December, 2010

Jubilee and Community Organizing: Easy as ABCD

By the Rev. Rebecca Jones, DJO of Colorado

Leaders from a collection of community and faith-based organizations in Waterloo, Iowa, gathered in November to ask themselves questions not often asked in this struggling city:

Questions like: What gifts do we have? What assets do we – as individuals and as a community – possess that we could build on? What’s our fondest vision of what our community is and can become?

It was a different way of looking at Waterloo, where often as not, the focus is on what’s lacking rather than what’s available, and the answers to the community’s problems typically come from outside rather than inside.

“I could have asked you to talk about your most nagging deficiencies,” said Mike Green, executive director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute in Denver, who facilitated the two-day conference in Waterloo, thanks to a grant from Jubilee Ministry. “We get a lot of messages about that. TV never tells me that anything good is happening in my life: my hair is the wrong color, I’m the wrong age, I need to be fixed. In some ways we’ve been conditioned to see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full.

Read the full story here.





From the "How-to" Files: Beans & Rice Ministry

By the Rev. Bill King, Trinity Episcopal Church, Clanton, Ala.

On Friday evening, September 17th, in Alabaster, Alabama, members of eight parishes gathered together for a beans and rice dinner and to celebrate what has come to be known as the "Beans and Rice" ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. The conversation was about the best practices of this exciting grass roots based food sharing ministry that is quickly spreading throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.

In the fall of 2006, a member of the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church in Clanton, Al. made a comment, "Trinity should be known for something other than just being another church in Clanton." A few days later, the rector was talking with his brother John King in Fayetteville, Arkansas who has served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in nearby Prairie Grove. John mentioned that his parish had been operating a "Beans and Rice" foood sharing ministry for 30 years and that once a month on a Saturday morning, uncooked beans and rice and sometimes other food items like peanut butter and canned vegetables were distributed to anyone in need with no questions asked. Out of those two conversations began the beans and rice ministry in Alabama.

By the summer of 2010, there were seven "Beans and Rice" parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama with one more beginning before the end of this September and another hoping to begin before the end of the year. It is estimated that this cluster of food sharing ministries will distribute over 40 tons of food in Alabama during the next 12 months.

Read more tips for setting up a beans and rice ministry here. 



A message from Chris Johnson: July conference will equip DJOs to lead

DJOs, mark your 2011 calendars now for July 6-9, when we will again reconvene for time of education and service.

We haven’t yet determined just where we will meet – and if you would like to propose a venue, please contact me in the next couple of week - but our intent is that the gathering will include a workday along with a couple of days of team-building and instruction, similar to what we did in March, 2009, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Cedar Rapids gathering marked an important first step in our long-term goal of building up and equipping a national team of Diocesan Jubilee Officers who are capable of being well-connected resources for their diocese, as well as servants of the larger church.

During this coming triennium, I am really focused on strategically directing the limited resources of this office toward the development of capacity among the DJOs. The more we can do to equip our DJOs to know and understand Jubilee – its theology, its philosophy, its practical workings - the more they will be able to help incarnate that at the local level, assisting their bishops in how to talk about and how to create networks dedicated to that work.


Read the rest of this column here



Focus on ministries: Harford Family House keeping homeless families together in Harford County, Maryland

To say that Jim and Tina Brooks never expected to be homeless is most definitely an understatement. For all of the years of their marriage, Jim’s job paid the bills. Tina stayed home with their children. You would notice Jim and Tina in a crowd only for their youthful appearance and three well-behaved children with various shades of red hair.

Then Jim’s work hours were cut. Then cut some more. Their debts, already a nagging issue, exploded.

The Brooks rapidly lost their footing and could no longer keep up with housing and food expenses. No friends or relatives could take in a family of five.


Read the rest of this story here



Focus on funding: United Thank Offering funds 69 grants totaling nearly $2.2 million in 2010

[Episcopal News Service] The application process for the 2011 United Thank Offering grants is now open and for the first time it is available online.

