A Shout-Out to Jubilee Circles
Let’s give a shout-out to the incredible people working in the Jubilee Circles! Throughout the pandemic, they have found ways to do vital ministry. Even when scheduled activities shut down, the Jubilee Circles in San Cristobal and San Mateo, Mexico, rendered humanitarian aid and spiritual solace. Then, as soon as health protocols allowed, a schedule of activities gradually began again, adjusting as necessary.
And a second shout-out goes to people in JEM’s wider circle—people like you who energize the work with your spirit-wrapped dollars. Some nonprofits had to cut back during the pandemic. But you made it possible to keep JEM going, and for the Circles in Mexico to do emergency relief for families devastated by death and loss of income. And now, because your donations held steady, ministries have resumed—revised and expanded.
Thank you all, not only for the checks in the mail and the online donations, but also the donations through donor-advised funds, an IRA payout, and a stock donation. Please feel with us how wonderful it is to come to the end of summer saying, “We have been able to continue ministries and begin new ones. People who are struggling are being helped.” You’ve helped make a way through the uncertainty that engulfed us and still hangs close.
Now to share what happened when all three Jubilee Circles (San Diego/U.S., Mateo, MX, and San Cristobal, MX) met last week—It was a virtual meeting, though we would have loved it if we could have gathered face-to-face. For three hours per day for three days, 20 of us shared stories of success and struggle in our multiple Jubilee ministries. We also planned together. Each Circle shared their vision for living Jubilee as we go further into this critical decade. Before we met, one participant said, “We really need this. Covid has isolated us and pulled apart so much of what we were doing. We need to renew the glue that links us so we can pull together.” And it happened! Wish you could have been with us!
Though you couldn’t be with us, we’d like to pass along to you just a smidgen of the sharing that informed us. The following examples may well do for you what the fuller experience did for us, namely, release new energies for actions infused by spiritual practice.
- Circles members in Mexico are eager to show donors to JEM how they translate the money you share into actions. They propose meeting you, a few at a time, on Zoom. They will introduce you to some of the people benefiting from the ministries of the Circles. You will learn a bit about their lives as they tell you about the difference you are making. If you’d like to participate in such a meeting, let us know. We’re eager to set it up.
- Mariana and Angelica in San Mateo, and Gloria in San Cristobal, told of their extensive work with women. They bring women together. As strong bonds form, the women learn their rights. The power of patriarchy is broken. Together they learn they can do far more than the jobs to which conventional culture has restricted them. Through training, the women create new avenues for income and economic self-reliance. Now for the punchline. These women want to meet over Zoom with some women in the U.S. to generate solidarity for justice for women. If you’d like to be part of this unusual interchange, let us know. We’ll set it up.
- Crises bring overwhelm and despair. People, feeling powerless, ask “What can we do?” The pandemic has killed and worn us out, democracy is being assaulted, immigrants flee violence and flood borders, racism permeates our systems. Indeed, what can we do? Life is threatened. OneEarth Jubilee is not ignoring this poignant question. Richard is spearheading our plan to roll out direct actions that all of us can do. It will be ready in English and Spanish by January 1, 2022—in time to contribute to the resolutions we make for a new year. It will be framed as spiritual practices for Jubilee living that focus us on meaningful change. We hope you’ll sign this pledge. The more who sign, the more we’ll feel we are not alone—but that we are walking stronger as we walk with others.
- All Circles are putting into action economic practices informed by creation’s resources. The Circles use various names: social economy, solidarity economy, political economy, Jubilee economy. But all emerge from work with the people as new ways are created, such as (1) savings and “banking” structures that facilitate loans too small for a bank to ever consider, (2) community markets where grown produce and created products can be sold, (3) small cooperative businesses. Workshops, trainings, theological teaching all facilitate these economic ways. Everything is to scale with creation and with the people involved.
- Each Circle is shaping a ministry to reverse the loss of trees in their region. Working with tree science, each Circle is planning tree plantings that meet the needs of their communities—from water savings to erosion control to fruit-bearing trees for food security.
We hope this sampling from the Encuentro inspires you. Your donations make this happen!! We can’t say it enough. Your donations help Jubilee Circles enlist people in local solutions that recognize the genius of Creation and cooperate with her.
The fall is here. And we enter it with new urgency and commitment. Please enter more deeply into Jubilee with us. It is a worldview of such powerful spirituality, and such genuine economic solutions for the wellbeing of all life. It is a way of living that reverses our ecological crises and all the crises where love falters and injustice dominates. Wrap whatever amount you send in love and prayer. Like water into wine, it will transform into saving lives and life.
Health, Truth, and the Spirit be with you,
Lee Van Ham and John Michno for everyone in the Jubilee Circles