Faith in Action: Social Action at St. John's
“The ultimate test of a moral society
is the kind of world it leaves its children”
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Social Action and Outreach at St. John's
St. John's has expanded the traditional concept of Outreach to include a special type of Outreach that we are calling Social Action Ministry (SAM). This ministry, with its focus on social justice, offers opportunities for all of us to engage Christ’s love with service to our community and a hurting world. SAM also provides a platform for us to carry out our Baptismal vows to “love our neighbor as ourselves...and...strive for justice and peace among all people”. [BCP, p 305]. It is our hope that through these diverse non-proﬁt ministries that need our hands-on volunteer work as well as ﬁnancial support, we can nourish our heart’s yearnings to make a difference in peoples’ lives.
St. John’s is called to encounter Christ in the world by extending His love in giving and service to others and seeks to engage parishioners as directly as possible with those who are served. In 2012, St. John’s was recognized by the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado as one of 29 Jubilee Ministries in the state because of a long history of outreach and servanthood. Currently, St. John’s outreach consists both of ministries that are run primarily by the parish and partnership support in giving and service to 10 non-profit agencies.
St John's also periodically holds donation drives and carries out special projects to benefit those in the community. Recent events have been a warm clothing drive for the homeless, a fleece scarf making event for the homeless, a children's book drive for children of low income families, and a reading camp for low income children, being planned for June 2013.
The St. John's Solar Project
On April 24, 2016, a grateful congregation celebrated the installation of new, energy-saving solar panels on St John’s campus while our Rector, The Rev Susan Springer - precariously tethered to the roof - gamely blessed the project. These high-efﬁciency panels will save the church approximately $100,000 over their lifetime, reduce our carbon footprint and help save the planet!
Many of us were so inspired by the mega-gathering on climate change in Paris and the Pope’s 2015 encyclical on ecology that we have experienced a whole new level of global consciousness. And, despite the President’s recent withdrawal of the United States from those Paris Accords, Boulder, along with hundreds of other American cities, will continue to honor these worldwide actions.
In their latest sobering “Fast Facts about Global Warming”, Interfaith Power and Light warns us that “atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least 800,000 years; that our food, water supplies and oceans are at risk; our forests and wetlands are overwhelmed; and 75% of the world’s coral reefs are threatened, all of which is primarily human-induced.”1 By installing solar power, St. John’s will signiﬁcantly reduce our carbon footprint by keeping hundreds of tons of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere every year.
Now, as we witness near-Biblical droughts and ﬂoods in the United States and watch violent instability abroad - with large areas of developing countries suffering crop failures and mass starvation due in large part to climate change - we have become ever more conscious of the interconnectedness of all life sharing this Earth, our common home. We know this is our time to act, and to “show in [our] lives what [we] profess in our faith”2, Climate change is a moral issue that is calling all of us as stewards of creation to learn, pray and act so that we can be an energy-saving role model for our own faith community and an inspiration to others for a cleaner, healthier world now and for future generations.
To learn details of the Planning and Financing of this solar project, click here.
1.Interfaith Power and Light: Fast Facts about Global Warming, 2017
2. BCP pg 223
Inreach: Congregational Care
At St. John's we have a dedicated group of ten ministers trained and licensed by the diocese who go out weekly after Sunday services of Holy Eucharist to take Christ's body and blood to those who are either temporarily or permanently unable to attend church. An EV comments, “We go to them to bring them to us.” If you would a visit from a St. John's Eucharistic minister or more information about home communion, contact the church office.
St. John’s Hospital Visitors minister to parishioners who are in the hospital. The trained visitors check in daily with Boulder Community Hospital downtown and at the one just off Foothills Parkway on Arapahoe. These ministers provide active listening and prayer to parishioner patients. Many of them are also Eucharistic Ministers as well and can give communion to the patient right at the hospital. Often a hospital visitor continues to minister to a parishioner if they are temporarily transferred to an assisted living facility. These visitors advise the clergy of all visits. Parishioners are encouraged to notify the office ahead of time of any scheduled hospitalizations.
