1) How long have you been affiliated with Jubilee Ministries, and in what capacity?
Bridging AZ Furniture Bank was fortunate to have The Rev. Mark Van Wassenhove, a Bridging Charter Board member, introduced us to Carmen Guererro. We met with Carmen and received our Jubilee Ministry Certification September 12, 2006.
Bridging AZ satisfies a need in the Phoenix Metropolitan area that had been unrealized. It had always been up to agency case managers to procure beds and furniture for their clients once permanent housing was obtained.
We focus our attention and make comfort in the home a priority and our business. Our "niche" is that we provide these items to economically disadvantaged individuals and families through agency representatives (case workers).
Interested in being designated a Jubilee Ministry? Check out How to Become a Jubilee Ministry on what the process entails!
2) What is/are your role(s) in your diocese? In your parish? In a ministry or ministries?
As founders of Bridging AZ, my husband Jim and I became interested in service ministry upon our completion of EFM. Sometimes in our parish of St. Barnabas, we are referred to as "The couple who took that servant portion of EFM really, really seriously!"
To see more of the Diocese of Arizona's important work, check out their page on the Episcopal Asset Map. While you're there, search for innovative ministries, connect with leaders across the Church, and tell us about the ways the Spirit is at work in your neighborhood through a short survey.
3) What’s one way you’ve been changed by your work alongside the economically disadvantaged?
I have experienced change in my attitude by getting to know the issues our agency case managers face daily. Their knowledge has informed my ministry by helping me learn how critical it is to understand the importance of:
- Recognizing/addressing the signs of substance/alcohol abuse
- Healthy eating habits
These 4 items top the list of every case manager with whom I have spoken.
I think about people in terms of "What can I do, what should I do, what will I do?"
The Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness: Thank God for these boots on the ground here in our community who (among many other things) tirelessly strive to work with our legislature, making the lives of those with no voice heard.
Southwest Behavioral & Health Service: Thank God for the case managers who day after day work with the developmentally and physically disabled to ensure each and every life is lived to its fullest potential.
4) What does advocacy mean to you?
Advocacy is having the guts to get up in the morning and fight for unpopular issues that are not politically safe or sexy, relentlessly doing so in front of our elected officials who turn their ears and eyes to those issues that are popular, politically safe and sexy.
5) Where in your diocese (or parish, or ministry) have you seen Jesus?
When a parishioner once looked at Jim and I and said "Oh man, you guys look beat. Let me take you to lunch!" Thank you, Jesus.
When a donor told me she didn't want Goodwill to sell her kitchen table. She wanted to give it to Bridging Arizona, knowing we would find a family who needed it. This table had served her well, having used it every night as she studied to obtain her doctorate. She wanted it to go to a family in need as its job "wasn't finished yet!" Thank you, Jesus.
Donna Piscopo is the co-founder and co-director of Bridging AZ.
If you are interested in having your church or ministry designated a Jubilee Ministry, please contact Mr. Christopher Sikkema at 212-716-6055 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The application to be designated a Jubilee Ministry can be found HERE.