Summer 2010

Called to Serve

More than 170 Episcopalians – including the Presiding Bishop, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson, several dozen Diocesan Jubilee Officers, representatives from dozens Jubilee Ministries and others interested in social service - gathered in Newark April 28-30 for "Called to Serve: The Episcopal Church Responds to Domestic Poverty."

The conference, which served as the national triennial gathering for Jubilee Ministries as well as a joint meeting with Episcopal Community Services in America and National Episcopal Health Ministries, was designed to explore the nature of domestic poverty and the church's role in addressing it.

"I know the work you do is work that on more than one occasion leads you to think you are doing it alone, you think no one knows you are doing it, and you wonder if everything you are doing is, in fact, worth doing," said the Rev. Christopher Johnson, Social and Economic Justice Officer - and Naitonal Jubilee Officer - of the Episcopal Church. "We're here to know and be reminded that while we labor, we do not labor alone and we do not labor in vain."

In this issue of Jubilate , we’ll focus primarily on the conference: the Presiding Bishop’s remarks; the premiere screening of the extraordinary documentary “Jubilee Park,” about one of our newest and most exciting Jubilee Ministries, in Dallas; the workshops and plenary session speakers and just what useful information we took away from them; and liturgical resources. Many thanks to Gill Keyworth, DJO for Texas; Becky Jones, DJO for Colorado; Evie Smith, DJO for Arizona; and Leslee Sandberg, DJO for Iowa, as well as Lynette Wilson, the writer who covered the conference for Episcopal News Service, for their reporting efforts.

Presiding Bishop calls for collaboration, solutions

"We’re here to do justice, and love mercy. We’re here to walk humbly with God and bring good news to the poor. That good news of justice and mercy looks like the ancient visions of the commonweal of God where everyone has enough to eat, no one goes thirsty or homeless, where all have access to meaningful employment and health care, where the wealthy and powerful do not exploit the weak, and where no one studies war any more," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told delegates to the Called to Serve conference in her opening address. "It includes the work of building community and caring for the earth, both of which are essential to the health of a spiritually rooted person, in right relationship with God and neighbor.This Church, with its partners both sacred and secular, is part of that mission of God’s to bring that holy dream to reality. Though the principles apply beyond these shores, this gathering is very specifically focused on building that reality within these United States. How can all the people of this nation participate in the abundance which is already here?"

Click here to read the full text of the Presiding Bishop's address.


Jubilee documentary chronicles a transformation

A new Episcopal Church documentary about the 12-year relationship that transformed both an affluent Dallas parish and a high-crime neighborhood that residents called "a war zone" debuted at the Called to Serve conference.

Produced by the Office of Communication of the Episcopal Church, "Jubilee" chronicles the transformational work at Jubilee Park in East Dallas through the Jubilee Park and Community Center, which provides an array of educational and social services to residents living below the poverty level. The film also highlights the transformational effect on the center's sponsoring parish, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.

Click here to read more about the making of the documentary.
Click here to watch the documentary.


Rural/Urban partnerships

Charles W. Fluharty, president and CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute, spoke at the conference on "Poverty, Place and Public Policy: Re-thinking the Rural/Urban Dialect," and opened a dialogue about the church's role – as an institution – in addressing domestic poverty.

"If I look at rural America today I would really argue that the church is one of the few anchor institutions that is left and I would argue in urban areas that is also the case," he said. "I would argue that if God's church could unite rural and urban poverty people together to move God's kingdom forward domestic policy would look different in the United States. The church could do that."

Many of the factors that influence poverty, rural and urban, are intrinsically the same, Fluharty said. Under the Obama administration, federal policy has shifted to a place-based model, meaning that policies and programs draw from the resources and strengths existing in those places rather than implementing a standard approach.

Take-away: You’ll find a lot of useful information on the institute's website, including state profiles, health care reform resources, and climate change data.


"The Measure of America"

Kristen Lewis, co-director of the Social Science Research Council's American Human Development Project, presented to Called to Serve conference-goers The Measure of America report, which provides a snapshot of Americans' well-being by state, congressional district, gender, race and ethnicity. The Index rankings of the 50 states and 436 congressional districts reveal huge disparities in the health, education, and living standards of different groups.

For example: A baby born in Washington, D.C. is almost two-and-a-half times more likely to die before age one than a baby born in Vermont. African American babies are more than twice as likely to die before age one than either white or Latino babies. Or this: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, children living in central cities are less likely to play outside than other children; in central cities, 48 percent of Latino children and 39 percent of African American children were kept inside because of parental perceptions of neighborhood danger. Inactivity is considered a major factor in obesity among 66 million young people.

The American Human Development Project’s mission is to stimulate fact-based debate about and political attention to human development issues in the United States and to empower people to hold elected officials accountable for progress on issues such as health, education and income.

Take-away: On the project’s Website – - you’ll find a variety of interactive tools, maps and data tables that can help quantify your town’s well-being in comparison to other areas. You may find it an invaluable tool when seeking hard data to include in presentations about the needs your ministry is filling in the community


From the "How-To" Files

How to develop viable income-generating enterprise that can sustain non-profits when gifts and grants fall short…How to build and maintain healthy boards over the long-term…How to engage congregations with the transformational “Just Faith” curriculum…how to develop a methods of fund-raising that are sustainable in today’s economically challenging environment.
The Called to Serve conference offered a number of practical workshops aimed at the needs of non-profit ministries. Click here for some take-aways from some of those workshops.


