Central PA: Presiding bishop celebrates 30 years of Jubilee Ministry

September 9, 2013
Parishioner Tony Hatfield shares vegetables with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during her visit to St. Mark's on Sept. 7. Photo: Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

Parishioner Tony Hatfield shares vegetables with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during her visit to St. Mark’s on Sept. 7. Photo: Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

[Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visited St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 7 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Jubilee Ministry Center. She met with the Jubilee Officers in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and reviewed the varieties of ministries that have emerged.

She also honored the Rt. Rev. Charlie McNutt, retired bishop of the diocese, and the Rev. Canon Peter Greenfield, who was priest at St. Mark’s when former Presiding Bishop John Allin recognized the parish as the first Jubilee Center. “What started as a spark has grown into a flame that has spread across the church,” she observed.

Jefferts Schori affirmed the importance of their outreach ministries in very different kinds of communities.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Central Pennsylvania Bishop Nathan Baxter bless the people of St.Mark's, Lewistown, and clergy of the diocese during a service of celebration for 30 years of Jubilee Ministry. Photo: Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Central Pennsylvania Bishop Nathan Baxter bless the people of St.Mark’s, Lewistown, and clergy of the diocese during a service of celebration for 30 years of Jubilee Ministry. Photo: Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

“Our Jubilee Centers serve communities as small as Renovo and as large as Lancaster and Harrisburg,” said Central Pennsylvania Bishop Nathan Baxter. “In every case they ask how the people of God can serve this community.” Each Jubilee Center represents a unique response to the needs of their community.

“We see these centers as deep expressions of what Jesus proclaimed,” Jefferts Schori noted. Such ministries foster ecumenical partnerships and invite creative leadership. “Jubilee ministry means getting out of ourselves and inviting new people into community with us,” she added. “The church has been revitalized because we focus on common mission and turn away from minor differences.”

[A copy of the presiding bishop’s sermon is available here.]

With more than 600 Jubilee Centers in the United States, the Episcopal Church continues to foster new ways to respond to domestic poverty and the challenges of environmental sustainability.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, Jefferts Schori visited St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in State College to celebrate a liturgy that was created by a dedicated team of young adults.

Sophia Reeder, a young adult from the Williamsport area and student at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, spoke to the gathering. “We are all familiar with the balancing act we do between school, social life, sleep, exercise, etc, etc… There’s a lot of intentional planning that goes into that.“

“But what about our relationship with God? Do we plan time for prayers? Do we take time to give thanks for our blessings? Do we take time to listen to God, not just to talk at him?  Are we honest in our relationships with him, or do we treat God like a heavenly ATM, prayers in, blessings out!“

The Eucharist was the closing of a day-long Vocare event that hosted 33 young adults from the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania.