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Celebrating 30 years of Jubilee Ministry

If Jubilee Ministry were a person, it probably would have started thinking about settling down, putting aside youthful excess, and planning for the future by now.

It was 30 years ago, at the Episcopal General Convention meeting in New Orleans, that delegates finally approved Resolution A080, which established Jubilee Ministry 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.”

Since then, the General Convention has reaffirmed its commitment to Jubilee Ministry eight times, including at this past convention in Indianapolis in July. Resolution D094, adopted this year, resolves that Jubilee Ministry “be affirmed as a vital expression of the type of relational ministry that is being called forth from local congregations of the church today as they seek to reconcile all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”

Since the enabling legislation that created Jubilee Ministry and the network of Diocesan Jubilee Officers was adopted, more than 600 Jubilee Ministry centers have been identified.

But in the beginning, there were eight, affirmed by Executive Council in June, 1983:
• St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Lewistown, Pa.
• The Episcopal Pastoral Center in Denver
• St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Saginaw, Mich.
• Urban Ministries of Durham, N.C.
• Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Miami
• East St. Louis Metropolitan Ministry in East St. Louis, Ill.
• Episcopal Ministries of Middle Tennessee/Urban and Regional Ministry in Nashville
• Urban Mission Training Program in Washington D.C.

Of these eight, five remain in one form or another, and they’re continuing to do the work of Jubilee.

In this issue of Jubilate, as we seek to celebrate 30 years of Jubilee Ministry, we’ll profile some of these original Jubilee Ministries. We’re also checking in with former National Jubilee Officers to share some of their favorite memories and their observations on how Jubilee Ministry has changed through the years.

Happy anniversary, Jubilee Ministry! May the next 30 years be even more productive!

JusticeandMercyME embodies the both/and approach to fighting domestic poverty in Maine

By Canon Heidi Shott
DJO, Diocese of Maine

In 2010, a loosely-organized group of laity and clergy from the Episcopal Diocese of Maine came together in response to the call of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. 2009 General Convention Resolution A155 for the church to “recognize the pressing challenges to those living in poverty and the working poor throughout this nation.”

The Rev. Heather Blais, right, with her mother the Rev. Rebecca Grant, a deacon at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Augusta, Maine.


At the same time, a priest-in-formation, Heather Blais, was settling on a project for her senior year at Bangor Theological Seminary. The group, which became known as the Domestic Poverty Working Group and included the Rev. Mary Lee Wile, the coordinator of the Deacon Formation Program; the Rev. Shirley Bowen, the executive director of Seeds of Hope Jubilee Center in Biddeford; and Canon Heidi Shott, Canon for Communications and Social Justice met with Heather and the blue-sky conversation began.

What quickly became evident is that in the body of Christ all people have different roles and gifts to share. While we are all called to serve, some are drawn to ministry and advocacy that works to eliminate the root causes of injustice and poverty. Justice is their primary focus. Others are gifted with meeting those in need where they are – directly ministering those in immediate need. Mercy is their calling. Fighting poverty in Maine and beyond requires both types of people and two sets of resources.

It became clear to the group that it would be helpful to have a web-based resource that connected those of all faith traditions to organizations that are already working to end domestic poverty here in Maine. As this idea evolved it became JusticeandMercyME. Blais had her senior project and a ready-made group of supporters.

Launched in March 2011, JusticeandMercyME is a web-based resource that seeks to encourage and empower people of all faith traditions to join in the battle to end domestic poverty here in Maine. In order to put an end to domestic poverty we need to be engaged in acts of mercy by meeting the needs of the here and now. Those that are battling hunger and homelessness in our community need food and shelter today. There are some amazing organizations, ministries, and communities finding innovative ways to meet the needs of the here and now in Maine and across the country.

At the same time, in order to put an end to domestic poverty we need to make systemic changes. We need to eradicate the roots of domestic poverty. In order to do that we need to engage in the work of justice. There are some amazing organizations, ministries, and communities finding equally innovative ways to make systemic changes in our society. Changes that could eradicate domestic poverty.

JusticeandMercyME, through both its web presence and its Facebook page, seeks to help connect the people of Maine with these great organizations, communities, and ministries. The site includes contact information and links for more information encompass the topics of hunger, homelessness, and everyday necessities at the state and national level.

