The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Jubilee Ministry – A Primer

Jubilee window at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Lewistown, Pennsylvania

Jubilee window at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Lewistown, Pennsylvania

By Rev. Shirley Bowen, Executive Director/Chaplain
Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center, Biddeford

During last week’s Diocesan Convention a great question was asked from the floor, and from several individuals along the way, “What are the Jubilee Centers?”

Could you answer the question?

Did you know we have three in the Diocese of Maine?

Here is a brief primer to bring everyone up to speed on one of the many varieties of ministry happening in our state.

Jubilee Ministries are one of several ministries that fall under Domestic Poverty Initiatives, which are part of Justice and Advocacy Ministries of The Episcopal Church (TEC). Approved by General Convention in 1982 and establishing eight Jubilee Ministry sites in 1983, the Jubilee movement has now grown to more than 600 ministries.

Resolution A080, which established Jubilee Ministry, did so as “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,” concluding that this “is at the heart of the mission of the church.” (TEC website, “30 Years of Jubilee Ministry”).

Although funding for Jubilee ministries at the national level has declined, there is still the opportunity to receive small grants (Seeds of Hope received one in 2015) and to receive support and encouragement from TEC staff. The Jubilee Ministry of the Episcopal Church Facebook page helps our ministries share our stories, programs, and dreams for a more just nation.

Maine has three Jubilee sites: Trinity Jubilee Center in Lewiston, Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center in Biddeford, and St. Elizabeth’s Jubilee Center in Portland.

Trinity Jubilee Center’s founder and ministry partner Trinity Church donates its entire ground floor to TJC ministry serving a diverse underserved population by providing day shelter, hot meals, health clinic, food pantry, Resource center, and Refugee Services. TJC’s long-time benefactors are Christ Church in Exeter, New Hampshire and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Darien, Connecticut. Local Episcopal and Protestant churches, Bates College, St. Mary’s and CMMC hospitals all provide regular donations of food and funds. Program funding is provided by corporate, governmental, and charitable grants and individual gifts.

Seeds of Hope, also a Mission Enterprise Zone of TEC, partners with five southern Maine Episcopal congregations and three other community churches to serve its community’s unemployed/underemployed, variously-disabled residents, seniors on fixed incomes and recently incarcerated. We offer breakfast/lunch, free clothing, educational programs, warming and cooling center, free flu shots and health clinics, non-food essentials pantry, and a staffed Career Resource Center. Primary funding is from local businesses, city and federal government, service organizations, foundations and individuals.

St. Elizabeth’s is hosted by the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and supported by eight area Episcopal congregations. Offering non-food items that are not covered by food stamps yet are very costly to a family’s budget, free clothing, back to school back-packs and resource referrals, St. Elizabeth’s serves a very diverse clientele and receives additional outside funding through grants and gifts.

All three operate on the foundational principles of mercy and justice – meeting immediate need when possible and striving to help break barriers that contribute to poverty, isolation and despair. The common element in each of these ministries is the forging of community that is counter-cultural: the commitment to building relationships with those we serve so that our work is a shared partnership of mutual respect and dignity. Our work is along-side the poor, not to or for the poor. Our commitment of seeking and serving Christ in all people compels us to welcome all manner of stranger until there are no more strangers.

In her 2010 address to the “Called to Serve” Domestic Poverty Conference, the Presiding Bishop stated, “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, all have access to meaningful employment and health care, the wealthy and powerful do not exploit the weak, and no one studies war any more. 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.”  (TEC website, “Called to Serve”)

Maine’s Jubilee Ministry Centers were initiated as an outpouring of compassion of Episcopal parishes for the communities they serve. They are a positive reflection of the Baptismal Covenant which grounds our Church and calls us to action. We invite you to get to know us better. We would love to hear from you.

Each Jubilee ministry site is very different in the programs and services offered, basing its work on the needs of the surrounding community. I encourage you to check out the websites and other social media locations for each of these important efforts.

http://www.trinityjubileecenter.org/

https://www.facebook.com/trinityjubileecenter?fref=ts

http://www.seedsofhope4me.org/

https://www.facebook.com/Seeds-of-Hope-Neighborhood-Center-202612812602/

http://stlukesportland.org/pages/general/st-elizabeths 

If you would like to take a look at what Jubilee Centers are doing across the country, check out the links below:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/domestic-poverty-ministries

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/video/jubilee

Fall Back with Hospitality

by Lisa Meeder Turnbull
Diocesan Stewardship Consultant

Like all good things, the gift of “an extra hour” raises a fundamental question of stewardship: How will we spend it?

Many of us, of course, will take advantage of some extra sleep, or maybe indulge in staying up late on Saturday night. Inevitably, and no matter how well we plan our clock changes, there will be those who arrive early for morning services.

Why not make this an opportunity for moments of grace?

  • Recruit a few greeters to intentionally arrive early, prepared to spend time with early comers. This isn’t just for newcomers or recent members; long-time members and life-long friends enjoy unhurried conversation, too.
  • Invite! If you are one who arrives early for Altar Guild, Coffee Hour hosting, or Church School, invite the early comers to keep you company, pitch in, and be a part of things. You might find new gifts in your midst!
  • Create a small chapel space. Some early comers might appreciate an unexpected time of quiet, prayer, and reflection.
  • Plan into it. For the last month or so members of my congregation have been writing favorite hymns on a list posted to the bulletin board. We’ll use our “bonus time” for a half-hour hymn sing before the service begins.

What else might our congregations do with an extra hour? How might we fall back with hospitality? Share your thoughts in the comments below—let’s see how creative we can be with this gift of time!

Questions for Lisa about your church and stewardship? Please be in touch with her at mainestewards@yahoo.com.

Bishop Steve’s welcome to Convention: “This will be a good time.”

Reimagining wealth

In his sermon at Good Shepherd, Houlton, on Sunday Bishop Steve Lane preached on the rich young man who decides he can’t give up his wealth and status to follow Jesus. He had this, in part, to say:

The real issue here may be that we are dealing with very different definitions of wealth. For the rich man and for the disciples, material wealth and security is what it’s all about. And treating your neighbor fairly. For Jesus, wealth is being surrounded by one’s brothers and sisters secure in God’s love and willing to give fully of oneself for the sake of another. That’s what the kingdom of God is all about. That is the vision of true wealth Jesus is offering.

Read it all here.

The Episcopal Church “is waking up!”

General Convention round-up

On the last day Nina Pooley grabbed a photo op with the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

On the last day Nina Pooley grabbed a photo op with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

With Bishop Steve Lane and all deputies safely back in Maine, the 78th General Convention is history as well as historic.

House of Deputies News has a comprehensive round-up story titled “Deputies sprint to the finish” here. We offer a last few photos of Convention:

[Editor’s note: I promise to not divulge the identity of the deputy who snapped the photos of his or her fellow deputies at the airport as they slept and/or prayed for their red-eye flight home.] 

Ben  Shambaugh waiting for his 1 a.m. red-eye at Salt Lake City airport.

Ben Shambaugh waiting for his 1 a.m. red-eye at Salt Lake City airport.

The Diocese of West Tennessee's deputation sat directly across from the media box. They designated the late B.B. King and his guitar Lucille, their honorary 9th deputy. Pretty much love that.

The Diocese of West Tennessee’s deputation sat directly across from the media box. They designated the late B.B. King with his guitar Lucille, as their honorary 9th deputy. Pretty much love that.

Deputation chair Dick Rozene waiting for his 1 a.m. red-eye at Salt Lake City airport.

Deputation chair Dick Rozene waiting for his 1 a.m. red-eye at Salt Lake City airport.

Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry’s sermon at the closing GC Eucharist

Below is a video of the Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry’s sermon at the closing Eucharist of the 78th General Convention. The text is available here.

Also, below is a video of the Presiding Bishop reading a letter of congratulation sent to Bishop Curry from President Barack Obama. Here is a link on White House letterhead.

Mainers in Salt Lake City in 2m 58s

Day 8 at General Convention – the home stretch in sight

Bishops and deputies put in another long day as they moved through resolutions on a wide range of topics, both those to do with the structure and governance of the church and those looking to the Church’s role in the wider world. Convention will end no later than Friday, July 3, at 6:30 p.m. Deputies will head home on late evening flights and arrive home in Maine by noon on July 4. Please keep them in your prayers as they travel.

Your deputies grab a box supper before attending the Diocese of Utah event held at the Mormon Tabernacle.

Your deputies enjoy a box supper before attending the Diocese of Utah event held at the Mormon Tabernacle on Wednesday.

Structure of the Church
Both houses approved two resolutions that will change the structure of the church.
Learn more at House of Deputies News and Episcopal News Service

Prayerbook revision
Earlier today some waggish deputy tweeted that perhaps the 1979 Book of Common Prayer shouldn’t be called the “new” prayerbook anymore. Both houses approved a study process to look into a major prayerbook revision over the next triennium.
House of Deputies News has the story here.

Marriage equality
Late yesterday afternoon the House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops on two resolutions that will open two marriage liturgies to all couples beginning with Advent 1.
Here’s the story at Episcopal News Service

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Nina Pooley testifies on Thursday

2016-2018 Budget
Earlier today the House of Bishops concurred with the House of Deputies on the next triennial budget. The approved budget includes amendments to increase stewardship funding by $150,000 to be taken from the operations of the Development Office and the addition of $2.8 million for church planting by increasing the draw from the endowment by .5 percent.
More from House of Deputies News and Episcopal News Service

Divestment
Today the House of Bishops, as the first house to address resolutions related to the conflict in Israel/Palestine, rejected a resolution that called for divestment in corporations that do business in Israel.
Episcopal News Service has the story

The House of Bishop concurred with a resolutions that calls for the Episcopal Church, though not the Church Pension

Ben Shambaugh testifies on Thursday

Ben Shambaugh testifies on Thursday

Fund, to divestment in fossil fuels.
A story on that action may be found in the Episcopal News Service daily digest (second headline down) for July 2.

