Jubilee Ministries are those that have committed themselves to “be a ministry of joint discipleship in Christ with poor and oppressed people, wherever they are found, to meet basic human needs, and to build a just society.”
Practically speaking, these ministries provide direct service to the poor, including food, clothing, shelter, and medical care, and also advocate for them with the ultimate goal of eliminating suffering caused by poverty.
Whether in the form of Episcopal congregations, Episcopal clusters or ecumenical centers with an Episcopal presence, nearly 700 distinct Jubilee Ministries have been designated by diocesan bishops and affirmed by The Episcopal Church for their work to “preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
Jubilee Ministries share stories, ideas, best practices and successes with each other. They are also eligible for annual Jubilee Grants.
OUR JUBILEE CENTERS
All Saints’ Episcopal Church, an urban parish in the heart of midtown Atlanta, has a long history of serving social agencies in Atlanta through time, talent, and treasure. Current programs include: Covenant Community, stabilizing addicted men in transition, where alumni host an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless; Meals on Wheels, serving nutritional meals to seniors; Threads, providing clean, durable clothing and footwear to children referred by neighboring social service agencies; Refugee Ministries, serving 20 refugee families as they transition to living in the United States; and Midtown Assistance Center, providing assistance to the working poor.
Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry is a convocational-based ministry located in Columbus providing direct services and promoting social justice through advocating for basic services and education opportunities, building relationships and developing long-term plans toward self-sufficiency. Programs for youth include TAP, a week-long summer experience of learning tolerance through the arts in an interfaith and intercultural setting. The children and teen mentors create a Unity Piece to donate to a local public place. Infusion, for 15 high school students, is a servant leadership-based program, where the teens determine a social justice issue, research and implement strategies for service and positive change. Partnering with the eight convocational parishes, CVEM facilitates trainings in Safeguarding God’s Children, Asset-Based Community Development and Dismantling Racism.
Christ Church Jubilee Center, located in Norcross, has a vibrant Hispanic ministry which has implemented Path to Shine to assist Hispanic children with school, and a new weekend program Renovacion Juvenil for teens giving them communication tools, leadership skills and the ability to make good decisions for their future. The Thrift Shop, located in the church basement, provides gently used clothing, kitchenware and small home furnishings for a nominal fee. Partnerships include: Norcross Cooperative Ministry, a community cluster providing emergency assistance, ESOL, job seeking and consumer credit counseling; Rainbow Village, founded by Christ Church, provides transitional housing for 12 families for one to two years; Episcopal Relief and Development focusing on disaster preparedness for the community; and Common Ground, a street ministry in downtown Atlanta.
Emmaus House is a 50-year-old, place-based mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta in Peoplestown, a south-side neighborhood where 48% of the residents live below the poverty line. Programs provide year-round education and STE(A)M enrichment programs for children and youth, drop-in assistance and case management for adults seeking economic and family stability, and advocacy in partnership with neighbors in Peoplestown. The mission is to use a two-generation approach to help families achieve economic success and help children to increase academic achievement. Partnerships include Children’s Defense Fund, The Road Episcopal Service Corps, Literacy Action, D. H. Stanton Elementary School, Community Guilds, Inc. and Georgia State University.
The Friendship Center is an inclusive community that promotes the mental, physical and spiritual well-being of adults marginalized by mental health challenges and poverty. This ministry, located at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in the heart of Atlanta, offers programs twice weekly for 75 -100 participants each day. Major programs are Greenhouse and Gardening, Wellness and Recovery, and Recovery through the Arts and Food.
New American Pathways is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that provides resettlement and resource navigation services for approximately 4,000 refugees and other immigrants each year. The unique, comprehensive continuum service model supports these new Americans on their individual pathways from arrival through citizenship in Georgia, offering steady guidance and advocacy for each family as they pursue jobs, education, cultural integration, individual and female empowerment. The specially-designed programs provide proven pathways for new Americans to realize their full potential and dreams while becoming productive, contributing members of Georgia’s communities. Partnerships include their national affiliates, Episcopal Migration Ministries and Church World Service, as well as many local faith partners and diocesan parishes, area foundations and business employers.
