5 Questions with Vicky Partin
1) How long have you been affiliated with Jubilee Ministries, and in what capacity?
As Lay Missioner of the Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, I learned about Jubilee in the mid-1980's, and the Ministry was designated a Center in l989. I first had the opportunity of serving on the Advisory Council for Jubilee with Ntsiki Langford and later with Carmen Guerrero, Chris Johnson, and Mark Stevenson, and often visited hopeful Centers for designation and evaluations. Over time I attended many Jubilee conferences around the country, networking with directors and conducting workshops. I currently serve on Jubilee's Advisory team and have been trained in ABCD (Asset Based Community Development).
Called to Transformation is an asset-based approach to engaging Church and community, centered on the belief that individuals, groups, and communities possess unique gifts to cultivate positive change. For more information on this collaborative project of The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development, click HERE.
2) What is/are your role(s) in your diocese? In your parish? In a ministry or ministries?
In the Diocese of Atlanta, I am the Diocesan Jubilee Officer where we currently have twelve Centers. At St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Columbus, I chair the Outreach Council and participate in all the outreach programs. In addition, I coordinate the maintenance and programs for the outdoor labyrinth on the grounds, giving me the opportunity to engage people in a more contemplative way.
In the community I volunteer with Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, BRIDGE for high school dropouts, Columbus State University's Diversity Committee, Circles of Columbus, Mayor's Committee for Diversity, Unity and Prosperity and assist with ABCD workshops in neighborhoods. I also serve as Vice-President of the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice.
3) What’s one way you’ve been changed by your work alongside the economically disadvantaged?
Poverty takes a huge toll on families, and the necessity for people to depend on others for their basic needs takes a huge toll on the human psyche. I had to learn this first before I could really help anyone.
Rather than quiet family time over warm dinners, and a designated space for homework and play, children living in poverty often face frustration, anger, and chaos. From entering this pain in families, I have been transformed. I've learned that engaging the children in community life with diverse cultures provides a model for breaking the cycle. Bridging out of poverty then becomes a family goal, and I've enjoyed watching the transformation of many families through better academic achievement, more parental support, career goals, and self-esteem.
4) What does advocacy mean to you?
Years ago I shied away from using terms like "justice" and "advocacy" for fear that folks would find them too judgmental. But I would learn that many people need a voice to speak out for their wellbeing, and I could be that voice, and somehow I could
empower people to find their own voice and power. To advocate simply means to discover what is Christ-like and to dare speak out and expect to see change on behalf of the rights and dignity of others. Doing advocacy work can be a lonely place, especially in places like city halls, death rows, rental offices and human services. But Jesus Christ is our model and beacons us to be intercessors for our fellow man, no matter how scary and lonely.
5) Where in your diocese (or parish, or ministry) have you seen Jesus?
"O rest in the Lord. Wait patiently for Him....." comes to mind when I know I have seen Jesus. Many times I have told the Lord, often out loud, that I have no clue how to respond to a desperate person coming to me for help.
I just need Him to tell me what to say and do. When I dare become that vulnerable and actually trust Him and wait patiently, the answer will come quite clearly, and a huge calm and confidence comes over me. I cannot allow myself to panic with the desperate person, even when I long for quick fixes. I'm there to reconcile and encourage, and somehow reveal the love of Jesus in the waiting.....
Ms. Vicky Partin is the former director of Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministries and is the current Diocesan Jubilee Officer for the Diocese of Atlanta. She also serves as the Vice-President of the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice.
If you are interested in having your church or ministry designated a Jubilee Ministry, please contact Mr. Christopher Sikkema at 212-716-6055 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The application to be designated a Jubilee Ministry can be found HERE.