[Diocese of Arizona] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori attended a gathering of the Arizona Jubilee Ministry Centers assembled at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Tucson on April 12. Episcopal Community Services and the Jubilee officer sponsored the gathering to network and showcase a variety of ministries for Jefferts Schori, Bishop Kirk Smith of Arizona, and the Rev. Christopher Johnson, program officer for social and economic justice. Each ministry appointed a representative to share with those in attendance the stories of their ministries.
Johnson began the evening with a brief history of Jubilee, and provided a framework on the role of Jubilee in networking and sharing ministry models throughout the diocese, the province and the church worldwide.
The event featured the ministries of All Saints at Safford and their feeding program at Bylas on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation for 15 years, and St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic in Nogales, providing volunteer professional medical services to more than 250 children from across the Mexican Border each month for the past 35 years.
Other ministries included Interfaith Cooperative Ministries of Phoenix, a collaboration of 73 faith partners providing food, clothing, medical services since 1983; Interfaith Community Services of Tucson, 58 member faith communities serving the poor from the campus of Christ the King Episcopal Church; The Episcopal Habitat Coalition, which has built and paid for more 50 homes in the greater Phoenix area; St. Phillip’s in-the-Hills, Tucson, providing an after-school music education for children living in poverty; Good Shepherd of the Hills, Cave Creek, providing a wide variety of ministries funded with more than $70,000 annually from the proceeds of their Gold Mine Thrift Store; and Imago Dei Middle School, which provides quality education for children in grades five through eight who are from low-income families in Tucson.
In the past 20 years, St. Andrew’s Food for Life Ministry has provided more than one million meals to persons living with HIV/Aids, as well as feeding their neighbors in Tuscon with meals prepared in St. Andrew’s kitchen. Following the presentations by the Jubilee Ministries, more than 60 guests were served a gourmet meal, prepared by Deacon Jefferson Bailey, the Feeding Ministry coordinator.
Jefferts Schori summed up what she had witnessed from those present: “. . . you are restoring dignity . . . you are claiming people as God’s beloved by what you are meeting in them. And I think you are receiving some of the same from them. You know what the gift is in participating in someone else’s life. That story that you are able to tell the wider world is transformative, and it invites other people to extend themselves into crossing borders into other people’s lives. Thanks be to God! Keep telling the stories. I’ve said to a couple of people that you are phenomenal evangelists by your ability to tell the stories about transformed lives, including your own. Thank you for what you are doing. Thank you for your witness, your presence, and your love for God’s people. God bless you all.”