DIOCESE OF OLYMPIA

5 Questions Episcopal Jubilee Dianne Aid

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

I have been involved with Jubilee Ministries since 1991, first as Coordinator of a Jubilee Ministry in the Diocese of Spokane. In 2003 our parish, St. Matthew/San Mateo, Auburn, in the Diocese of Olympia became a Jubilee Center. We set out to serve and partner with the growing immigrant community, mostly from Mexico. I have been blessed to be the coordinator of this work. What started as an afterschool program to assist children from non-English speaking families has become what the community has defined. Today we advocate for Comprehensive Immigration reform and have been leaders in The New Sanctuary Movement. We provide space and opportunities for indigenous immigrants from Mexico to reconnect with pre-conquest cultural heritage (currently with Mixecta and Purepecha communities). We are on the horizon of industrializing our parish hall kitchen to create opportunities for the development of micro businesses.

I served on The Jubilee Advisory Committee from 2009-2012, and currently, I am assisting Diocesan Jubilee Officer in the Diocese of Olympia.

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?

In the Diocese of Olympia I work with Economic Justice, this work really is inter-faith serving on the Program Committee of the Faith Action Network.

Episcopal Jubilee Luke Passage In my parish, I coordinate the Jubilee Center which in addition to what is described in the first answer provides ongoing support and safety planning for Spanish-speaking victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. I also serve as the catechist in my congregation.

I am currently president of The Episcopal Network for Economic Justice and have recently been appointed to the Executive Council Economic Justice Loan Fund Committee.

I am a professed Third Order Franciscan and approach life and ministry grounded in Franciscan principles.

To see more of the Diocese of Olympia'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?

The motto, "Not about us without us" has been a revelation. I live my life from a wheelchair (since 2001); this has brought some blessings because I became vulnerable. The communities which I set out to "help" from my place of white privilege have taken care of me. For whatever reason, or how I ventured down this path my days are spent among people who struggle to make ends meet (I myself am on a fixed income), who live in the shadow of possible family separation due to immigration status.

Episcopal Jubilee Power of CommunityThis on the surface seems bleak, but, what I have found is the power of community, the courage to march and testify for human rights, and most of all to be able to celebrate joys of life and live in the beauty of diversity.

Our entire congregation has engaged in advocacy, community, and celebration. We are at 50% immigrant head of household membership. There are no stepchildren, we together proclaim Jubilee.

4) What does advocacy mean to you?

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the oppressed free and proclaim the year of the Lord's favor... And all eyes were fixed on him.”

From Luke 4:18-20

Advocacy requires moving beyond our comfort zones, hear stories, walk with oppressed and marginalized communities who fall victim to corporate greed, and step out of the way so "the other’s" voice is heard.

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

Every day, cada dia, in the streets, fields, gathering around the table, in the dances.Episcopal Jubilee Where Is Jesus

Finally, at night the comforting words of Compline put it all in perspective. God bids me rest and approach the new day with openness and expectation.

Dianne Aid, TSSF, is a Third Order Franciscan and an assisting Diocesan Jubilee Officer in the Diocese of Olympia.

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 involved with Jubilee Ministries since 1991, first as Coordinator of a Jubilee Ministry in the Diocese of Spokane. In 2003 our parish, St. Matthew/San

 “… for I was hungry and you gave me food” Matthew 25:35 (NRSV)

Bounded on the west by the waters of Puget Sound and on the east by the Cascade Mountain range, the terrain of King County, Washington was shaped by glaciers that deposited fertile soil and carved lush river valleys. Warmed and watered by currents of the Pacific Ocean, the area’s native vegetation — salal, berries, nettles, fiddleheads, hazelnuts — sustained generations with natural abundance.

Today, King County enjoys a new kind of abundance. Home to tech companies like Amazon in Seattle and Microsoft in Redmond, the county is attracting a huge influx of wealth and investment, and is currently experiencing the second-fastest rate of growth of all counties in the U.S.

But in the midst of the county’s natural and financial plenty, there’s scarcity.

Here, the number of people experiencing hunger remains higher than pre-recession levels: Approximately 305,000 children in the state of Washington live in food insecure households, and 19.5% of families with children experience food insecurity. This means that in about one of five families, parents go hungry so their children can be fed — and sometimes, everyone goes hungry.

And in those places where the county’s poor can afford to eat, their options for healthy food choices are limited. Recently, the USDA identified 17 “food deserts” in King County, “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.” These are areas where 20% of the people earn below the poverty line and 33% live more than a mile from a supermarket. In place of markets where fresh, nutritious food is offered, the landscape of these food deserts is dotted with convenience stores and fast food outlets. The USDA concludes, “The lack of access (to fresh foods) contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.”

Jesus charges his disciples to feed his sheep. That’s our mandate. But how do we do this in King County, where the paradoxical epidemic of hunger and obesity is immense?