According to Mary Lee Wile, “Deacons are often at the heart of the ministries that focus on mercy: Chick Carroll helped establish the Gathering Place, a homeless day shelter, in Brunswick. Dick Rasner (who will be ordained in June) is the volunteer director at St. Elizabeth’s Essentials Pantry in Portland. Many deacons are involved in feeding programs, some work with at-risk kids, some with the mentally ill, others engage in prison ministries where many of the incarcerated have dealt with poverty and will be released back into poverty. Over 30 deacons showed up in October to learn from DHHS how to help those among whom we minister access available programs.”

For nearly 20 years Trinity Jubilee Center has served daily meals to the people of the downtown Lewiston. Here Chad Jacobs prepares for another day.

Maine’s two Jubilee Centers, Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center in Biddeford and Trinity Jubilee Center in Lewiston have huge impact as community partners in their cities, both of which are described as small cities with big city problems.

JusticeandMercyME’s blog, which continues to be maintained by Blais, who is now Assistant Priest at St. Philip’s, Wiscasset, and Grace Church, Bath, serves to share other news, events, ministries, and organizations that address ending domestic poverty here in Maine. We believe that if we each “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” that we can fulfill the hope of ending domestic poverty.

Heidi Shott is Canon for Communications and Social Justice in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine.

Southwest Virginia parish finds its mission in the students of Anglican school in poor area of Belize

By Bill Lindsay

Over the past six years, clergy and parishioners of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lynchburg, VA, have fostered a caring relationship with Holy Cross Anglican School on Ambergris Caye in Belize, Central America.

Parishioners at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lynchburg, Va., have formed a caring relationship with Holy Cross Anglican School in Belize.

A number of intergenerational groups have spent time there to work and play with students at the school in San Mateo, one of the most impoverished areas of Belize. The area sits within the country’s number one tourism destination and yet it is considered one of the poorest and badly planned subdivisions in the entire country.

San Mateo lacks proper water service, adequate road infrastructure and sufficient energy distribution. Built within mangrove swamps, the garbage-laden landfill materials used to create islands and improper waste disposal poses a very serious health hazard. According to The San Pedro Sun News, a local newspaper, environmentalists believe the area may well be a “catastrophe in waiting.”

Holy Cross Anglican School was founded in 2006 to provide an education to the island’s poorest children. Before the school was founded, many of these children simply roamed the beaches, sold jewelry to tourists and had little hope of a brighter future. It was started with a patch near a lagoon with the help of donations and teams of volunteers. The school was built with 16 classrooms, a library, computer lab, dental clinic, and a cafeteria where a hot nutritious lunch is served – for some, the only regular food they receive. There is also a preschool.

Holy Cross School educates and feeds more than 425 children. Each visiting group is asked to bring a project fee to meet the needs of students whose families cannot afford the cost of school tuition. Last year, St. John’s was responsible for sending a total of $14,000 through project fees, donations, and matching grants. Of this total, $1,000 was from a Jubilee Diocesan Development Grant and this was matched by another $1,000 from the Holy Cross Foundation.

St. John’s interest in San Mateo began six years ago with Ann Vest, a member of this parish, in her work with Episcopal Relief and Development, together with a Lynchburg couple, Francis and Vernon Wilson. In subsequent years, intergenerational groups from St. John’s have made mission trips there, often more than one a year. Ann Vest recently took a third grandson there. These groups tutor students, and help with painting, building and property improvement.

Canturbury Club members at Lynchburg College have made “alternative Spring Break” trips to Holy Cross, tutoring students and working on poverty improvement projects.


Still another group that has adopted Holy Cross School as a mission destination is the Canterbury Club of Lynchburg College. Canterbury Clubs are ministries of the Episcopal Church at colleges throughout the United States. This club is a ministry of St. John’s, the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, and the Lynchburg Convocation of Episcopal Churches. Led by Faculty Advisor Nina Salmon, Assistant Professor of English and The Rev. Mark Furlow, a member of the Lynchburg College ministries team, they have made two alternative Spring Break trips, tutoring students and working on property improvement projects at the school. Students report that they are thrilled to be helping the children of Belize and they bring back knowledge to share with classmates and their parishes.

Despite working with some most at-risk children on the island, the school still ranks in the top third in primary school exams. Also, in a country where only 25 percent of children finish primary school, nearly 80 percent of Holy Cross students go on to high school. In Belize, the government pays only the teachers’ salaries and for textbooks – all other costs must be raised by the school. School officials report they could not do what they do for the children without the generous support of individuals and groups like St. John’s and the Lynchburg College Canterbury Club.

