ADVOCACY PEACE AND JUSTICE

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering the process behind being designated a Jubilee Ministry in The Episcopal Church. The process, involving an application period, some discernment, and affirmation by the Executive Council, occurs two or three times each year, so it’s important to keep deadlines in mind.

Jubilee Episcopal Church LogoIn case you’re unfamiliar with the fantastic work of Jubilee Ministries, some background might be in order. This designation was created by the General Convention at New Orleans in 1982. The mandate of Jubilee Ministries, provided by 1982-A080, is to be 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.” The Act of Convention notes, that this kind of ministry is at the heart of the mission of the church.

As of fall 2016, we are a network of over 600 ministries across The Episcopal Church, ministering with one another, sharing best practices, advocating, and providing direct services and goods to the economically disadvantaged in our diverse contexts. Each year, we have budgeted funds for Jubilee Grants to ministries that have achieved this designation, helping to support and share the work of particularly effective work in poverty relief.

So how can your ministry join this network?

1. First, check to see if you already are part of the network. Our page at the Episcopal Asset Map provides a comprehensive listing of our Jubilee sites. While you’re there, you might consider connecting with local ministries that have already achieved the designation, find new ideas for your own ministries, and tell the world about your community’s faith and work.

2. Next, find out if your church or ministry meets the requirements. As set forth by General Convention and the Executive Council, Jubilee Ministries must meet certain qualifications for designation. These are as follows:

  • The mission and ministry must be an Episcopal congregation, Episcopal cluster or an ecumenical cluster with Episcopal presence, and/or an agency with connections to The Episcopal Church.
  • The mission and ministry must be involved among and with poor and oppressed people wherever they are located.
  • The mission and ministry must be rooted in worship.
  • The mission and ministry must include several programs, including at least one human rights advocacy program and one human service program.
  • Additionally, ministries must be willing to demonstrate their operation for models, maintain “how-to” files, act as a resource center for other ministries, and be subject to review.

3. So you qualify? Great! Time to contact your diocese’s Jubilee Officer. While not every diocese has an appointed Jubilee Officer, the ones that do can be found here. We try to keep this list updated at all times, but consider calling your diocesan offices directly if you aren’t sure if the listing is accurate. If your diocese does not have a Jubilee Officer listed, please contact our office at csikkema@episcopalchurch.org for help in the process. It’s important, as we’ll note, to keep apprised of deadlines and your Jubilee Officer can be a great help with that.

4. Fill out the Jubilee Ministry Designation Application here. It will take some time, but don’t worry. Once you hit submit on the final page, you’ll be emailed a copy of the application and a signature sheet that must be endorsed by people in the ministry, including your Jubilee Officer (if one is appointed) and your Bishop.

5. Remember a paragraph ago when I mentioned that there’s a deadline to keep in mind? The Executive Council, who meet two or three times each year, review, and ultimately designate Jubilee Ministries, require time for application translation and review. In order to find out the next deadline for applications, please contact the Jubilee Office at csikkema@episcopalchurch.org. Remember, in order to be eligible for Jubilee Grants, a ministry must be affirmed by the Executive Council before the application period starts.

6. Wait until Executive Council meets and deliberates.

Episcopal Jubilee Ministries Certificate

7. Receive notification from the Jubilee Office on the results of Executive Council. Should your application be approved, your ministry will receive an embossed certificate, signed by the President of the House of Deputies and the Presiding Bishop.

8. Start connecting! In the days following Executive Council, your ministry will be added to the Asset Map and to our files. You’ll be eligible for Jubilee Grants and will be connected with folks also doing the amazing ministries around the whole Episcopal Church!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering the process behind being designated a Jubilee Ministry in The Episcopal Church. The process, involving an application period, some discernment, and affirmation by the Executive Council, occurs two

Jubilee Ministries New Jersey Five Questions 

 

1) How long have you been affiliated with Jubilee Ministries, and in what capacity?

I have been blessed to have served Christ as Diocesan Jubilee Officer for almost six years, since my original appointment to this position in November 2010 by the Right Reverend George E. Councell, 11th Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey, and reappointment by the Right Reverend William H. Stokes, in 2013. BChristian Episcopal Advocacy Jubilee Ministryut even before these appointments, I was already affiliated with Jubilee Ministries as Outreach Chairperson at Trinity Cathedral, and through the parish nutrition and health ministries there, which share the common interests of addressing domestic poverty, and empowering the poor and oppressed. To me, all this work is at the heart of the Gospel, since: However, we serve the least of our brothers and sisters - we serve Christ (see Matthew 25:35-40).

 

2) What is/are your role(s) in your diocese? In your parish? In a ministry or ministries?

