Let’s Focus for a Month on Seeing the Sacred in All Things
Much of the work for change, from teaching to policy-making to street activism, is less than it could be because it overlooks the sacredness of all that is. Many of us in our learning, though schooled in many good skills, were not trained to heighten our ability to detect the Spirit’s powerful flows. Consider this. Earth science has discovered in the past 25 years that 80% or all known life on our planet is underground, and that the activity of those species has enormous impact in generating life. This discovery vastly changes how we think about soil and work with its powers. The same happens when we discover the flows of Spirit.
To regain emphasis on these vast powers of Spirit, the new Covenant of OneEarth Jubilee (revised for 2022) begins with practicing seeing the sacred active in all beings and processes. This makes it quite a different Covenant from the one we used in 2021. We need to join with the powers of the Spirit in order to be most effective in bringing change in our world. But there’s more.
Last year those who signed the Covenant never heard any further from JEM. This year we are developing a guide with resources. We will focus on one element for a period of weeks at a time so we give ourselves time to integrate its guidance deeper into our thinking and acting. So, we begin this February by focusing on the first element: Practicing Seeing the Sacred in All Beings. An extensive guide with resources is provided. Much of what is there you will already know. That’s not the point. It’s been said that the problem is less about knowing something than to think of it when we need it and to integrate into all our interactions and actions.
One more thing. Please let us know if decide to make good use of the Covenant this year. Last year after you told us, we ignored you. This year we will offer a Zoom meet-up some weeks into the year to share experiences. Covenants are stronger when they are shared; when they lead to actions with others. Here’s the link that takes you to the Covenant and Guide: https://oneearthjubilee.com/guide-to-covenant/
We look forward to hearing from you in this new Jubilee initiative.
JEM in Collaboration with Camino Alliance
A couple years ago JEM was connected to Camino Alliance through Jubilee friend, Grace Dyrness. Camino Alliance is a new nonprofit run by Noel Castellanos, who was a friend of Dan Swanson. So, when Grace suggested this possible collaboration there was a naturalness to it. Furthermore, Grace, being a friend of Noel, had already vetted JEM to him. The mission of Camino Alliance, quoted from their website:
Our nation has an immigration crisis that needs to be addressed with compassion and common sense beginning at its point of origin.
The mission of Camino Alliance is to invite individuals, churches and foundations to support grassroots ministries in Latin America. With our support they can more effectively address the spiritual, physical, economic and social factors that force children and families to flee their countries to escape extreme poverty and violence.
After talking further with Noel, JEM proceeded to complete the form necessary to be a partner with the Alliance. And now the bud has blossomed and has begun to produce fruit.
Late in 2021, $6000 was granted by Camino Alliance to the Jubilee Circles in Mexico. The San Mateo Jubilee Circle writes:
We already started the chicken project. We will give packages of 9 chickens and a rooster to 30 families with the resources we receive from Alianza del Camino. Next week the members of an organic chicken cooperative will come to give us an orientation for the best care of these. We will be giving reports of our progress in the different projects.
This grant has not replaced any financial commitments JEM has made through the generosity of donors. Rather, any grant of this nature that JEM is able to receive goes to special projects that regular JEM funding is not able to meet. For all that JEM’s basic funding supports, there are always additional opportunities that languish for lack of funding. For that reason, we seek grants and are grateful whenever we receive grant money. Getting grants always requires lots of hard work on applications. They are too unpredictable to use in the basic financing of operations and mission, but we happily use them for special projects that would otherwise not be done.
New Jubilee Ministry to Start in Tapachula, MX.
JEM Advisor, Rev. Edman Orel Lopez, moved from Toluca, MX, to Tapachula, MX, at the end of December 2021. Edman and Dan Swanson were tight friends, greatly respecting one another. Like many of Dan’s friends, Edman, continues to advance Jubilee whenever he can. In Toluca, where he pastored and was Dean of the Nicanor Gomez Seminary, he invited Lee Van Ham to give a mini-conference on Jubilee in the fall of 2018. Now, as his family has moved to Tapachula he writes:
I would like to create a JEM circle in this area to provide comprehensive support to migrants and churches in general, and of course any financial help would help a lot in this new stage.