Volunteer! Ministry Opportunities
Matthew 22:36 - 40
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Participation is vital to every community. Participation results in synergy, synergy being the magic that is created when you bring your particular essence (and all of the skills/talents/gifts associated with you) into direct contact with other particular essences (and all of the skills/talents/gifts associated with each and every one of those “others”.) Every Sunday when we are each invited to share in the Body of Christ at the communion rail, we are participating in the corporate worship that is vital to Christian communities. It is the most direct experience we have of Jesus coming to us, of the love of Jesus coming into us. This is the quintessential expression of loving God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind. But this is only half of the Christian equation according to Jesus. The other half of the equation is loving our neighbors as ourselves. This is the active component of the equation, where we take our heart-full-of-love and pour it out into the world in service.
Loose-Plate Offering Donations
Young Adult Ministry
The loose plate offering during the month of December will support the Young Adult Ministry at St. John's and St. Aidan's. This joint effort builds on the ground work laid several years ago by St. John's former youth minister, Merritt Hess, and more recently by JK Melton, under whose guidance the program has really begun to grow and flourish. The idea behind both churches working together is to help grow a critical mass of faithful young adults in the Boulder area.
Since August, 28 young adults have been involved with the young adult group, and six of those 28 have been new to both St. John's or St. Aidan's! Young adults who previously had a hard time finding a place to fit in in our congregations now have a place to go in addition to participating in congregational life and worship. There are currently two groups that meet regularly — a Bible study group and a social group. A young adult minister (currently JK Melton) also connects personally with the young adults to develop conversation about life issues and discipleship. These groups gather in the community and at church.
The primary message of the Boulder Area Episcopal Young Adult Ministry is this: God loves you and created you and has a purpose for you. We are here to support you on that journey. We want you to go to church, and we are not territorial as congregations about where you go, because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is larger than our own congregations. The life of faith is a rich and rewarding life, and it has something for every person to receive.
Please give generously to support the young adults in our community!
Three St. John's Programs for Boulder
Your loose plate donations in November will support St. John's soup kitchen, prescription vouchers, and clergy discretionary fund. All of these ministries directly benefit those in our Boulder community who are struggling - and sometimes failing - to make ends meet.
On the first Sunday of each month, St. John's provides a nutritious hot lunch in the parish hall and distributes sack lunches to go. Our meals are prepared from scratch by Chef Carlos Ortega Gonzales with help from many of our parishioners. We also provide a venue for St. Benedict's Health and Healing to offer medical care and consultation to our guests. In addition, Dora Bannert, a St. John's parishioner and professional hairstylist, gives free haircuts. (Thanks, Dora!) We also distribute clothing and hygiene kits at soup kitchen several times a year.
Each month St. John's provides vouchers which pay for part or all of the cost of medical prescriptions - up to $20 - for people who would otherwise be unable to afford needed medications.
Clergy Discretionary Fund
St. John's clergy have a small discretionary fund that they use to help individuals and families with limited means pay for a variety of basic needs such as food, clothing, transportation, and housing/shelter. With cold weather and the holidays approaching, we know that needs will increase, and we hope to be able to help.
Please give generously (cash or a check made out to St. John's with "Soup, etc..." on the memo line) to help us continue to fund these programs and help those in need!
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity has been chosen as the St. John's loose-plate recipient for October. Habitat provides "decent homes in decent communities in which every person can experience God's love." In 2009, we at St. John's gave generously of our time, treasure, and talent to help build the first four-plex at the Northfield site, near the intersection of 47th Street and Jay Road. Now, a second project at the Northfield site is underway, and St. John's has again volunteered our parishioners' time and financial resources to help with construction.
Flatirons Habitat has built 57 houses to help some of the 28,000 families in Boulder County who have unmet housing needs. And Habitat is not a giveaway program for the recipients — each family is carefully screened to be sure they can afford to pay the mortgage on the house and is required to invest a minimum of 400 hours of "sweat equity" into the construction of the residence where they will live.
The next two build days for St. John's are October 16th and December 4th. Call Mark or Sharon Monroe, 303-665-3564, for more information.
Cultural Survival/Global Response
Cultural Survival/Global Response is the loose plate recipient for September. This non-profit advocates for the survival indigenous peoples and their environment, livelihoods, and cultures by writing letters to large corporations and governments whose plans for "development" of resources threaten to displace people or devastate their environment. Look for the Cultural Survival display in the parish hall, or, for more information, visit www.culturalsurvival.org. And, please, give generously to help protect the Earth and her peoples!
The Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), which has been serving Boulder County families for more than 90 years, has been chosen as the recipient of St. John’s loose plate contributions for the month of August. Founded in 1918, EFAA is the “community safety net” for families with nowhere else to go to meet their basic needs. EFAA coordinates and provides food and shelter, utility assistance, minor medical expenses, transportation, and resource referrals for families in crisis.
A few “quick facts” about EFAA in 2009:
• EFAA’s basic needs program conducted 8,789 face-to-face interviews with 3,278 separate families, helping them with rent, utility bills, food, and other basic needs.
• Almost $500,000 was provided to assist clients with rent (to prevent homelessness), utility bills (to prevent shut-offs), minor medical needs, and transportation.
• EFAA emergency shelter and transitional housing helped 154 households (517 individuals) avoid homelessness. Eighty-six percent of these families moved on to find affordable, permanent housing in the community.
• EFAA’s furniture bank provided approximately $20,000 worth of furniture to 159 families.
• The Boulder food bank distributed over 350,702 pounds of food (valued at $592,686) to 1,912 different households in crisis.
• Two hundred eighty-six homeless children in Boulder, Lafayette, and Longmont benefitted from specialized casework provided by EFAA’s Children’s Services program.
• EFAA’s coordinating and volunteer efforts, bringing together the energy and care of several local organizations, provided a week’s worth of food and all the ingredients for a holiday dinner for more than 900 Boulder families.
EFAA did all that and more in 2009, while ensuring that 83 cents out of every dollar went directly to program services. Not only does EFAA use every dollar efficiently, but in 2009, their 620 volunteers contributed 13,705 hours — the equivalent of 6.59 full-time employees!
EFAA receives no state or federal money, and 55% of EFAA’s funding comes from private donations. St. John’s history of support to EFAA spans nearly 30 years of financial and in-kind contributions, and the St. John’s Foundation was a major contributor to EFAA’s recent capital campaign.
If you’d like to learn more about EFAA and how your loose plate contribution will help local families in need, go to www.efaa.org. And if you’d like to hear about the very real way in which EFAA has helped families, be sure to click on “Success Stories.”
July, 2010 Loose-Plate Recipient
Crayons to Calculators
Imagine being a kindergartener with no crayons, a fifth grader with no spiral notebooks, a high-school math student with no calculator. Imagine not having a backpack to carry your books to and from school. Many students in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts face these challenges every year. But in 2005, six local non-profit organizations partnered with the school districts to create Crayons to Calculators, a community-wide school supply drive to address this issue. This year, requests for assistance have increased 15%, and the goal is to ensure that 7,000 economically disadvantaged students start the first day of school with a backpack and basic school supplies.
Backpacks will be delivered directly to Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley schools so that students may pick them up before school starts. Working together, we can provide our local children with the supplies they need to succeed in school!
For more information about Crayons to Calculators, visit their website at www.CrayonsToCalculators.org.
June, 2010 Loose-Plate Recipient
St. John's June loose plate recipient is HOPE International. ("Loose plate" is any cash in the plate plus checks with the name of the loose plate organization on the memo line; checks without that designation go into the general fund.) HOPE is a Christ-centered, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on alleviating physical and spiritual poverty through microenterprise development. Working in 14 of the poorest, least-served countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean, HOPE's ministry helps individuals in need escape poverty and become self-sufficient by providing small business loans and Biblically-based business training.
Not Traditional Charity
Microenterprise development is not traditional charity. The money that clients receive is not a gift or a grant but rather a loan with a fixed term and a fixed interest rate. All around the world, entrepreneurs are benefiting from small infusions of capital (ranging from $50-500) and basic business training. Clients use the funds to start or expand their own businesses and then use the increased profits from their businesses to provide education for their children, food for their families, and improved housing. Because more than 99% of the loans are repaid, the same funds can be recycled again and again to help additional families.
Please support HOPE International with a generous donation in June!
May, 2010 Loose-Plate Recipient
voices for children logo
Voices For Children CASA
Voices for Children CASA is an organization that recruits, trains, and manages Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) to work closely with children who are victims of abuse and neglect in Boulder County. After 40 hours of training, CASAs work with the guardian ad litem attorney, the Social Service caseworker, and everyone involved in the child's life to ensure that the best interests of the child are met. But the CASA's most important contribution is his or her regular and close contact with the child. In many cases, the CASA is the only constant for a child whose life has been turned upside down by the complexities of the child protection system and placement in one or more foster homes. It has been widely documented that a child with a CASA has a much better chance to succeed in life than one who does not.
