Update on JEM’s Mexico Trip
The upcoming Mexico trip is being shortened by 2 days, so now it is from Sunday, April 16, to Sunday, April 23. As you know from other travels, there are always more things to see and do than what you have time for. Such is the case as well with this trip. The shortened trip will also reduce the cost a bit.
Important! Please be alert of how much you bring to the Jubilee Circles in Mexico just by going. Every day, the needs these Circles engage can feel too big! Indeed, they are. Knowing one’s spiritual center is vital. Trusting always that the Holy and Wholly Presence of God is attending to the needs with you, helps compassion flow. And then, when people travel from afar to see what they do, the sense of connection mightily invigorates the Circles.
Do consider being part of this trip and let us know before February turns to March. For more information, contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Redistributions to Mexico Will Decline in 2023
Great things happening at oneEarth Jubilee Economics! Thanks for the update. I intend to help nourish your thirsty bank account! — Rick from San Diego sent these good words after reading the January newsletter.
The previous newsletter said that JEM’s bank balance has gotten thirsty. The above email came in response.
About 3 years ago, JEM finished the year with a bank balance of over $30,000. I was surprised that it had slowly grown to that amount. But along with my surprise came Dan Swanson’s voice (even though a heart attack took him in 2016), “Lee, JEM must not have that much money in the bank when people here in Mexico have such great needs.” I agree.
So in the past 3 years, redistributions have increased as the Circles identified new ministries and expanded existing ones. Each year JEM redistributed a little more than we took in, so gradually and cautiously that bank balance got to be more in line with Dan’s mode of operation.
As a result, redistributions to Mexico (San Mateo, San Cristobal, Tapachula) will need to decline by a total of $1000 per month. The exact amounts are agreed upon by the Circles and the Board, acting collaboratively. I give you this extra background so you have the current reality as you consider your own donations to JEM during 2023.
As Circle participants have already said, we will be grateful and work devotedly with whatever amounts are available. They’d hoped for a total of $72,000 for 2023. None of it is fluff. The Circles are equipped to work frugally with all of it if we come up with it, instead of the $54,000 or so we currently expect based on previous years.
Thank you, all, for the huge impact your donations have made to date. Thanks, too, for weighing thoughtfully, prayerfully what is right for you to give in the months ahead. Two donors have already indicated increases for this year.
Please help JEM find new donors and grant possibilities.
Profiles in the Jubilee Circles
Isai Robledo is one of the people you will meet if you travel with JEM to San Cristobal, Chiapas. Isai believes deeply in the alternatives proclaimed by Jubilee and is a devoted participant in the Jubilee Circle. He received a degree in anthropology. He has special interests in regenerative agriculture and local, alternative economy. Isai is also a skilled artist. For the second year in a row, he created a calendar—just beautiful with themes of justice and activism that is improving life for Indigenous people and others with poor incomes. In addition, Isai writes songs and sings them as he accompanies himself on guitar.
Mariana Velez brings her many gifts to the San Mateo Circle. She received a degree in law and is especially interested in teaching women their rights before the law. Mariana teaches at the Tecamachalco Technological University and is also an artist in the medium of making fine jewelry. Some years ago she accepted the invitation of her uncle, Dan Swanson, to go with a small group to Chiapas. The people she met left a big impact on her. Upon her return, she was dedicated to developing a community center for community ministry, now the Dan Swanson Cultural Center. She directs it. Mariana has also learned liberation theological approaches to the Bible and to service with others.
Kyle Holberg has been part of Jubilee for 20 years, always as a volunteer, and willing to pitch in wherever he is needed. For some time he handled donations, processing them and making bank deposits. When the need arose for him to manage the database, he was willing and keeps it current. A strong database is the lifeblood of an effective non-profit. Then, when the website needed him, he stepped in again. Kyle and Lee Van Ham met in 2002 through the mutual friendship of Ross and Gloria Kinsler, authors of the book from which Jubilee Economics Ministries began. He and Lorna moved from San Diego to McMinnville, Oregon, a few years ago. But there he continues to devote himself to maintaining the subscriber/donation database, formatting and posting blogs and newsletters to the OneEarth Jubilee website (he selects and adds the photos and graphics too), the layout of our newsletters sent monthly to JEM’s 450 subscribers through MailChimp, and whatever else he is called on to do.
Assumptions Can Make or Break Environmental Conversations
We began the February 4 OneEarth Jubilee Forum on the value of speaking confessionally—not confessing sins in a process of forgiveness, but acknowledging that we often speak of aspirations that we ourselves cannot live up to. Are they then worthless? Are we being hypocritical? No and not necessarily. For example, it is really important for us to continue speaking about how to live so that we do not exceed the planet’s resources. Since we can quickly feel alone and like what we’re doing matters little, talking cooperatively with those on the same quest can get us into new worlds of action and thinking. That’s a big deal!
And it isn’t hypocritical either as long as we don’t pretend to be doing what we aren’t. In the U.S. most of us wanting to save life on the planet also use more of Earth’s resources than what is our share. Here there’s frustration because many of us want to live within what Earth provides generously, but we are in a country shaped by systems that exceed our planet’s capacities. After July 27 this year, our ecological “bank account” for the year will be zero. For the 5 remaining months of 2023, we will be borrowing from the future.
When we speak of caring for creation, we must acknowledge that our lifestyle is beyond creation’s regenerating abilities (check your ecological footprint). That’s speaking confessionally. Fruitful conversations begin with the assumption that I will be speaking beyond what I am living. This was one of ten assumptions explored in the Jubilee Forum, the first Saturday in February. Join in the Forum conversations on March 4, won’t you? The topic will be how patriarchal culture is murdering Mother Earth and learning a masculinity that is counter-cultural and not patriarchal. Join free by sending an email to email@example.com.
OneEarth Jubilee Takes a Networking Leap Forward
The Circles of OneEarth Jubilee have been enlarging our networks in recent years, but relatively slowly. Every effort has been rewarding and extended the voices and work of our ministries.
In recent months conversations began with another possibility to significantly enlarge the communities with whom Jubilee Circles exchange information—they learn from us, we learn from them. In that vein JEM is applying to be part of the international network of United Religions Initiatives (URI). URI forms Cooperation Circles in countries everywhere. By being a Cooperation Circle, JEM gives up no identity, but does have more opportunity to share our message and activities even as we hear others share their message and activities with us.
OneEarth Jubilee’s application to URI still has fresh ink on it, so we’ll see what happens. But the networking possibilities surely stir excitement. Caring for our planet while caring for our communities and ourselves can, at times, get lonely. Networking helps. It creates solidarity among the many who also love Earth and, thus, love God, neighbors, and self.