

Over the past six years, clergy and parishioners of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lynchburg, VA, have fostered a caring relationship with Holy Cross Anglican School on Ambergris Caye in Belize, Central America.

A number of intergenerational groups have spent time there to work and play with students at the school in San Mateo, one of the most impoverished areas of Belize. The area sits within the country’s number one tourism destination and yet it is considered one of the poorest and badly planned subdivisions in the entire country.

San Mateo lacks proper water service, adequate road infrastructure and sufficient energy distribution. Built within mangrove swamps, the garbage-laden landfill materials used to create islands and improper waste disposal poses a very serious health hazard. According to The San Pedro Sun News, a local newspaper, environmentalists believe the area may well be a “catastrophe in waiting.”



Long Island churches focus on being OF the community, not just IN the community

Bob Cottrell, the junior warden at St. James Episcopal Church in Long Beach, N.Y., in the Diocese of Long Island, already had a vision of what his parish might do to better serve the needs of the recovery community, which is quite large in Long Beach. But it certainly never involved sponsoring mental health talks at the local library or hosting smoking cessation classes.

Then he attended the two-day Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) workshop presented by Jubilee Ministry last September for invited parishes in the diocese. And he came away with a new mindset about what is possible and what is desirable.

Deacon Lorraine Cusick, Jubilee Officer for the Diocese of Long Island, helped organize the two-day event, one of six such workshops around the country in 2011 funded by Jubilee Ministry.


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The 'Spirit of Jubilee' grows in San Diego, which declares itself to be a 'Jubilee Diocese'

There was already a Spirit of Jubilee moving through our Diocese before we received the $1,000 Diocesan grant and started planning our Jubilee workshop.  Only it had another name--“Servant Ministry.”

The Diocese of San Diego recently went through an 18-month strategic planning process to develop a new Mission Plan and Goals for the next 3-5 years.  Out of that process evolved a number of specific goals for Outreach and Advocacy.  For example, under the heading of Outreach, the main goal reads, “As people who seek to meet Christ in the hearts and lives of our neighbors, every congregation will create a specific core servant ministry to the community beyond the church”; with one of the objectives being to, “Convene quarterly servant ministry summits to plan events, share progress and promote participation…”

We felt that by lifting up the importance of service ministry, we would be acting as though we are a “Jubilee Diocese,” so that is what we described in our grant application.



JusticeandMercyME embodies the both/and approach to fighting domestic poverty in Maine

In 2010, a loosely-organized group of laity and clergy from the Episcopal Diocese of Maine came together in response to the call of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. 2009 General Convention Resolution A155 for the church to “recognize the pressing challenges to those living in poverty and the working poor throughout this nation.”

It became clear to the group that it would be helpful to have a web-based resource that connected those of all faith traditions to organizations that are already working to end domestic poverty here in Maine.  As this idea evolved it became JusticeandMercyME.

Launched in March 2011, JusticeandMercyME  is a web-based resource that seeks to encourage and empower people of all faith traditions to join in the battle to end domestic poverty here in Maine.



Don't forget: Diocesan Jubilee Officer Training, Nov. 11-14

Each time we meet we have an opportunity to expand our own awareness of how the geography and history of our communities shape our ministry. Building on work we have begun in Cedar Rapids, Newark and Lexington, this training event will introduce us to the communities and history of Koinonia Farm and Habitat for Humanity.

Koinonia Farm is a Christian farm community founded in 1942 in Americus, GA, which is the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity, as well as several other ongoing ministries. It is also still a working pecan and peanut farm, it still welcomes visitors, and it still strives to be the “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God.”

The schedule is still being planned, but we will use the time to build on the leadership foundation that is already in place, and to identify sustainable strategies for network development. We will explore how best to support the practical needs of our many ministries around the nine principle functions of  Jubilee Ministry: Consciousness Raising, Designated Jubilee Centers, Training, Human Resources, Research and Evaluation, Publications, Network for Public Policy, Evangelism and Congregational Development, and Jubilee Ministry Grants.

Diocesan Jubilee Officers are strongly encouraged to make participation in this event a priority. To make that possible, a flat $100 registration fee will be charged for participation, and the Office of Social & Economic Justice will cover ALL the related travel and lodging expenses for those who register by September 1. Travel expenses will NOT be covered for those who register after that date.


Wanted: Ministries that serve single parents

Does anyone know of, or have, a Jubilee Ministry that reaches out specifically to single parents? A parish in Dallas is seeking ideas on how to organize such an outreach program. If you can help, please contact the Rev. Rosemary Trei, Jubilee Officer for the Diocese of Dallas,



Mark your calendar

Ecclesia Ministries Come and See/Come and Be weekend

Nov. 2-4

Proctor Conference Center

Columbus, Ohio

The focus of the weekend will be "Spiritual Practices on the Margins." 