"This is the first year that United Thank Offering will operate an internet grant application process," explained Claudia Conner, UTO coordinator. "The purpose is to convert the application process from a 1950s model to 2010 technology. Online availability can eliminate or greatly reduce mailing and shipping costs, which sometimes were quite steep. It will also expedite the UTO board's application review process."

Click here to read about the new grant application process. 

In 2010, United Thank Offering received 120 grant applications, totaling $5.7 million in requests. Of those, 69 were funded, either fully or partially, for a total of almost $2.2 million in grants, including 43 domestic, 11 companion diocese and 15 international grants.

Click here to see a list of all the UTO grants that were funded in 2010.



Rooted in Worship: A rite for commissioning a new Diocesan Jubilee Officer

Accepting the call to become Diocesan Jubilee Officer means more than simply joining a committee or agreeing to do some paperwork and attend a few seminars. It is a promise to serve Christ faithfully in prayer and worship, to seek Christ in the midst of suffering, and to work for justice and peace. It is a major commitment, and it's worthy of being recognized by the larger church. 


Click here to see a sample rite for commissioning a new Diocesan Jubilee Officer in the context of a service of Holy Eucharist. All such commissioning services don't need to be identical, but this may give you some ideas for something you would find most appropriate in your own diocese. 


Focus on Volunteers: Laurie's Fund for Haiti's Children

By Burt Purrington

When the ancestors of today’s Haitian people were kidnapped from their West and Central African homelands and brought to “New World” plantations as slaves, they brought their traditional cultures and languages with them and, remarkably, much survives today: the lakou or extended family compound, strong economic roles for women in markets, cooperative work groups, village courts, and a love of proverbs.

Of the more than a thousand Haitian proverbs, the one probably best known to Americans is “Dèyè mòn gen mòn,” (Beyond the mountains are more mountains). This is the proverb from which the title of Tracy Kidder’s acclaimed and widely-read biography of anthropologist-physician Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains, was derived. This proverb refers to the common Haitian experience that even when you surmount one obstacle, another lies behind it. We have a similar proverb in our society, “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”

Read the full story about one Jubilee Ministry's experience in Haiti here



Mark your calendar: Coming events

Wintertalk 2011

Jan. 15-18, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Co-hosted by the Episcopal Church of Navajoland and the Diocese of the Rio Grande. Each diocese is invited to send participants, both elder/adult, young adult and youth. We particularly encourage anyone with community organizing and leadership experience to attend as we update progress on Domestic Poverty Alleviation work and follow up on the 2010 Oklahoma Consultation. Click here for information. 

Episcopal Urban Caucus Assembly

Feb. 23-26, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Click here for details as they become available. 

2011 Congress on Urban Ministry

March 1-4, Chicago, Illinois

Church and community leaders involved in what it means to live in and care for the city will gather to collaborate and conspire toward a new vision for the city by tackling the issue of violence from a cultural perspective with context-driven theology and cutting-edge theory. Plenary speakers include: Walter Brueggemann, Shane Claiborne, James A. Forbes, Mindy Fullilove, Obrey Hendricks, Michael L. Pfleger, Peter Rollins, Renita Weems. Click here for details. 

Jubilee Ministry in the news

"Faith groups step up to aid homeless," Nov. 2, from the Sacramento Bee . Features Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento. 


"Seamen’s Institute to sell its building and leave Manhattan", Oct. 5, New York Times , Oct. 5, a piece of the Seamen's Institute's decision to leave its New York home after 176 years. 


"Recently homeless culinary student feels at home in the kitchen," Nov. 24, Peninsula Press , a feature on the CHEFS program at Episcopal Community Services in San Francisco. 


Students give Jubilee Kids a carnival day," Nov. 20, an article in the Hoboken Patch on the Hoboken, N.J. Jubilee Center. 


"Second Harvest give thanks to Leavenworth group," Nov. 23, Leavenworth, Kan., Times , an article recognizing the humanitarian work of the Rev. Allen Ohlstein, DJO for Kansas.


"Houston church brings spirituality, outreach to the homeless," Dec. 1, Episcopal News Service, a feature on Lord of the Streets, a Jubilee Ministry serving the homeless in Houston. 


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