If you're interested in learning more about Voices For Children CASA, please visit the McKeown Conference Room after Sunday's 9:30 a.m. service to watch a DVD or speak to some of those from St. John's who are involved in the program. And please give generously to help the abused and neglected children in our own community!
April, 2010 Loose-Plate Recipient
youth group logo
St. John's Youth Group Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic
In the "second world," an education is a powerful thing. When you live in an industrial town that is down on its luck, you don't have a lot of options. The Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic has seen this need--and filled it.
In June, 15 youth and 6 adults from St. John's will travel to Haina, which is about an hour outside of Santo Domingo. There, we will work side by side with local Episcopalians on improvements for the school run by the local parish church of San Marcos. The work our youth will do will directly improve this school. Already, the school has a high rating, and by next fall, it will have climbed higher. While this school could be charging the significant tuition, it charges less than 10% of what it is permitted to charge so that it can serve more people. Currently there are 750 students from 3-18 years old enrolled.
This is an exciting mission opportunity for us because it will allow our youth to do truly interdependent mission work. We will supply the materials, but we will work side by side with the parishioners of San Marcos to complete our tasks. This is a mission trip that is about building relationships with people who live in a radically different way.
Our fundraising efforts continue, and we are making great strides in covering our costs and providing an affordable trip for our youth. Loose plate funds will go directly toward purchasing our supplies in the Dominican Republic. This will not only allow us to improve the school, but it will allow other improvements to be made. Moreover, it bolsters the local economy by providing jobs.
The Diocese of the Dominican Republic is a member of Province IX of the Episcopal Church. It is a lively and Spirit-filled part of the church. We will join this community for a week in June, improve the physical plant of the school, and we will find our lives transformed. We thank you in advance for your generosity through the loose plate program.
March, 2010 Loose-Plate Recipient
Casting a Wide Net With NetsforLife
Did you know that every minute a child in Africa dies from malaria? Or that a simple 9’x10’ insecticide-treated net — that costs $12 — can save three children from needless suffering and preventable death.
This month St. John’s joins the NetsforLife campaign, sponsored by Episcopal Relief and Development, to raise money for the purchase of these life-saving nets. Here’s how: Children’s Ministries will invite every St. John’s child to collect coins in a special little (net!) drawstring pouch that they will receive at the 9:30 a.m. family service on Sunday, March 7th. If each child collects $4 — enough to save one life — by Easter our children, working together, could save 200 lives!
In addition, NetsforLife will be the March recipient of the St. John’s loose plate collection. Our crucial support will help children, families, and whole communities move from sickness to strength. If you’d like to write a check, make it out to St. John’s and put “Nets” on the memo line.
Please watch for the little African “village” in the Rotunda, complete with one of the life-saving nets, and please, give generously!
February, 2010 Loose-Plate Recipient
Haiti Earthquake Relief
The February loose plate collection will go to relief efforts in Haiti. St. John's is participating in a diocesan wide fund raising program in support of two organizations that are directly involved the relief effort: Episcopal Relief and Development and the Colorado Haiti Project. At Bishop O’Neill’s request, the Anschutz Foundation has generously agreed to give the Diocese of Colorado a $75,000 grant to match dollar for dollar your contributions to bring relief and aid to the people of Haiti. For more information, please click here.
December, 2009 Loose-Plate Recipient
more match logo
A total of 189 countries began the new century by signing the Millennium Declaration, pledging a massive global mobilization to cut poverty in half by 2015. Out of this historic covenant came eight measurable goals known as the Millennium Development Goals (see below).
The 74th Episcopal General Convention adopted Resolution D-006 in support of the MDG’s. It calls all Episcopal churches and organizations to contribute at least 0.7% of their budgets to support programs that foster economic development in the world’s poorest countries.
The St. John’s Outreach Committee has chosen to answer this call by selecting the More Than a Match Program as the loose plate recipient for the month of December. This program is an effort on the part of the Colorado Episcopal Foundation to unite all Episcopal congregations in the Diocese of Colorado to meet the challenge put forth at General Convention. This Christmas season please consider a generous gift to benefit the health care institutions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem because the Holy Land needs our help.
