On Sunday, January 21, Jubilee USA launched its action for faith communities in the Sabbath Year, Jubilee Sunday.
Jubilee Sunday is an opportunity to set aside some time during the regular Sunday service to reflect upon the spiritual roots of the Jubilee call, raise awareness of the international debt crisis within your faith community, pray and sing together for Jubilee justice, and take action by having members of the congregation write letters to your Representative and Senators about the need for debt cancellation in the Sabbath Year.
We asked our faith communities to tell us what they did on January 21, and they told us what they did that Sunday and how that helped bring added awareness to the work many of them are doing in communities that are impoverished. Below is Part One of the reports back from Jubilee Sunday:
Our congregation, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, has been participating in various ways since the Jubilee 2000 international effort to work for debt cancellation. We have good reason for this action. As an international congregation with ministries among impoverished people in Africa — Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe — and in Central and South America — Brazil, Nicaragua and Peru — we know how crucial it is to relieve the most impoverished countries of debt in order for them to advance and to meet the needs of their own people.
Our California group of Sisters is participating in Sabbath Year 2007.
We began early in January with a special prayer service at our Province Center in Belmont using several of the worship aids provided by JubileeUSA.org.
We are now following up by using the sample letter you provided to encourage our Sisters and our Associate membership to write letters on the issue to their congresspersons.
We have e-mailed our Justice/Peace circle about the Sabbath Year and we will keep them updated. Education is our primary mission, and so we are contacting our schools as well.
This Sabbath 2007 effort synchronizes well with an international study we will begin in spring throughout the congregation on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and with our own California corporate stance in support of the Earth Charter.
Sr. Margaret Hoffman SND
Communications and Justice/Peace Coordinator
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur of California
JUBILEE SUNDAY UPDATES
Jubilee Sunday went very well here at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. We did the Have a Heart Campaign. I spoke at all three services and Pastor George Johnson reaffirmed Jubilee during his sermon. We used the music and readings also.
San Marcos, California
Our minister gave a very comprehensive sermon on the Biblical basis for debt relief (Leviticus and Luke), complete with photos of marchers in Liberia and photos of the people we support there.
We also saw good stats on world poverty generally and on the situation in Liberia currently.
We ended by addressing 71 red hearts in time for the Liberia donor’s conference where U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's will meet in February with the delegation from Liberia. We also wrote 47 full-length letters to our particular representatives (Jim McDermott, Rick Larsen and Jay Inslee). It was a very inspiring and productive evening.
We celebrated Jubilee Sunday at my church, North Congregational United Church of Christ, yesterday.
I think it was very successful in spite of the fact that we had our first real snow of the season and attendance was down because of it.
We had two tables in the Narthex — one with letters to Congress, and the other full of pre-printed valentines complete with signage and a box to collect them covered in red.
The sermon was in three parts: a modified version of the dramatization done by the minister and a church member (well done!), followed by a reading of the “Mission Minute” as well as brief detail of Liberia's situation by two others, followed by the ministers reflections on the scripture and our call to justice, etc.
Afterward, we had 40 people sign the letters, I believe, and many hearts were signed. the children also made hearts during Sunday School, and signed and deposited them in the box.
The tables will remain up for one more week, so hopefully with our regular attendance, we'll get more signed. In all, I was pleased!
North Congregational United Church of Christ