For more on Holy Cross Anglican School, visit their website www.holycrossbelize.org.

Bill Lindsay is DJO of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia.

Ministry reaches out to nursing home residents who feel church has forgotten them

Think of the Rev. Donna Hall as a kind of 21st century circuit riding preacher. There are some 50 nursing homes in the immediate vicinity of Palm Beach, Fla., and as chaplain of the North Palm Beach Deanery Nursing Home/Outreach to the Elderly ministry, Hall visits about 30 of them every month.

“I go every day, six days a week,” she said. “I always said God was calling me to work with those who thought the church had forgotten them. There’s no group of people who feel that more than those who are residents in facilities.”

The Rev. Donna Hall specialized in gerontology before she was called to the priesthood. That has served her well in her present ministry.

The ministry began in 1985 when the Rev. Jack Tucker recognized a need in northern Palm Beach County that wasn’t being met. The ministry grew quickly, and now includes all of Palm Beach and Martin counties. Hall has served as its director since her ordination in 2004.

The ministry, a longtime Jubilee Ministry, is funded by Episcopal churches in the area. The diocese of Southeast Florida recently was awarded a $1,000 diocesan development grant, which is going to help fund the nursing home ministry.

Nursing home residents present pastoral challenges

Hall, who has a bachelor’s degree in social work, specialized in gerontology before she was called to the priesthood. That has served her well in her present ministry. She acknowledges that working with nursing home residents can be a difficult challenge.

“If they’re just there short-term, churches are good about visiting them. But as time continues and as a person’s health deteriorates, church visitors and families have a harder time seeing someone they love going downhill,” Hall said. “It’s hard for me too, but it’s wonderful to be able to be with them and minister to them.”

Reaching dementia patients where they are

Hardest of all are the residents suffering from dementia, she said. “Because of my background, I make a special effort to go to Alzheimer’s units,” she said. “They so often are the ones that don’t receive any pastoral or spiritual care. I’ve preached while walking up and down or holding somebody’s hand. You adjust accordingly.”

She has some suggestions for others who minister to patients with dementia. “I try to enter where they’re at, as opposed to making them enter where I am,” she said. “If they’re in their childhood, then I just listen and let them talk to and let them resolve whatever’s going on. There’s no doubt in my mind I bring them comfort.”

The needs of nursing home residents are as varied as their individual circumstances, but Hall sees some commonalities, too. One of the chief complaints is pain when family members or church friends don’t visit them.

Not afraid to die – but afraid they want to

The other concerns dying. “It’s not that they’re afraid to die,” she said. “It’s that they want to. One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is ‘Why hasn’t the Lord taken me? I’m ready to go.’ I respond that the Lord is the Lord, He is with us and loves us, and even though the world may think we can’t do much, we’re still disciples of the Lord with our smiles, our prayers and our sharing. When they stop and think about it, they find somewhat of a purpose, even in the manner in which they’re existing now, and they can be at peace about it.”

Hall encourages other dioceses, parishes and ministries to consider being intentional in their ministry with the aged. It’s a ministry that doesn’t require ordination, though it does take a calling to serve the elderly.

For advice on how to start such a ministry, and pitfalls to avoid, contact Hall. She’s delighted to be a resource. Call her at 561-312-7382 or email her at jdlsb@bellsouth.net.

Long Island parishes embrace Asset-Based Community Development

Bob Cottrell, the junior warden at St. James Episcopal Church in Long Beach, N.Y., in the Diocese of Long Island, already had a vision of what his parish might do to better serve the needs of the recovery community, which is quite large in Long Beach. But it certainly never involved sponsoring mental health talks at the local library or hosting smoking cessation classes.

 

Then he attended the two-day Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) workshop presented by Jubilee Ministry last September for invited parishes in the diocese. And he came away with a new mindset about what is possible and what is desirable.

 

“It helped us clarify that we need to go out into the community, talk to the community, be with them instead of asking how we can bring people into the church. The library is a good place, because it’s a place where people may be more readily willing to go to than come to a church. Christ went out to be with the people, and he healed them. That clarified for us how we would approach things,” Cottrell said.