Path To Shine® began in 2010 out of St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in Smyrna. Providing after-school mentoring and tutoring for elementary school children, the program provides a small group setting for 20 children or less, with no more than two children per adult volunteer. Volunteers are trained and committed to working with the same one or two children for the entire school year, allowing for healthy mentoring relationships to form. This is reflected with an attendance rate of more than 90 percent by the children. Path to Shine provides a flexible model that can be used in a variety of settings. It equips communities to run their own program by providing a comprehensive “how-to” handbook including legal forms, a five-hour in-person training and five years of weekly curriculum. Additional resources are provided in the form of annual grants for enrichment activities, new books for summer reading and at Christmas, and opportunities for exceptional students to attend an independent middle school through Fund the Gap. Currently, there are 12 active programs across the diocese, supporting about 150 children with more than 100 volunteers involved.
St. Bartholomew’s Jubilee Center has a long history of social justice ministries, including refugee resettlement, housing for people affected by HIV/AIDS, shelter for homeless families, packing and delivering meals to seniors, and providing the facility and volunteers for Toco Hills Community Alliance, which provides meals, bags of groceries, utilities and rent to five zip codes in northeast Atlanta. The newest projects are Embark Support for mentoring foster children; Adult Formation on theologies of activism and social witness; and Project New Georgia for registering people of color to vote.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located in downtown Atlanta, maintains a vibrant outreach with the theme “Share Your Heart. Share Your Hands. Share Your Voice.” Onsite ministries include: Crossroads Community Ministries and Sandwich Builds for homeless people; Courtland Street Mission, serving hot breakfasts and Bible study; I Have A Dream, offering mentoring and education support to college students the church has followed since the second grade; and Training and Counseling Center, a CPE ministry site with licensed therapists offering counseling to people on a sliding scale. Faithful Visitors pairs volunteers with foster children for a two-year commitment. Refugee Hospitality provides support for one family per year through New American Pathways. Standing Together offers group support for former Crossroads guests in their goal for self-sufficiency and long-term housing. The Mustard Seed Garden maintains 12 beds for organic foods prepared at Clyde’s Kitchen at Crossroads. Voices are shared through St. Luke’s commitment to providing space for various community convenings throughout the year, including the Affordable Housing Forum and St. Luke’s Advocacy Network, a nonpartisan group tracking issues pertaining to St. Luke’s outreach.
St. Margaret’s Community Outreach operates within St. Margaret’s Church to provide charity to the poor throughout Carroll County. Over its 25 years, alliances and partnerships have fostered a collaborative ministry to provide general assistance and employment leads; bridging out of poverty through Circles of West Georgia, Intensive Care and Follow Through, Homework Helper in low-wealth apartments; paper pantry for items not covered by food stamps and backpack snacks for nutritional weekend foods. Partners include Carrollton City Schools, Community Foundation of West Georgia, civic clubs and area congregations.
St. Thomas Episcopal Church in midtown Columbus has a long history of serving the greater community through its partnerships and connections in civic life. Wynnton Neighborhood Network, comprised of seven congregations, maintains an interfaith food pantry and utility assistance in the parish outreach center. St.Thomas and St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church co-host homeless families through Valley Interfaith Promise, and provide food, shelter and family support for a week. Path To Shine and Soccer in the Streets have empowered St. Thomas and the Boxwood neighborhood children to develop new relationships through tutoring and field trips as well as sponsoring four youth soccer teams. Other partners include: Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, an outreach arm of the Convocation; Circles of South Columbus, assisting families bridging out of poverty; and Episcopal Relief and Development. Children and youth are involved in all the parish outreach. St. Thomas engages studies and discussions around dismantling racism and participates in community events that promote racial harmony. Doors are opened for AA, Al-Anon and a community-based St. Thomas Day School.
Wonderful Days Preschool, sponsored by St. James Episcopal Church in Marietta, aims to transform the lives of at-risk children by providing non-English speaking, low-wealth preschoolers with the cognitive and emotional skills necessary to succeed in public school. Key facets include a bilingual, literacy-based curriculum, daily bus transportation and nutritious breakfast and lunch. The students acquire emergent math, science, reading, writing and listening skills. St. James’ English for Busy Moms is offered weekly to include literacy lessons, family library visits and community service speakers. Moms translate simple Spanish books into English and then read to their children in both languages.
Interested in becoming a Jubilee Center? Contact Vicky Partin, Diocesan Jubilee Officer at 706-575-2154 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information go to episcopalchurch.org/page/domestic-poverty-ministries.