Jubilee Ministry Update for 2014
Our twelve Jubilee Parishes and one Jubilee Center are continuing their many ministries, touching local communities in ways which are sustaining and enriching lives. Feeding ministries, i.e. community meals and food banks, and housing support are the two most common forms of outreach that are being provided. Here are samplings of things that are happening around our diocese:
St. Stephens in Mt. Carmel hosts AA meetings weekly. They also cook a monthly meal, Saturday Supper, which is open to the community. Following the meal they have a worship service, which is attended by community members who come to the meal.
Trinity in Renovo has a Good Neighbor Center which provides food distribution to low income people each month. Most months 20 to 30 percent of the town’s population receives support; in December that number rises to close to 50 percent. They also have an Elder Share Program for low income qualifying seniors. They receive a monthly food box with healthy staples. Trinity also supports their local food bank, joining other local churches to distribute food monthly.
St. James in Lancaster has a week day breakfast program, some days serving up to 200 meals. A special feature coming up this winter will be to have local chefs periodically sharing warm and healthy meal options with all the folks who come to the breakfast program.
Prince of Peace in Gettysburg has been joining with a community-based initiative, Circles of Support. Circles of Support offers support to families who are trying very hard to become financially self-sufficient. Families are teamed up with parish and community volunteers to spend time investigating poverty on a personal and systematic level and to work to find practical and long term solutions to become self-sufficient. This year the church provided extra support to 10 families to help them to be able to celebrate Christmas and to defray the cost of the holidays.
St. Mark’s in Lewistown continues Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard food bank, environmental stewardship, monthly Breaking Bread Together community meal and Folks of a Seasoned Age outreach ministries. They have initiated a new ministry this fall, a Dementia Support Group, attended by parishioners and community members. The group is being led by a parish nurse and physician. Also this year, the annual St. Nicholas party was attended not only by parish children, but also an invitation was extended to the children of food bank recipients.
St. John’s in Lancaster continues their after school program, Eagle’s Nest, in partnership with their neighborhood school. They hosted a Christmas party and meal for students in December. Upcoming Martin Luther King Day is an annual event of music, food, arts and crafts for about 50 children from St. John’s and 5 city schools. Martha’s ministry continues to knit for three veteran’s centers and the church continues to host AA and NA groups 5 days a week.
Many more important outreach ministries continue around the diocese. Throughout the year I will continue to share good news from more parishes and to highlight ministries from these Jubilee Ministry Centers. If you would like information about becoming a Jubilee Parish, or if you would like to discuss ideas for outreach ministries in your community, please feel free to contact me at 717-836-4378.