 Relationship, relationship, relationship

Diane DeBlasio, from Christ Church in Babylon, N.Y., had a similar epiphany at the ABCD workshop. “We learned to focus on what we do have, rather than what we don’t have as a community,” DeBlasio said. “We should focus on assets, and on relationship, relationship, relationship between the church and the community.”

Christ Church in Babylon, in the Diocese of Long Island.

 

Christ Church is a diverse community of about 125 families. When they thought about it, they discovered their church brought lots of assets that they could potentially offer up to the community: lots of classroom space, a kitchen, a handicapped-accessible building, a central location, a large lawn, a parish hall, a labyrinth. “And people realized they themselves are assets,” DeBlasio said. “Everybody has skills and gifts to offer, and they’re willing to offer those.”

 

Deacon Lorraine Cusick, Jubilee Officer for the Diocese of Long Island, helped organize the two-day event, one of six such workshops around the country in 2011 funded by Jubilee Ministry. The Rev. Chris Johnson, Social and Economic Justice Officer for the Episcopal Church, pinch-hit for an ailing Mike Green, the Denver-based consultant for ABCD in Action, who normally leads these workshops. (Click here to watch a video featuring Green, and here to read a Jubilate story about a workshop he led in Waterloo, Iowa, in 2010.)

 

“Our bishop has refocused everything,” Cusick said. “He has taken us from a perspective of maintenance to a perspective of mission and ministry. He has said to people, ‘You can’t be the church IN the community, you have to be the church OF the community. Get out in the community, find out what the assets are, then find out how we can help, how we can participate in the common issues.”

 40 parishes in Long Island targeted

Cusick met with diocesan staff and targeted 40 of the 144 parishes in the diocese, and asked them to send two representatives each. “It wasn’t really an invitation. It was more of a quasi-summons,” she said. “We settled on 40 because, space being what it was, we had a pick a number.”

 

Cusick also made it clear that she expected the laity, not the clergy, to attend. A second workshop, which she hopes to schedule later, will target clergy.

 

“Our objective was to introduce people to this concept,” she said. “This is not the way church has been in the past. Church has been too self-congratulatory, a mutual admiration society. And for many, too isolated as well. We have some parishes that identify themselves as drive-in churches. People drive there from other communities. That’s a problem for us.”

 

Cusick said she hoped that of the 40 parishes invited to participate, that perhaps two of them would take the idea and run with it. And that’s exactly what happened.

 

“Long Beach and Babylon really jumped on this,” she said. “These two churches have really taken off, and that was our hope: That something would catch fire, and somebody would say ‘This is doable.’”

 A new way of being church

At St. James, the experience hasn’t changed what the church is doing so much as it has changed the way it does them. “Instead of expecting people to come to us, now we know we need to go out to them, reach them where they are,” Cottrell said. He said the congregation is slowly learning about this new way of being church, and it will take time. But he’s optimistic.

 

At Christ Church, DeBlasio and parish leaders have been methodical about this. They took it back to the vestry, and from there held a “Town Hall meeting ” to discuss what the parishes priorities ought to be. They’ve identified specific goals – short-term and long-term – and identified what groups will work on which goals.

 

“We wanted to get the low-hanging fruit, find some things that would be easy wins, something tangible,” DeBlasio said. “We identified some things we’ve already started doing, and some things we hadn’t been doing but used to, like reactivating the prayer chain. We asked how we could improve our communications, our Facebook page, our web site. How about getting a sign out on the front lawn? We’re starting with these small projects.”

 

Parishioners at Christ Church identified their outdoor labyrinth as an asset they can leverage to serve the community.

DeBlasio says she doesn’t believe in having 40 churches make the same mistake. She hopes churches can instead learn from each other’s experiences with asset-based community development. That’s why she’s hoping to share Christ Church’s experiences with all who are interested. The church has compiled a blog site, updated as they go, about the process, what’s worked and what hasn’t. Read it here.

 

Johnson, who led the workshop for the Long Island congregations, praised their determination. “During this period of historic decline in membership, many of our congregations are easily seduced into believing that if they are just more friendly people will come, stay and join them,” he said. “But the current culture of seeker isn’t really interested in the needs of our cultural institutions; civic or religious. They are spiritually interested and they want their contributions to make a difference.”

 

Johnson said a focus on Asset-Based Community Development is timely for faith communities. “Our congregations offer ritual and theology capable of linking the inward thirst for spiritual formation with meaningful collaboration directed at strengthening local neighborhood communities,” he said. “The Diocese of Long Island’s experiences at Christ Church and St. James are exciting and most importantly, they are available to any congregation that seeks to make these dynamic links between their love for God and their love for neighbor.”

