By Glenda Andrews
Jubilee House Director
Jubilee – just the word brings joy to your heart and a smile to your face. When you put this word alongside Bible references where debts are forgiven, you start to understand what Jubilee Ministries are all about here at Grace.
In 2004 our sanctuary was too small, so Grace decided to build a larger one. Echoing similar decisions made in the past, Grace chose to stay in the center of town where the needs were the greatest, serving the needs of the poor and those living on the edges of society. The Rev. Ed Emenheiser, rector at that time, felt there should not be a new sanctuary unless there was a new outreach ministry as well. Research was done to find out what unmet needs were in our city. We discovered that a daytime shelter that could provide hot showers and free laundry was needed, and so Jubilee House was formed.
From these small beginnings in 2006, Jubilee House has grown to where it is today. It is a direct and dynamic link between our theology and our ethics, that being the talk of our faith is the walk of our faith. The Bible calls us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, and to respond to the gospel call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care of the sick. For when we do for the least of these among us, we do for Christ. This is the core of our faith. This ministry is rooted in honoring God’s presence in each human being, and believing that each person has value no matter their life’s circumstances. When we offer our services, we are offering them to God. When people walk lighter, when we can ease their pain, we are also giving them God’s love to help heal their wounded spirits and broken hearts. In turn, we heal ourselves as well.
In this house, an average of 45 people a day come to find shelter from their storms. This is where they can find rest and peace, and have daily needs met. They experience God’s love from the volunteers who give of their time and hearts to these children of God. God’s love is strong and present when a loved one is remembered and a “family community” can come to mourn.
My prayer is that this ministry, as an extension of Grace Church, will continue to grow in faith where all people are seen as equals—not only in God’s eyes, but also in ours. We do not see, treat, or judge others based on the clothes they wear, their background, their financial situation, their race, creed, or religion. May God give us eyes to see them as brothers and sisters, God’s own.
Is God calling you to join this vital ministry on behalf of our neighbors in need? I’d love to share more with you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-275-0036