2022 will be a year to explore with Edman about fulfilling this hope for Jubilee ministry in Tapachula, on the border with Guatemala. It is a flashpoint for migrants crossing into Mexico.
Recently, Edman participated in a delegation led by Grace Dyrness that was for the bishop and leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. They met with their counterparts in Guatemala to learn of the migrant situation firsthand and lead prayers and worship with the migrants as they together gave public witness to the support of Christians for migrants. About the delegation, Edman wrote:
On Friday the 21st of this month of January, in the afternoon, I had the blessing of meeting Sister Grace Dyrness, together with other Anglican sisters and brothers, both from Mexico and Guatemala, as well as some young people from CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights), I especially remember Andrew and Joshua. Together that same afternoon we were blessed to lead a united worship to encourage and comfort our migrant brothers and sisters, from whose cultural mosaic our Haitian brothers especially stood out. The exposition of the Word was in charge of the Bishop of Guatemala. I personally had the blessing of accompanying the songs with the guitar and at the end of the liturgy many came to pray for them. It was a pleasant experience, full of challenges, of reflection for everything that our migrants go through on their long journey.
Shout Out to YOU, 2021 Donors!
Through your donations, JEM increased redistributions to the Jubilee Circle in San Cristobal from $1000 to $1400, and in San Mateo from $1600 to $2000.
That means that each month $800 more supported these ministries than in 2020. Even so, at the end of 2021, JEM’s bank balance was similar to 2020. Thank you, donors!
Beyond the budget, JEM received grants that
- Built a new, professional kitchen in San Mateo where hundreds of children are now being fed weekly and a professional baking program has been launched. This was possible because the Gemmer Foundation granted JEM $3000.
- Late in the year $3000 went to each of the Jubilee Circles in San Mateo and San Cristobal. each through a $6000 grant from Camino Alliance—a nonprofit with whom JEM is now in partnership (see article above).
- At the end of the year, $950 went to San Cristobal through INfoPower. $950 went to SC
THAT’S $9,950 BEYOND THE BUDGETED REDISTRIBUTIONS. THIS IS AMAZING! These projects will be reported on in future newsletters.
A Great Idea from Ruth in the JEM Network
From Ruth Hazelton, Montana—Regarding the last newsletter, Ruth writes: “I’m going to send this link to the Jan. 15 issue of Glacier Presbytery newsletter. As mission advocate on cabinet, I am responsible for providing pieces for the ‘mission box’ twice monthly. I will write a short into, which will include Jubilee’s vision statement. This good news needs to be shared!”
Simple Living Works Takes JEM to a Wider Audience
by Jerry Iversen, Director of Simple Living Works
SimpleLivingWorks.org (SLW!) works to promote the mission and resources of JEM in several ways.
- Our current podcast has been highlighted in each SLW! monthly Blog/eNews. A link to the blog is emailed (a) to SLW! subscribers (5000+/- active); (b) to SLW! two monthly regional Social
Justice eNewsletters in San Luis Obispo County (SLO Co.) 1000+, and in Siouxland (Sioux City, IA, area) 1000+.
- All of our 300+ podcast episodes are offered — one at a time — in the Simpler Living Daily Nudge. A link is sent each week to 250+ subscribers. A subscription campaign is planned for the first half of 2022, inviting all those in #1 above to join for free. The Nudge is updated weekly and will contain a link to Lee’s future blogs—about one per week posted on the oneearthjubilee.com website under “Let’s Think and Act Jubilee.”
- Brief invitations and links to JEM’s newsletter and covenant are included in all of SLW! publications, including a SLW! Quarterly Digest, a listing with links of 100+ colleague organizations.
- Each week’s Daily Nudge link is posted on SLW! Facebook (FB) page. Each month’s blog is posted on 25 FB pages, 1 Twitter and 1 Linked-in account.
- When Lee’s blog stabilizes soon, I’ll feature it in my SLW! Blog, then include it routinely. When JEM’s Mexico-US virtual delegations firm-up, I’ll include them in the blog and regional eNewsletters. I do not normally promote single items or events.
SLW! publications are listed and linked on SimpleLivingWorks.org “Homepage,” windows #2 and #3.