 

 

 

 

 

San Diego looking to become ‘Jubilee Diocese,’ inspire servant ministry in all parishes

 

By Pam Crooks, Diocesan Jubilee Officer


There was already a Spirit of Jubilee moving through the Diocese of San Diego before we received the $1,000 Diocesan grant and started planning our Jubilee workshop. Only it had another name – “Servant Ministry.”

The Diocese of San Diego recently went through an 18-month strategic planning process to develop a new Mission Plan and Goals for the next 3-5 years. Out of that process evolved a number of specific goals for Outreach and Advocacy. For example, under the heading of Outreach, the main goal reads, “As people who seek to meet Christ in the hearts and lives of our neighbors, every congregation will create a specific core servant ministry to the community beyond the church”; with one of the objectives being to, “Convene quarterly servant ministry summits to plan events, share progress and promote participation…”

From left, Mary Beth Hiller, the Rev. Simon Mainwaring and the Rev. Chris Johnson. When the printer failed to produce the Jubilee Ministry certificate, Chris just handed over his laptop with the electronic version.

Under the heading of Advocacy, the main goal reads, “(The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego) will be a community that promotes both peace, and a just society,” with the intent to “Establish an Advocacy Team (leadership team with the Bishop as principal spokesperson in the region)…to address important issues that have been identified by our Diocese, including poverty, international borders and the military…”

Jubilee, diocesan goals the same

Our Diocese includes 49 churches spread across a wide geographic region, reaching from the seashore to the inland deserts of Southern California and even Arizona. When we applied for a Diocesan Jubilee grant last fall, there were 11 Jubilee Ministry Centers in the Diocese. We proposed hosting a local Jubilee workshop and luncheon, led by the Bishop and Jubilee representatives from the national office and local Centers. We hoped to inspire more congregations to become Jubilee Centers. But we also wanted to encourage service ministry in all of our congregations. We felt that by lifting up the importance of service ministry, we would be acting as though we are a “Jubilee Diocese,” so that is what we described in our grant application.

We were thrilled to receive notification that our proposal was accepted and the grant would be awarded. When the big day arrived on Wednesday, April 18th, almost 40 people gathered at our newest Jubilee Ministry Center, the Episcopal Church Center in Ocean Beach, for Eucharist and a special homily given by Bishop James R. Mathes. That was followed by lunch and an interactive workshop, led by the Rev. Chris Johnson, Social and Economic Justice Officer of the Episcopal Church, head of Jubilee Ministry from the New York office.

Twelfth ministry recognized, more in the works

At the beginning of the workshop, Chris called up the Rev. Simon Mainwaring and Mary Beth Hiller of St. Andrew’s, Pacific Beach, to present them with an official certificate designating their church as a Jubilee Center —now the 12th in our Diocese. It may have been the first time an electronic certificate has been presented; since the printer at the ECC wasn’t working, Chris just used his laptop and presented the certificate that way! (A beautiful, framed certificate was later presented to their congregation by Pam Crooks, Diocesan Jubilee Officer at a regular church service.)

As the workshop part of the program began, Chris noted how closely our new Diocesan goals matched those of Jubilee Ministry. Later, representatives of several different San Diego Jubilee Centers offered reasons why they felt it was important to go through the process of applying and receiving the designation, why becoming recognized as a Jubilee Ministry Center matters. Their answers varied, but were all heartfelt. Simon, who along with his parishioners had just gone through the process, put it most succinctly: “It helped us see ourselves more clearly. It was almost a ‘sacramental’ act — seeing the Holy that is already there and recognizing the beloved gifts for service that we’ve been given.”

It’s all about servant ministry

This event was a wonderful opportunity for existing Centers to share with others already doing servant ministry in our Diocese what Jubilee is all about. But one unexpected benefit was the discovery of how closely aligned Jubilee Ministry is with so many of our new Diocesan goals, just approved at Convention this past February.

“Jubilee Ministry really speaks to all the tenets of our new Mission Plan, which is based on the Baptismal Covenant. The hope is to expand this work throughout our Diocese, to the point that we might even be thought of as a ‘Jubilee Diocese,’” explained Canon Howard Smith, Director of Development.

