If we are ever tempted to think that small things have little impact, consider what has happened in 2020 because of a tiny, spikey microbe. JEM, a small nonprofit (with big ideas for a better world) has continued even though a third or more of nonprofits were silenced this year for lack of support. YOU, however, have kept Jubilee proclaiming a way—not back to normal—but onward to better alternatives. Not that we’ve not felt the pinch. In fact, we need a wonderful flurry of year-end donations to reach the $48,000 needed to fuel our multiple empowering, faith-based ministries.
As you consider your final donation to JEM for 2020, we want to share with you some of the ministries carried out during the year. Covid challenged us; called on us to be flexible. The challenges have strengthened the interdependence of our cross-border Circles as we ventured into some new territory.
Here are five examples that show a variety of impacts as our binational, cross-border partner-ship continues with the biblical Jubilee as our guide.
1-Emergency assistance amid Covid-19’s devastations.—Though extra financial assistance was limited, early on Lindsey reported from San Cristobal: “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.” Your contributions made possible some additional help in the summer. Of course, the need and opportunities persist.
Angelica reported from San Mateo that Angeles, a Jubilee colleague, led groups at the Circle’s Daniel Swanson Cultural Center. The groups provided “…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.”
2-Empowering women in Mexico.—The November episode of the Simpler OneEarth Living podcast tells of the critical, revolutionary work of women working with women to find their full power. The stories describe women gaining economic, political, civic, and relational power. These programs help women bravely pierce the patriarchy shaped by machismo which is so debilitating to them. Women are raising their voices in leadership in their communities and are bringing income to their families. All in all, they are claiming the full personhood to which God has called them. The changes our planet needs cannot proceed without women fully empowered.
3-The Jubilee Covenant.—The covenant gives specific actions to live Jubilee and shape how we live to align with creation instead of violating her. Find it on our OneEarth Jubilee website. We invite you to study it and make it a guide for your life choices in 2021. If you would, let us know that you’re working alongside us on covenanting for this kind of living. When Scott Klinger received the Jubilee Covenant through the July newsletter he responded: How thrilled I was to receive JEM’s new covenant. …There is such a void for pieces that ask us to look at our relationship with money. JEM’s covenant does this in such important ways—focusing on consumption, giving AND investment. Thank you for inviting people to divest from fossil fuels. It is a great entryway and one that fits with the other commitments. You can meet Scott by listening to our October podcast episode with him on maximizing justice over profits.
4-Solidarity Calls.—These calls are also new in 2020. Unable to travel to Mexico, we’ve developed this opportunity for people in the U.S. and Mexico to talk with one another. We commend to you this way of deepening connection in this time of so much disconnection. For one hour, people from the U.S. and people from one of the Mexico Circles are in conversation. Translation is provided. Questions can be asked back and forth, interests shared, and Jubilee projects described. It’s a treat!—an inspiration and learning experience. JEM economics advisor, Barry Shelley participated in one and said afterward: It was wonderful.
5-Education and training of leadership continues in the Dan Swanson Cultural Center (San Mateo) and the Yobel School (San Cristobal). In 2021, a Jubilee School (U.S.) will be added. All education for Jubilee has a clear aim: the parameters of creation are the context for Jubilee living; and creation provides the sacred awe which generates energy for action in accord with science and faith.
Especially significant is the new leadership of John Michno. John’s leadership in Jubilee has developed to where the JEM Board has asked him to be the Director of JEM January 1st as Lee Van Ham moves to areas of funding and education, but will no longer be Director.
Also, FYI, JEM has added a couple of ways to receive donations. You can donate on our OneEarth Jubilee website using a credit card. It’s convenient, though you should be aware that 5% of your donation will be withheld by banks for their fees. You can also donate stock. Just contact us and we’ll tell you how to proceed. And checks are ever wonderful!
We’ll respond to your donations at the end of 2020 with a gift. Simply by asking, we will send you a copy of The Liberating Birth of Jesus, a book by Lee Van Ham. It’s gotten strong reviews. The subtitle tells you more: A Birth Story Able to Reverse Our Planet’s Perils.
Know that whatever amount you are led to donate, JEM’s overhead is low. Your impact is high. The year has taught us yet again that tiny can be mighty.
Lee Van Ham and John Michno for everyone in the Jubilee Circles