We weren’t sure how the events of Covid19 or all the unemployment would affect either your giving or our Jubilee ministries. Happily, your donations have covered everything so far this year, and we’ve continued to do a lot with a low budget.
As Fall begins, we want to tell you some of what’s going on.
Emergency pandemic assistance in Mexico through Jubilee Circles— Lindsey in the San Cristobal Circle speaks of businesses closing and “For Rent” signs in houses. San Cristobal is economically dependent on tourism. No tourists, no economy. Then she adds:
“Thanks to JEM … the food donations we distributed to various families in May 2020 were able to help for a week or so, but the need is constant. If there is a possibility to continue helping these families, we know that it would be very, very much appreciated. We would prioritize those recent requests that we have received from families of the Doctors and Mid-Wife Organization (OMIECH) who have had a hard time accessing sufficient food, as well as other needs, as their main income has vanished because they have had to close the Mayan Medicine Museum due to the pandemic. We would also be able to help out those families of Huitepec Mountain (where we have built 2 mushroom houses and have given many workshops), and the women that Gloria works within Almalonga.”
Angelica, in the San Mateo Circle, has had to close her physician office for safety. She writes:
“We greatly appreciate that special relief fund for these difficult times. We have already bought more groceries and we have started to distribute them. There are many families that are currently suffering from covid 19. Unfortunately, entire families are becoming infected. In this town there is a high index of diabetic people and many of them did not keep the confinement for which several have already died. The vast majority are men who have left their women and children helpless.
There is great sorrow in our community for all who have passed away. But in the middle of all this we see the initiative of some non-governmental groups to be able to offer support and hope. Angeles, the lawyer who accompanied us to San Cristobal in our meeting of the board two years ago, has called these groups, among which is the Daniel Swanson Cultural Center to be able to provide accompaniment to those who are facing grief, illness or economic crisis. Centro Cultural has offered pantries, Mariana, Kary and I have offered emotional and spiritual support, others are in charge of looking for oxygen tanks, others are asking for donations of medicines since the treatments are very expensive, others are promoting sanitation because in this town people are categorically opposed to this because they believe that it is this sanitizer that kills and not the virus, etc.
Thank you because from there you are part of this force to help in this tragedy that we are living, even though you are also facing the same thing but in a different dimension. God bless you and keep safe.”
A recent $400 donation has been evenly divided between the Mexican Circles for their continuing emergency work. What’s so special is that the assistance is given to people with whom the Circles will have continuing relationships. Any special donations we receive marked for Mexican Relief will go fully to the Circles there.
A new initiative in Jubilee training—We’ve been unable to take a group to Mexico this year or to hold the weekend conference on Jubilee. But from those disappointments has emerged something quite wonderful. JEM now has a YouTube channel where we have begun posting videos that all three of the Jubilee Circles are making. These videos will soon be incorporated into webinars and classes. We are applying for a grant to move this initiative along.
We’ve dubbed this work the Jubilee School, because we expect it to meet a greatly needed work of education and training in Jubilee living. You’re likely aware that the biblical Jubilee has remained untouched by most faith communities. Given the four crises—pandemic, failing economy, systemic racism, climate change—we want to raise up Jubilee as a way of living that corrects the causes of these crises.
The effectiveness of a Jubilee School was tested this summer when we made a presentation to the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace in Pasadena and Los Angeles. Because the presentation was via Zoom, Angelica joined us from Mexico and was an extra boost of inspiration. Grace Dyrness of Urban Initiatives, who had invited us, wrote afterwards:
“Just a note to tell you how very, very appreciative everybody was for your presentation and for the presence and inspiration of Angelica! I myself was very inspired and grateful that they were so into it. The chat was amazing and stimulated people to talk and comment in a rich way. We have several very, very left wing people, some communists, etc. and they are often intolerant of presentations but on Friday everybody was tracking and so happy. … All in all, it way exceeded my expectations and I am so very grateful to you for your willingness to come and share.”
With this kind of response to the core of JEM’s ministry, we have no doubt that the Jubilee School will expand our educational ministry—training in ecology, economics, Bible, and spirituality. The School is being shaped bi-nationally and is already into various learning activities.
In addition to the grant which we hope to receive, your donations will assure that the Jubilee School makes a strong start this Fall. A fresh donation from you at this time will greatly help us. If you can commit to a regular monthly or quarterly donation, please do.
Lee Van Ham and John Michno for everyone in the Jubilee Circles