One answer lies in connecting the financial and natural resources God has planted here.

Holy Cross Episcopal Church sits in one of the wealthiest census tracts in the county, in the hills of Redmond, which is also home to Microsoft’s corporate headquarters. The growing congregation includes many parishioners who have relocated to the Seattle area, recruited by the local technology boom. And its rector drives a tractor.

Frederick Buechner says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  Holy Cross rector Fr. Jim Eichner can interpret this quite literally. Raised on a farm in Wisconsin, Jim brought to Holy Cross his passion for creation stewardship. Fr. Jim’s “deep gladness” lies in cultivating the earth — sowing and growing — and directly meets the world’s deep hunger in King County. Jim drove his tractor into the heart of the county’s hunger epidemic, and brought his congregation with him.

Holy Cross’s Food Bank Farm ministry began in 2011. Twelve volunteers from the congregation worked in partnership with Seattle’s inner city New Hope Missionary Baptist Church’s Clean Greens ministry, growing 3,750 pounds of food, for 5,000 servings valued at $5,625. That 2011 harvest was sold inexpensively at farm stands in Seattle’s urban food deserts, distributed via free boxes of produce to families in need, and donated to local food banks.

The Food Bank Farm ministry’s mission is “to end hunger in the Pacific Northwest by growing fresh produce for area food banks,” and its ambitious goal is to raise a million pounds of nutritious fresh produce for area food banks by 2021. They’re well on their way.

The congregation now cultivates an eight-acre tract in King County’s Snoqualmie River Valley, and the work has grown beyond just Holy Cross. Other congregations, organizations like the Scouts, even businesses that sponsor employee volunteer time off, such as retailer Nordstrom, have worked in the ministry’s fields. Many contributions come in via United Way and the Microsoft matching program.  In 2014, over 700 people harvested 111,000 pounds of produce, providing 457,760 servings valued at $167,160.

The 2015 planting begins the second week of Easter, with plans for sowing 30,000 squash seeds. By the final harvest in November, volunteers will log over 1,500 hours of work.

Can the congregation meet their lofty goal of ending hunger in the Pacific Northwest? It is Holy Cross’s corporate vocation, and there is a power at work within them that is able to accomplish far more than they can ask or imagine. Please support their ministry in prayer.

King County’s hunger rates parallel national averages — there are hungry people where you live. Even one hungry child is a community crisis, and we are all called to act. Maybe you won’t find a rector on a tractor in your community, but there are local, national and global organizations that can channel your gifts, talents and resources to help end hunger. That same power that is able to accomplish far more than you can ask or imagine is at work within you, too.

Almighty God, we thank you for making the earth fruitful, so that it might produce what is needed for life: Bless those who work in the fields; give us seasonable weather; and grant that we may all share the fruits of the earth, rejoicing in your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, Prayer for Agriculture)

This post was originally posted as a part of the Episcopal Public Policy Network's Lenten Series: Enagaging Poverty at Home and Around the World. This piece was written by Elizabeth Stewart Sinclair, a parishioner of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Redmond, WA.

 “… for I was hungry and you gave me food” Matthew 25:35 (NRSV) Bounded on the west by the waters of Puget Sound and on the east by the Cascade Mountain range, the terrain of King County, Washington was shaped by glaciers that deposited fertile

Jim Eichner, of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Redmond, Washington, sees his ministry as a vector for good—and with good reason: everyone affiliated with the Food Bank Farm comes away with a nice feeling and a contribution to the common good—from those who plant, to those who harvest, to those who consume the farm’s produce. Volunteers at the Food Bank Farm take the lead in raising, harvesting and donating the goods to local food banks, fulfilling Jesus’ command to feed the hungry.

By anyone’s standards, Food Bank Farm has been an astounding success. In 2011, the first year of the ministry, twelve volunteers harvested 3,750 pounds of produce—5,000 servings of fresh, healthy food—at a value of $5,625. As the ministry has grown, the scale has changed; by October 2014, midway through harvest, the ministry had hosted over 600 volunteers for more than 1,800 work hours. They had collected 100,000 pounds of produce (400,000 individual servings), at a value of $150,000. All of this has been done on a shoe-string budget: $6,000. This year’s squash harvest, two full semi-trucks, cost $150 in seeds.

The community has been immensely supportive. The squash harvest was accomplished by 275 local business employees spreading out across the land. Additionally, local farmers have donated wheelbarrows, portable toilets, and even their own crops for harvest by the Food Bank Farm. In 2013, a local Girl Scout troop planted pumpkin seeds in the spring and helped pick nearly a thousand pounds of ripe produce in September.

Next season, the church has aimed even higher, hoping to grow as much as 250,000 pounds of food. They will harvest from September through December.

Jim Eichner, of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Redmond, Washington, sees his ministry as a vector for good—and with good reason: everyone affiliated with the Food Bank Farm comes away with a nice feeling and a contribution to the common good—from