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Chris Johnson: July conference will equip DJOs to lead

December 13, 2010

DJOs, mark your 2011 calendars now for July 6-9, when we will again reconvene for time of education and service.


We haven’t yet determined just where we will meet – and if you would like to propose a venue, please contact me in the next couple of week –  but our intent is that the gathering will include a workday along with a couple of days of team-building and instruction, similar to what we did in March, 2009, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Cedar Rapids gathering marked an important first step in our long-term goal of building up and equipping a national team of Diocesan Jubilee Officers who are capable of being well-connected resources for their diocese, as well as servants of the larger church.


During this coming triennium, I am really focused on strategically directing the limited resources of this office toward the development of capacity among the DJOs. The more we can do to equip our DJOs to know and understand Jubilee – its theology, its philosophy, its practical workings – the more they will be able to help incarnate that at the local level, assisting their bishops in how to talk about and how to create networks dedicated to that work.


In the language of the church, the conversation has been one around subsidiarity – meaning, essentially, that work that can be done at the local level must be done at the local, not the corporate, level. Our challenge is to determine how we organize our resources on the corporate level to best equip our DJOs and those doing ministry at the local level. If I can help a DJO to be more confident and comfortable about promoting Jubilee Ministry, then he or she will be more comfortable having that discussion with colleagues; and when issues among Jubilee Ministries emerge at the diocesan level, that DJO will be more confident in helping them and making the network work for them.


Between now and July, there are some concrete steps I’d like to see DJOs taking:


First, please make sure the information you have about the Jubilee Ministries in your diocese is accurate. The best way to do that is to visit the ministries, and see if there are untold stories about those ministries that we need to be emphasizing. The more you know about your local ministries, and how they can work together, the better you will be able to represent their needs and interests to your colleagues when we gather.


Secondly, please consider this an invitation to begin a dialogue with your ministries and around the diocese about their needs and concerns. Listen for any important themes that may emerge. Do you hear certain desires or visions being expressed repeatedly? If so, this may inform the next round of grants. This year, for example, we solicited grant applications particularly having to do with community gardens and reading camps. Your conversations will help inform what we will solicit next year, and help shape how we present the work of Jubilee to the larger church.


We have much to do. May God continue to bless all of you in your ministry.



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