Bishop Mathes was especially pleased to have a representative from the national Church office to lead the workshop. “What a gift it was to have Chris Johnson here, educating the people of the Diocese on this important ministry!” he said.

The grant is already having an impact. At this writing there are currently three more churches now in the process of applying to become Jubilee Ministries!

Bus trip opens doors to encounters with angels

By Dianne Aid

 

Editor’s Note: Dianne Aid is in the process of collecting stories from the streets, fields and back roads. “My encounters with many have been my own redemption from seeing a world I thought I had to have, never could achieve, and lived with the low self esteem of scarcity for years and years.  Through some of the poorest in the world, I have found the abundance of life that God intends for us,” she says.

Part of my personal rule is to strive for one day a week during which I will not use my car.

Dianne Aid is director of a Jubilee Center in Auburn, Wash.

I move around in a power wheelchair, and my 10-year -old van is the only private automobile I can drive. I cannot afford to replace it, so I have to take care of it when things go wrong, as they did recently.

My car was in the shop, and I had just returned from almost a week in Washington D.C. the night before. I was pretty tired, but I needed to get to two meetings in Seattle from my home in Auburn, 30 miles away. “OK, I can do this,” I assured myself. “I can take the bus.” I called King County Metro to get my routes, making sure the bus stops were wheelchair accessible, and I was assured they were. Directions in hand, out the door I went.

My first stop was at “Spokane Street and Bus Way,” then I was to roll two blocks east and a block south to my meeting location, which was directly behind the bus stop where I would need to be to catch the buses to my next meeting.  Heading east – no sidewalks! Dangerous for anyone, but the traffic under the Spokane Street Bridge was rather light, so I could dodge it. But I was dumped out onto Airport Way, a busy road – especially at rush hour.  There were sidewalks, but no ramps to get up onto them. I was stuck in oncoming traffic!

Some construction workers who were working nearby came to the rescue. They stopped traffic while a “scout” looked for a place I could get up out of the traffic. He located a driveway about a block away. So, up I was, and no way to get down and on to my meeting. The construction workers called the Seattle Police Department to come to the rescue. I called friends who were in the meeting. They came and planned to escort me between two cars, but the construction workers would not allow it. While we were waiting for the police, a homeless man with a pit bull approached and wanted to be helpful. I know my wheelchair can make dogs anxious, and I certainly did not want to upset the pit bull!

The police showed up about 45 minutes later. The officer left on a scouting trip to find the best way for me to go. I was left under the watchful eye of Angel #1 – the man and his pit bull.  The officer returned and instructed me to come back down the driveway, follow his patrol car across the street, and back into oncoming traffic. Now the game plan was for me to follow the police car in my wheel chair, and off I went sailing southbound on Airport Way, and gracefully and fashionably late, arrived at my meeting to plan Seattle’s upcoming Immigration Reform Rally.

Bus trip two was uneventful and involved a transfer.  I now felt like an expert!

The long trip home began at 8:45 p.m. I had to roll about four blocks to the bus stop, which was in an area populated by many homeless folks.  I had seen them many times, sitting against walls, searching in dumpsters – part of the scene.  Now I was alone, my friends from the New Sanctuary Movement who followed me to the bus stop had left.  I had about 20 minutes to wait for the bus. The village came alive around me. A homeless man approached me and offered me a bus transfer so I would not have to pay for the bus trip. He was one very kind gentleman.

The bus came, and down Jackson Street we went . I was to catch a southbound bus in the “tunnels” under the streets of Seattle. Midway down Jackson, a group of men just coming from a community dinner boarded the bus, and a few overheard my conversation with the bus driver about how to get to the right side of the tracks in “the tunnels” to get the bus to Kent. The men chimed in, telling me exactly which way to go.  We arrive at the transfer stop. I was the last one off because the bus driver had to put the lift down.  I got off the bus, and three more angels were waiting to guide me to the bay in the tunnel to wait.

Several years back, our brother Mark MacDonald preached a sermon in which he used the image of seeing the world through Gospel eyes.  I saw the streets of Seattle with these Gospel eyes.  The man with the pit bull, the man who gave me the bus pass and the guides – all people with powerful ministries to the newcomer to the streets.

Dianne Aid is director of the Jubilee Center at St. Matthew/San Mateo Episcopal Church in Auburn, Wash., and she serves on the National Executive Advisory Committee of Jubilee Ministry.