The Diocese of Jerusalem operates four healthcare institutions in some of the most difficult and dangerous environments in the region, providing care and services for more than 50,000 patients every year. These patients receive comprehensive services from routine checkups to the most complicated and sophisticated surgical procedures. Common to all these institutions and varied services is one overriding commitment: to provide the best care possible to anyone who needs it, regardless of age, gender, religion, political affiliation, or ability to pay.
More than one billion people – 1/6 of the world’s population – live in extreme poverty. The dimensions of human poverty go beyond income: pandemic disease, widespread conflict, environmental degradation, chronic hunger, and a lack of access to education are all both causes and effects. Let’s join together with our fellow Anglicans here in Colorado, in the Episcopal Church, and the Communion in helping to reduce global poverty.
Millennium Development Goals
* Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
* Achieve universal primary education
* Promote gender equality and empower women
* Reduce child mortality
* Improve maternal health
* Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
* Ensure environmental stability
* Develop a global partnership for development
November, 2009 Loose-Plate Recipient
Community Food Share
November's loose plate collection will benefit Community Food Share, a non-profit that provides needed, nutritious food to the working poor, the disabled and chronically ill, at-risk teens, seniors on fixed incomes, and the homeless.
More information can be found at the Community Food Share website.
October, 2009 Loose-Plate Recipient
FOCUS, an offender reentry mentoring program. The program helps reintegrate offenders into the community so they can learn to lead productive and satisfying lives apart from crime.
More information on this website.
St. John's Outreach Scholarship Fund: September, 2009 Loose- Plate Recipient
The St. John's Outreach Scholarship Fund was established to support worthy individuals engaged in teaching, study, missionary work, outreach, seminary education, and other activities that help spread the gospel throughout the world and/or improve relationships between Christians and members of other faiths. This month's offering will support Tori Webster as she teaches in Lebanon. If you'd like to write a check, make it out to St. John's and put "Outreach Scholarship" on the memo line.
Please join Tori Webster in the McKeown Conference Room after the 9:30am service on Sunday, September 6th to learn more about her experiences in the Middle East.
Habitat for Humanity Apostles Build: August, 2009 Loose-Plate Recipient
Flatirons Habitat for Humanity is working to organize an Apostles Build, and our August loose plate will support their efforts. In an Apostles Build project, 12 congregations come together to raise the money and provide the labor and prayer support to build a Habitat for Humanity House. Participating congregations raise and contribute equal shares of the $100,000 cost of sponsoring a home, and members of each congregation have the opportunity to help with the construction. Please give generously in August to help provide housing for a family in need.
Flatirons Habitat for Humanity website
If you’d like to be part of the Apostles Build labor crew, please contact Father Ted at 303-442-5246.
Crayons to Calculators: July, 2009 Loose-Plate Recipient
Imagine being a kindergartener with no crayons, a fifth grader with no spiral notebooks, a high school math student with no calculator. Imagine not having a backpack to carry your books to and from school. More than 5,000 students in Boulder Valley and 7,000 in St. Vrain Valley face these challenges every year.
Then, a few years ago, several area non-profit organizations created Crayons to Calculators, a community-wide school supply drive to address this issue. Last year, Crayons to Calculators provided backpacks with school supplies to 4,812 children from kindergarten through high school. With our help, they hope to help even more children start school with the necessary supplies this August.
There are three ways you and your family can help:
1. Donate a backpack full of supplies for a student in need. (One backpack of supplies costs $40-$100, depending on the grade level of the student.) Find a list of the necessary supplies at www.crayonstocalculators.org. Drop off your loaded backpack in the boxes located in the narthex or in the rotunda at St. John’s.
2. Contribute to the loose plate collection this morning or any Sunday morning in July. We’ll make a contribution to Crayons for Calculators, and they’ll do the shopping for us. They’re able to purchase supplies at deep discounts thanks to the generosity of local businesses. If you’d like to write a check, please make it out to St. John’s and put Crayons to Calculators on the memo line.
3. Get your business involved in the Crayons to Calculators corporate challenge. Visit their website at www.crayonstocalculators.org to get started.
Backpacks will be delivered directly to Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley schools so that students may pick them up before school starts.
Working together, we can provide our communities’ children with the supplies they need to be successful in school!