Being, having and doing enough

The final plenary session of Called to Serve was a light-hearted presentation by Wayne Muller, author, therapist and United Church of Christ minister.

Muller noted that compassionate people often are tired and bone-weary but have a constant urge to catch up. Our minds work so fast that our hearts cannot cope with the speed and diversity of the fast pace of life. We cannot stop long enough to let our hearts pay attention to what has broken us open.

“Is this how you envisaged your days, moving from holy encounter to holy encounter at the speed of light?” he asked. We need a thermostat that says “that is enough for today,” as there is a limit to the number of things we can do with our lives and heart. We need to stop and be still and listen to the will of God and that greater power who loves us and will point us gently forward. And in so doing we may be surprised at the path we are directed along.

For more information about Muller, click here. To read an except from his book, A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough, click here.


Jubilee datebook

June 20-23

Province VI Anti-Racism Training: Basic Workshop Plus Training of Trainers.
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 1020 24th Street, West Des Moines, IA



June 28-July 2

Union of Black Episcopalians 42nd Annual Meeting and Conference
Charleston, S.C.
Note: Conference will feature a multi-cultural heritage fest, reconciliation and domestic poverty forum, restorative justice dialogue.


August 6-8

Journey Into Peace: Creating a Culture of Non-Violence
St. John's Cathedral, Denver, CO
Note: A weekend-long conference on developing peace-making skills, jointly sponsored by Colorado Jubilee Ministry, Colorado Episcopal Peace Fellowship and St. John's Cathedral. One of the co-presenters will be the Rev. Steve Shanks, DJO for Alabama.


Jubilee in the News

Holy Food and Groceries,” a story on the Food Pantry at St. Gregory of Nyssa, a Jubilee Ministry in San Francisco, March 14 in Episcopal Life.

Seaman’s Church Institute embarks on novel study of piracy’s effects ,” a story on Seaman’s Church Institute, a Jubilee Ministry in New York City, April 16 in Episcopal Life.

Top Episcopal bishop gives blessing to urban programs, ” a story on the Presiding Bishop’s visit to some Connecticut Jubilee Ministries, April 16 in Connecticut Post.

Her goal: Improve lives of mentally ill ,” a story about Open Door Ministry at Episcopal Church of the Advent, a Jubilee Ministry in suburban Cincinnati, May 12 in

A Home for America’s Heroes,” a story about a house donated by Grace Episcopal Church, a Jubilee Ministry in Birmingham, Ala., May 10 on ABC 33/40 News.

To God, no person is illegal ,” an opinion piece by the Rev. Richard Witt, executive director of Rural and Migrant Ministry, a Jubilee Ministry in upstate New York, April 27 in Episcopal Life.



Rooted in Worship

A marvelous way to bring a newly-recognized Jubilee Ministry into the network is to have a commissioning rite, ideally as part of a congregation’s principal Sunday worship service. Below is a sample of such a service. Feel free to adapt as appropriate.

The Examination

Those to be commissioned gather in the midst of the assembly.

Presenters: As Representatives of N., we ask to be designated as a Jubilee Ministry.

Presider: Is N. (an Episcopal Congregation, ecumenical cluster with Episcopal presence, and/or) an agency with connections to the Episcopal Church?
Presenters: It is.

Presider: Is N. engaged in programs among and with poor and oppressed people wherever they are located?
Presenters: It is.

Presider: Is N. a witness to the abundance of God’s grace intended for all
Presenters: It is.

To the Officer(s) of the new Jubilee Ministry
Are you prepared to offer your gifts of human rights advocacy and human services programs to this ____________ community?
Officer(s) :I am. We are.

Presider: Are you willing to reflect theologically upon your learnings in
Officer(s): I am. We are.

Presider: Are you willing to demonstrate the operation of your programs
to others as models?
Officer(s): I am. We are.

Presider: Are you willing to act as a resource center for other Jubilee Ministry Centers?
Officer(s): I am. We are.

The Director of the new Jubilee Ministry continues with these words of Commitment:

Jesus proclaimed his mission by the reading of Isaiah’s promise to the exiles, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’” Here we (I) stand, a humble servants, seeking to bear witness to Jesus’ work of healing and redemption in a world overcome by injustice and abuse. In faithful response to Jesus witness we (I) commit the work of our ministry to be the work of Jubilee Ministry. We (I) pray for your partnership in upholding this vow as an expression of our shared commitment to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being. We (I) ask God’s blessings upon this ministry for the sake of those we are called to serve and for our sake as we make our offering.

or this

With God’s help, this ministry will show Christ to you and to the world. Through it we will strive to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before our God. We (I) ask your partnership in prayer and deed. We (I) ask God’s blessings upon our labors for the sake of those we have been called to serve.

In the name of God and of this community, I commission N. a Jubilee Ministry of the Episcopal Church, to be a holy ministry of compassion, presence and wisdom among us.


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