As Diocesan Jubilee Officer, I provide communication, facilitation, and leadership (both electronically and through site visits) to organizations and individuals interested in becoming Jubilee Ministry Sites. At present, there are 25 established sites in our diocese. Due to the fact that in our "Garden State," 1 in 8 people struggle with food insecurity, 90% of the established sites include various feeding programs. Last year there were more than 500,000 bags of food distributed across the Diocese.

Christian Episcopal Jubilee Prayer DisciplineI use my Jubilee budget to provide start-up grants for community gardens which not only produce food but serve as centers for teaching people about gardening and about nutrition to promote healthier living through healthier eating. I assist parishes in the set-up of food pantries by negotiating arrangements with New Jersey food banks, and I also assist in the organization of fundraisers targeting the alleviation of hunger, such as the Battle Against Hunger Bike Tour and the Soles for the Harvest 5K, Fun Run/Walk.

At Trinity Cathedral, I work in the support of multiple feeding programs: a bi-monthly Food Pantry, a weekly Friday Community Lunch, and the summer Farmers' Market by writing grants to fund their expanding work. In the interest of promoting better health, earlier this year, we received a grant to establish a safe walking trail on the Cathedral grounds that will introduce members of the parish and community to the benefits of exercise. In addition to parish volunteers, many community members have been recruited to work with us in these programs.

For a listing of all the Jubilee sites across the domestic dioceses of The Episcopal Church, please visit our page at the Episcopal Asset Map.

 

3) What’s one way you’ve been changed by your work alongside the economically disadvantaged?

Based on the definition of today's society, I have been economically Christian Poverty Episcopal Service disadvantaged most of my life. My own experience has inspired me to do more for my sisters and brothers, "the others," as they are so labeled. It has allowed me to understand the challenges of people on a journey filled with hurt and pain. It has made me more disciplined in prayer, not only for myself but for these brothers and sisters. It has driven me to follow Christ's teaching to meet the concrete and immediate needs of "the others" that society is neglecting. From my own experience, I know that economically disadvantaged people are loved by God as much as anybody else. God created all of us. When people hear this from someone who is trying to help them through a journey "she" has traveled herself, they "get it" because we are all walking in the same shoes.

 

4) What does advocacy mean to you?

I believe that advocacy is about teaching people Advocacy Christian Episcopal Jubilee Ministryhow to advocate for themselves. Education is key to advocacy, and education is a two-way street. Advocacy is not an aloof, top-down noblesse oblige, in which the privileged do something for the disadvantaged. It's all about relationship. To advocate for people, you must get to know them - to learn their own stories of their hurt and needs. If you don't really listen, you won't understand what their real problems are. If you are advocating for people who are hungry, you have to bring them into the conversation, and then feed them. Then, it's your turn to share what you know about the available resources. If need be, you go with them to show them where the office or hospital is, and how to cut through the red tape. You coach them in the skills that will enable them to advocate for themselves.

Experienced advocates also need to be available to assist well-meaning people who want to help, but don't know how to begin. Jubilee ministry fosters and expands the network of people who have learned how.

Advocacy is an important aspect of Jubilee Ministries. Check out our 5 Questions post with Ms. Vicky Partin, Diocesan Jubilee Officer in the Diocese of Atlanta, to see how advocacy looks similar and different across the Church.

 

5) Where in your diocese (or parish, or ministry) have you seen Jesus?

People in outreach ministries often say, "If you love your neighbor as yourself, then you will see the face of Jesus in the people you help." But we should be asking, "Will the people who come for help see the face of Jesus in us?"

I see the face of Jesus in

...people for whom the command to love God and neighbor has become so habitual that they are self-forgetting - for whom feeding the hungry is so spontaneous that they don't give it or their role in it a second thought;

Christian Episcopal Jubilee Farmer's Market Poverty

...in someone who knows their child was killed needlessly and can still say, 'I forgive';

...in women and children who have trouble making ends meet but know they will be okay because God will provide;

...in someone who opens the door for you or who says "Good morning!" and really means it.

...in someone who gives up his place in a long line to someone physically less able to withstand the wait.

Once you get "tuned in," you can see the face of Jesus every day, because there are a lot of good people. And you can only pray that they will see the face of Jesus in you!

 

Canon Clara Gregory is the Diocesan Jubilee Officer for the Diocese of New Jersey.

If you are interested in having your church or ministry designated a Jubilee Ministry, please contact Mr. Christopher Sikkema at 212-716-6055 or csikkema@episcopalchurch.org. The application to be designated a Jubilee Ministry can be found HERE.

    1) How long have you been affiliated with Jubilee Ministries, and in what capacity? I have been blessed to have served Christ as Diocesan Jubilee Officer for almost six years, since my original appointment to this position in November 2010 by