Diocesan Jubilee Officer Training

Nov. 14-17

Americus, Ga

Diocesan Jubilee Officers are strongly encouraged to make participation in this event a priority. To make that possible, a flat $100 registration fee will be charged for participation, and the Office of Social & Economic Justice will cover ALL the related travel and lodging expenses for those who register by September 1. Travel expenses will NOT be covered for those who register after that date.

Bus trip opens doors to encounters with angels

Part of my personal rule is to strive for one day a week during which I will not use my car.


I move around in a power wheelchair, and my 10 year -old van is the only private automobile I can drive. I cannot afford to replace it, so I have to take care of it when things go wrong,  as they did recently.


My car was in the shop, and I had just returned from almost a week in Washington D.C. the night before. I was pretty tired, but I needed to get to two meetings in Seattle from my home in Auburn, xx miles away. “OK, I can do this,” I assured myself. “I can take the bus.” I called King County Metro to get my routes, making sure the bus stops were wheelchair accessible, and I was assured they were. Directions in hand, out the door I went.


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Jubilee Ministry in the news

Operation Dry Bottoms has the area's little ones covered

The Daily Jeffersonian, Cambridge, Ohio, Feb. 22

One the last Friday of each month, St. John's Episcopal church reaches out to meet the needs of the youngest people of the Cambridge area - little ones who wear diapers.


Church helps hungry

Ocala StarBanner, Ocala, Fla., March 4

Every week on food pantry hand-out day at Holy Faith Episcopal Church in Dunnellon, four or five new families arrive with the "regulars church members have gotten to know. 


Students help secure medical assistance for Galveston's working poor

Episcopal News Service, March 14

Who knew medical students were so talented? On March 8, University of Texas Medical Branch students held their annual fundraiser for the St. Vincent’s House Student Clinic in Galveston.


'Mother Teresa of Las Vegas' following a vision to help those in need

Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 20

 As chaplain of the Clark County Detention Center, Bonnie Polley has looked into the eyes of some of society's worst. As a deacon in the Episcopal Church, she has looked into the eyes of some of the town's poorest. 


Where would Jesus bank?

Crosscut, Seattle

A forum at the Episcopal cathedral in seattle looks at the role of cooperatives in building a better future.


'Not only my feet but also my  hands and head,' homeless say

Boulder Christianity Examiner, April 1

Kathleen King grew up in a church where members regularly wash each others feet so she thinks it's normal for Christians to take the rite to this city's streets where it's really needed.


Church featured in national documentary

Clanton (Ala.) Advertiser, April 5

Trinity Episcopal Church will be one of just a handful of congregations across the country featured in the Episcopal Church USA’s “Transforming Churches, Changing the World” project.


Nogales clinic receives community service award

Episcopal News Service, April 13

St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic, an Episcopal Church Center for Jubilee Ministry located in Nogales, Arizona, recently received the 2012 Golden Rule Community Service Award.


Hollywood soup kitchen puts on homeless talent show

The Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), April 12

Just because a man is homeless doesn't mean he can't sing dozens of 60s and 70s love songs from memory in perfect pitch. 


Meeting with Presiding Bishop highlights Arizona's Jubilee Ministries

Episcopal News Service, April 19

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori attended a gathering of the Arizona Jubilee Ministry Centers assembled at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Tucson on April 12.


Flint's Christ Enrichment Center out to better more lives

The Flint Journal, April 21

Danielle Brown, the center's new director, hopes programs at the former Christ Episcopal Church can be expanded so more children and adults can be accommodated in literacy and enrichment.


'Seeds of Hope' Career Center helps people find hope

The Sun Chronicle, Biddeford, Maine,  April 25

Steve Carpenter, the coordinator of the Seeds of Hope Career Resource Center, says that his organization is addressing a vital need in Biddeford– helping the unemployed find work again.


Episcopal nonprofit El Buen celebrates 25 years of service

Austin American-Statesman, May 5

When it opened its doors in 1987 at a 6,000-square-foot space on West Mary Street, El Buen Samaritano relied on church bake sales to help pay the bills and the sweat equity of volunteers to get things done. Sometimes literally. One summer, the air conditioner blew out, making for furnacelike working conditions.


Comfort and compassion

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, April 29

They diagnose, heal, and provide medication to treat and prevent ailments. They offer social services to help those who are downtrodden get back on their feet. There is a general feeling of comfort and compassion given to area residents who visit – and everything is done free of charge.




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