Update on the Jubilee Center
On August 7, we learned from Shelter Care that a government grant payment for the Jubilee Center was being held up as state and federal budgets were awaiting approval. Without this money, Shelter Care did not have the funds to pay its staff and made the difficult decision to close the center until funding was released. Emmanuel parishioners came forward in support of helping the Jubilee Center stay open during this time, and on August 9, the Vestry approved a $15,000 grant for Jubilee Center operating expenses.
Since then, we have learned that the funds have been released, which will ensure a continuation of services in the immediate future. Shelter Care also recently received a $110,000 grant from the Willow Springs group. This donation, donations made in response to the recent Shelter Care appeal letter, an additional $3,265 raised through an Emmanuel offering for the Jubilee Center, and additional donations from people who have reached out to the church and Shelter Care with support have all come at a much needed time. The Shelter Care and Emmanuel leadership are working closely on a long-term solution to ensure these services go on uninterrupted in the future.
Thank you once again for your incredible generosity and support for this ministry which is making a significant difference in people’s day-to-day lives.
At the beginning of the year, our Vestry began a discernment of key issues for our parish. In this process, it became clear that the church's relationship with Shelter Care Ministries was a significant part of our parish mission and identity and also something that needed further definition and evaluation. In the June 2014 survey and community visioning sessions, parishioners shared a high value for Shelter Care’s work and our involvement in supporting that work. However, there was also concern about Shelter Care’s financial position and a perceived lack of Emmanuel involvement and inclusion in its leadership.
In the letter to Emmanuel addressing the survey and visioning session feedback, I stated that a committee would meet to discuss how to make the relationship between the two organizations stronger. In April, I appointed a subcommittee from the Vestry, including Robert Parker, Tyler Hillman, Mark Baldwin, Philip James and myself, which met four times to discuss perceived critical issues as well as strengths and weaknesses in the current relationship between our organizations.
The committee discerned the following:
In summary, the sub-committee recognizes that Emmanuel Episcopal Church has a strong connection with the Jubilee Center: historically, as the beginning of our church outreach, and presently, as Jubilee Center members worship at Emmanuel and continue to be a marginalized, underserved, and vulnerable population to whom we are called to support.
It is our sense that, as a parish, we want the Jubilee Center ministry to be the best it can be and that our focus as a parish should be supporting this goal. Parishioners would still be encouraged to support Shelter Care. However, as a parish, the direction of our gifts and energies (time/talent/ treasure) will be towards supporting a strong Jubilee Center ministry.
Additionally, since Shelter Care Ministries has grown and expanded, our contribution will have more of an impact if focused on one area of SCM. It might also increase our generosity and commitment as a parish since a) many Jubilee Center members worship with us and b) the results of targeted efforts would be measurable and attainable. This is key to the parish’s mission, and it is living the Gospel in a tangible way. In keeping with the model of doing one or two things very well, we encourage discussion of how best to support the Jubilee Center as a part of SCM.
(Taken from the “Report from the Emmanuel Episcopal Church Vestry Sub-committee on Strengthening the Relationship between Emmanuel (EEC) and Shelter Care (SCM) July 15, 2015.” This report can be found with the Vestry reports on the kiosk in the Narthex).
The sub-committee shared their report with the Vestry and the Shelter Care Board, and it was well received by both groups. It is worth noting that these recommendations have not been finalized in a formal way, but they are informing a continued conversation that we are having with Shelter Care leadership.
The only change that has been officially made has been in regards to the committee’s recommendation to change the definition from "Shelter Care Ministries: An outreach of Emmanuel Episcopal Church" to "Shelter Care Ministries" for the sake of accuracy. Currently, Emmanuel and Shelter Care are two distinct 501(c)(3)s. For legal purposes, it is important that the naming in print and digital media reflect that we are separate organizations who partner in a common mission. Because articulating Emmanuel’s partnership with Shelter Care is important, and because of our focus with Jubilee Center, we are working with the Shelter Care board to explore a naming opportunity that represents Emmanuel’s SCM focus, such as “The Ziock Jubilee Center at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.”
The sub-committee’s report and recommendations obviously come at a time when there is transition at Shelter Care precipitated by the retirement of previous Executive Director, Lou Ness. The timing, however, has been positive as the transition brings with it new opportunities with new leadership and insights. I want to stress that our discerning the relationship between our organizations is not intended to separate ourselves from Shelter Care. Shelter Care has our full support in this time of transition, and in many ways our organizations are working more closely now than before. In these past few months, I have been working very closely with the new Interim Director, Sarah Parker Scanlon, and the new Shelter Care Board President, Beth Holmertz, as well as the Shelter Care Board and Emmanuel Vestry. We are also working closely with Episcopal Charities and Community Services. In a recent letter of support to Sarah Parker-Scanlon and Shelter Care, Georgianna Gleason, the Executive Director of Episcopal Charities, expressed their organization's willingness to support and help Shelter Care in whatever way possible, saying, “We have every confidence in you, your board, and the faithful members of Emmanuel Episcopal Church to navigate this transition.”
Additionally, Episcopal Charities has helped us connect with consulting firms who can bring a fresh set of eyes and a wealth of experience to help us navigate the next steps. They have also referred us to several third party consultants who might facilitate conversations between the Emmanuel and Shelter Care leadership to discern and bring definition to what we want our partnership to look like in the future.
The leadership of Shelter Care and Emmanuel recognize the significance and impact of our work together. Our goal is to bring greater definition and clarity to how we work together so that we can minister in the most effective, sustainable, and satisfying way. Most importantly, we want to do this so that we can bring our best level of engagement to serve, empower, and partner with the individuals who need these services.
As I said in my sermon on August 16, please know that we are doing everything that we can as we work through these next steps. It will be impossible to keep the congregation informed of every new update as it happens. But we will share information as often as we can, and we will solicit parishioner feedback along the way. Please be patient as we work to figure things out, and please keep the Emmanuel and Shelter Care leadership in your prayers, that God will guide us and direct our path.
The Rev. Andria Skornik
Tags: Shelter Care Ministries / Urban and Social Outreach