Celebrating 30 years of Jubilee Ministry

If Jubilee Ministry were a person, it probably would have started thinking about settling down, putting aside youthful excess, and planning for the future by now.

It was 30 years ago, at the Episcopal General Convention meeting in New Orleans, that delegates finally approved Resolution A080, which established Jubilee Ministry as “a ministry of joint discipleship in Christ with poor and oppressed people, wherever they are found,
to meet basic human needs and to build a just society,” concluding that this “is at the heart of the mission of the church.”

Since then, the General Convention has reaffirmed its commitment to Jubilee Ministry eight times, including at this past convention in Indianapolis in July. Resolution D094, adopted this year, resolves that Jubilee Ministry “be affirmed as a vital expression of the type of relational ministry that is being called forth from local congregations of the church today as they seek to reconcile all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”

Since the enabling legislation that created Jubilee Ministry and the network of Diocesan Jubilee Officers was adopted, more than 600 Jubilee Ministry centers have been identified.

But in the beginning, there were eight, affirmed by Executive Council in June, 1983:

Of these eight, five remain in one form or another, and they’re continuing to do the work of Jubilee.

In this issue of Jubilate, as we seek to celebrate 30 years of Jubilee Ministry, we’ll profile some of these original Jubilee Ministries. We’re also checking in with former National Jubilee Officers to share some of their favorite memories and their observations on how Jubilee Ministry has changed through the years.


Happy anniversary, Jubilee Ministry! May the next 30 be even more productive!

Bidding farewell, with gratitude

As I begin this article, I can only express my deep gratitude to each of you for the ministries you offer as an expression of your discipleship in Jesus. It has been a privilege for these past five years to be able to be a part of the developing evolution of Jubilee Ministry in the Episcopal Church, and our discovery of its implications for our common life together.

I am now taking my leave to return to Colorado, where I will continue to live into my Jubilee Ministry covenants. With gratitude, I thank you as colleagues for our partnerships in ministry.



Central Pennsylvania: St. Mark's strengthening its identity as a center of Jubilee Ministry

The development of Jubilee Ministry as the guiding concept of mission at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, in Lewistown, Pa., was the direct result of two significant circumstances.

In 1972, Hurricane Agnes brought massive flooding and destruction to the Lewistown area. Then, as a consequence of the flooding, one major industry shut down its operation altogether, and another was forced to dramatically reduce its work force. Additionally many homes in the downtown area were either severely damaged or destroyed. People in the area were left reeling, many were unemployed and others had lost all that they had.

The people of St. Mark’s joined with others in the community to try to do all they could to provide relief and support for those in greatest need.

Read more ... 


Colorado: St. Francis Center provides refuge for up to 800 of Denver's homeless every day

Today, the St. Francis Center in Denver is a long-established refuge for homeless men and women in Denver, providing a place where up to 800 individuals a day may come to shower, get a change of clothes, see a doctor, store their belongings, get their mail or simply find a place of warmth and safety during the daytime when they have nowhere else to go.

But in early 1983, such a place was still just a vision that the Rev. Bert Womack had. Womack, the now-retired Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Colorado, had founded the Pastoral Care Center, which served as an umbrella organization to several diocesan and community outreach agencies.

It was the Pastoral Care Center that was invited to become one of the first eight charter Jubilee Ministries in the Episcopal Church. Within in a year, the Pastoral Care Center had morphed into the St. Francis Center, a diocesan-sponsored day shelter for the homeless.

Read more ... 



Eastern Michigan: From low-income housing to Saginaw's first's women's health clinic, St. Paul's has a long history of social justice work

Even before the creation in 1983 of “Jubilee Center” designations, St.
Paul’s Church, Saginaw, Mich., was deeply involved in the work of Jubilee.

The parish had sponsored the development of two urban low-income residences totaling over 200 units, operated an extensive feeding program, including Sunday dinner, and opened its facilities to numerous community organizations. The Welfare Rights Committee met there, and Planned Parenthood opened a clinic there also, becoming the first women’s health clinic in the City of Saginaw.