Alcohol policy
Episcopal News Service has a comprehensive story about the three resolutions relating to alcohol passed on Tuesday by both houses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deputy of the Day – Dick Rozene

by Dick Rozene, Deputation Chair
St. Ann’s, Windham

Even the deputation chair has to wear the hat.

Even the deputation chair has to wear the hat.

Today was one of our busiest days of the General Convention. We met as the House of Deputies to continue the discussion on the restructuring and streamlining of TEC operations; we met to hear and participate in the House of Deputies debate on marriage; and we met as a combined House of Deputies and Bishops to receive the operating budget for The Episcopal Church (TEC) over the next three years. The “temperature” in our house has been warm, sometimes edging on hot, but we are moving ahead on our tasks, albeit a bit more slowly than I might prefer.

As we have each day preceding, we began with Eucharist. The sermon was by the Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms, who is coming to Maine later this year to share her ministry of healing and empowerment among women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. The day was topped off by a celebration of Utah at the world famous Salt Lake City tabernacle.

As to the business of the day, Bishop Steve is the vice chair of the very important Joint Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance (PBF). Two bold initiatives have been proposed for the next three years: to 1) allocate $2,000,000 for racial injustice and 2) decrease the financial ask from TEC over the next triennium (from the present 19 % to 18% in 2016, to 16,5% in 2017, and 15% in 2018. After 2019, the church asking would be set at 15%). This will be debated on Thursday, July 2. Think what we could do with more money to spend on mission!

Earlier this week, the House of Bishops  approved two liturgies for trial use that will permit same-sex couples to be married in the Episcopal Church, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent of this year. Their action came just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can now be married in all 50 states. Today the House of Deputies concurred.

The two liturgies include a gender-neutral version of the current marriage service in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, as well as a version of a liturgy that was approved in 2012 for blessing same-sex unions that now also provides vows of marriage. These rites do not refer to “man and woman” or “husband and wife,” but instead use “these persons” or “the couple” to refer to the two people being married.

The House of Deputies also concurred with the House of Bishops on Resolution A036, which makes changes to the marriage canons to permit clergy to use either the current Prayer Book marriage rite or one of the trial use liturgies when performing marriages.

Sadly, this morning Deputy Brenda Hamilton had to leave early to be with her dad who suffered a stroke earlier in convention. At lunch today our deputation prayed together for her dad, Richard, Brenda and the family.

Heidi Shott and Dick Rozene at the Mormon Temple in downtown SLC.

Heidi Shott and Dick Rozene at the Mormon Temple in downtown SLC.

Although I’ve been through Salt Lake City before, this is my first time to enjoy this wonderful city. On my one free night, Canon Heidi Shott and I wandered from the Latter Day Saints complex to a modern shopping complex and past a variety of sights. A mixture of old and new, e.g., an operating tower clock originally powered by water in front of the first commercial building constructed in Salt Lake in 1868 and now a bank, a five-story sandstone building literally tucked in between an architecturally magnificent office building and a multi-story building under construction. Salt Lake is a “green” city with numerous LEED certified buildings.

As a first time deputy, I’ve a few observations from my time at the 78th General Convention.

  • I never thought I would go to GC –here I am witnessing and participating in the work of The Episcopal Church.
  • I’ve never taken part in a march, yet on Sunday I eagerly participated in the march against gun violence. Stories from gun violence survivors made an indelible impact and strengthened my resolve.
  • GC has been humbling –several of us have had active roles in the daily Eucharists. We’ve also struggled with resolutions with monumental impacts on all our people. I hope we go forward with grace.
  • GC has been celebratory –we’ve elected a new Presiding Bishop, the first African American to lead our church. We are also looking to restructure the church to respond to the needs of the 21st century. As deputies, we have renewed acquaintances and made new ones. Finally, we’ve met folks who love Maine.
  • GC has been a thankful experience – for our own deputies and our bishop; for meeting other diocesan treasurers and sharing stories and challenges, and to see a blend of the experienced deputies helping the 40% who are here for the first time, most of whom are younger than me.
  • What did we do before electronic balloting?

The challenge lies before us as Maine deputies is when we return with the energy we’ve accumulated over the last seven days. How will we to share it with the rest of our diocese? I have a feeling that our Presiding Bishop–Elect Michael Curry will help us do that.

As Lee Iaccoca used to say: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way!’