Choosing a Bank Is a Spiritual Practice
Why JEM is switching where we deposit your donations
Choosing a bank is one of the core choices we make for a new economy. Banking and finance take us to the heart of economic change, and to the heart of spiritual practice. One of Jesus’ most widely recognized sayings is that in economics, we must often choose between competing deities, God and Mammon. When JEM receives your donations we want you to know that your donation will get to work immediately financing aspects of a OneEarth Jubilee economy—even before we redistribute it for ministries in the Jubilee Circles.
In 2002, JEM arrived in San Diego and looked for a bank that served underserved neighborhoods. Wells Fargo was just a block away from the office. Convenient? Yes. But also disconnected from JEM’s mission. Instead, we went to Neighborhood National Bank, a community development financial institution whose charter requires that it serve low-wealth neighborhoods. That has worked well and was as closely aligned with a OneEarth Jubilee economy as we could get for our banking choice.
Recently, we have revisited local, mission-aligned banking. We were helped by Andy Loving, a financial advisor highly informed on local investing. He zoomed into the San Diego Jubilee Circle and told us about the Better Banking Options website, https://www.betterbankingoptions.com/. As we checked that site over time, we saw Self-Help Credit Union ranked first every time.
So who is Self-Help Credit Union? Their website says:
Our mission is creating and protecting ownership and economic opportunity for all, especially people of color, women, rural residents and low-wealth families and communities.
Self-Help Federal Credit Union was chartered in 2008 to build a network of branches that partner with working families and communities that have historically faced systemic barriers to financial inclusion. With over $2.1 billion in assets and serving more than 100,000 members in 38 branches – 22 in California, nine in Illinois, five in Washington, and two in Wisconsin, Self-Help Federal is one of the fastest-growing community development-designated financial institutions in the country.
The San Diego branch is located in the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the city, and less than two miles from the JEM office. We have gotten to know the branch manager and accounts manager personally. Once we could clarify one another’s missions, we shared mutual excitement about opening an account. And that’s where your donations are now deposited.
We urge you to visit the Better Banking Options website to see what banks in your area align best with your values and life purposes. Let your money talk for what you believe.
Nature as Ally in Our Heat Wave, Flooding, and All Ecological Crises
“Nature as Ally” is the theme for the next OneEarth Jubilee Forum, Saturday, August 5, 9 am PDT. You are welcome every month you can attend—always the first Saturday of the month. It’s a free hour on increasing our understanding of the crises we face and learning important steps of resilience amid current breakdowns.
To register send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and he will send you the link a few days ahead of time. Our guest will be Scott Klinger whose experiences include participating in negotiations between Indigenous peoples and corporations; being an Associate with Institute for Policy Studies; and working on responsible wealth.
The July Forum was on how corporations rule the world. Our guest, Steve Gehring, had a career as a corporate attorney. Here’s a teaser from that Forum. One way for corporations to be more responsible to the environment is with the ESG criteria—Environment, Social, Governance. An online definition puts it this way: “This means taking measures to lower pollution, CO2 output, and reduce waste. It also means having a diverse and inclusive workforce, at the entry-level and all the way up to the board of directors. ESG may be costly and time-consuming to undertake, but can also be rewarding into the future for those that carry it through.” Many Republicans now want to remove this standard even though many investors make investing decisions based on whether or not a corporation uses it. Also, Steve told us that one large corporation has tied the bonus of its CEO to how well the company’s environmental criteria are met.
“It’s a Gift from God”
That’s How Student Describes Yobel School (San Cristobal Circle)
My name is Faustino Velázquez Ordoñez, pastor of a Presbyterian congregation located in the community of Chenalho, Chiapas.
First, out of all the classes that our Brother in Christ, Pedro Robledo Ramírez, has given us, the teaching that he has instilled in me is discipline and integrity in the classes, respecting the schedules and subjects taught. With him you not only get to receive grades but also the formation of a servant of God, promoting biblical principles and values.
In matters of materials, thank you Jubilee Economics Ministries and Yobel for the blackboard, copies, tables, and books that have served us to be used in our academic training. Few biblical teachers share all these materials with their students and we are all very appreciative. Consequently, those copies, books, and knowledge that Brother Pedro has shared with us have been very helpful to me and to the training of my disciples in the congregation. Thank God, apart from the Bible, we have abundant materials to gain biblical knowledge and training, both personally and with the people I instruct.
Thank you Yobel and Brother Pedro for your love of teaching the Scriptures and your patience with us students who are beginning the study of the Holy Scriptures. What a gift from God to have someone ready and willing to share his knowledge and understanding of the Bible that Brother Pedro has received over the years!
Circles in Mexico Hurt by Decrease in Dollar Value vs Peso
The biggest takeaway from the Zoom gathering of all OneEarth Jubilee Circles on July 13 was expressed by David Delgado: “Communication between circles [reveals] so many activities and projects that we do not know about each other.”
Learning about the projects was a by-product of our conversation on how to use the $100 a donor sends each month for “special projects.” Though $100/month can never pay for all the wonderful suggestions, a suggestion from the San Cristobal Circle came to the top. It addresses the decrease in dollar value vs the peso. Consequently, JEM’s redistributions to the Circles each month have declined in value 15-20% in the past year. Each dollar the Circles receive is now worth only 16 or 17 pesos whereas a year ago it was worth 20. $100/month among three Circles doesn’t fully take care of the decline, but it helps.
To clarify, a “special project” is one not funded through regular donations from donors. This is important. Were JEM donors to designate their usual donations for a special project, JEM would not be able to function.
Two more special projects emerged.
- Angelica says $1500 is the estimate to replace the roof over the Dan Swanson Centro Cultural, a hub for many of the San Mateo ministries. Huge leaks have developed in a large tarp roof. It’s urgent this be replaced.
- Gloria proposed a project for deepening social networks to address feelings of isolation and depression because people feel powerless to make the changes needed to improve life. David Funkhouser will follow through on this with Gloria in order to define a strong proposal to submit to a foundation.
Finally, how about a Jubilee baby? Lindsey and Isai in San Cristobal look forward to the arrival of their first child by mid-August.
A Tidbit on Why Jubilee Sees Tree Planting as Ministry
Our OneEarth emphasis means we see ourselves as part of nature and creation. Not above them or apart from them. So loss of trees hurts our interdependence with creation. JEM continues to accept donations for anyone wishing to offset the costs to the air of their travel or energy use.
“Today, annual tree harvest vs. production on a worldwide scale shows that humans cut down approximately 15 billion trees a year and re-plant about 5 billion.” —from The Environmentor website.