So it was an easy “yes” to Bishop Coleman McGehee’s invitation to
The Rev. Bill Boli, rector, to apply for the Jubilee Center designation.

In the past 30 years, the specifics of mission and ministry have evolved, but the work of Jubilee remains central to St. Paul’s parish life.

Read more ...


North Carolina: Urban Ministries of Durham provides gamut of services to the poor, hungry and homeless

Urban Ministries of Durham has a long history in the downtown Durham community, and it’s intricately linked to Jubilee Ministry.

With leadership from area faith communities, including Episcopal churches, the Urban Ministries Center was founded in 1983 as a host site for area service organizations, including St. Philip’s Community Kitchen, a ministry to the hungry founded by St. Philip’s Episcopal Church of Durham.  The Durham Community Shelter for HOPE was next door.

In 2001, the Community Kitchen, the Shelter for HOPE, and the United Methodist Mission Society merged to form Urban Ministries of Durham. Today, the center runs a gamut of programs to meet the needs of the poor, the hungry and the homeless.

Read more ... 


Former National Jubilee Officers watched diverse ministries grow into cohesive network

Four people have served as National Jubilee Officer since Jubilee Ministry was born as a result of a resolution approved by the Episcopal General Convention in 1982. And while the ministry has changed dramatically over the intervening 30 years, some things have remained the same as ever.

Top of the list: The National Jubilee Officer’s immense pride at the range and depth of outreach efforts undertaken by the Episcopal church, and joy at the privilege of being able to see, first-hand, just what these ministries are accomplishing. That, along with a gnawing unease that what’s being done just isn’t enough.

In honor of Jubilee’s 30th anniversary, Jubilate tracked down some past National Jubilee Officers to ask them to recall their best and worst times in the job, and to chart the evolution of Jubilee Ministry. Here are their stories:

Read more ... 


Upcoming events of interest

Diocesan Jubilee Officer training event

Nov. 14-17

Koinonia Farm

Americus, GA


This is a time for DJOs from around the church to come together for a time of training in the basics of how to be an effective Jubilee Officer, how to promote Jubilee Ministry. how to engage in advocacy efforts, and to network with others and share good ideas and best practices.

Creating a church for all people

Nov. 29-Dec. 1

Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center

Lake Junaluska, N.C.


"Creating a Church for All People." The 2012 Multicultural Conference will explore the changing racial, ethnic and cultural demographics of our country that are moving towards a population that is majority racial-ethnic. In light of this fast-approaching demographic change, this conference will provide cultural competency training for clergy and laity, enhancing their ability to serve as leaders within their communities.

The Missional Challenge: A Province II Workshop in Two Parts

Nov. 29-Dec 1

Binghamton, NY

Part One: Cultivating Adaptive Leadership in a culture of uncertainty.

Part Two: Renewing Episcopal identity in a culture of uncertainty

Practical Peacebuilding: Skills and spiritual practices for conflict transformation

Jan. 9-12, 2013,

Desmond Tutu Center

New York, NY


Curriculum developed by General Theological Seminary and Emory University's Candler School of Theology

Jubilee Ministry in the News

Farmworkers fight for fair labor

Legislative Gazette, May 25


New Orleans camp brings together blind, at-risk children

The Times-Picayune, June 27


Lessons learned at St. Andrew's Children's Clinic

Episcopal News Service, June 28


Green Leaf Cafe's menu includes jobs

The Wichita Eagle, Aug. 20


Mount Vernon church holds day camp for farmworker children

Skagit Valley (Wash.) Herald, Aug. 27


Fill the fridge: Grace's Grocery at Grace's Episcopal Church, Liberty, Mo (video)

KSHB-TV, Sept. 5


Meanwhile, the rector at Grace, the Rev. Susan McCann, made news of her own...

Efforts to cap payday loan costs in Missouri (video)

KCTV, Sept. 6

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