Member Mission Network Newsletter #124

Prisoners learn English – a community mission

(a 6:02 min. video)

Jim, an ex-ferry boat owner, has taught English as a second language for 13 years at the Incarceration Facility in Mineville, NY. Run like a boot-camp, qualified prisoners serve six months and, if satisfactory, are paroled. His students are usually under 25, come with all levels of education, and are weak in English – so weak they cannot reach the seventh grade level required to take the GED course for a high school diploma. Some are single, some are married. All have a fever to improve their English. Jim improvises his Spanish as he goes along.

00:00 – Jim and details about the class
01:30 – What the course does for them
02:25 – How Jim sees God at work here
03:17 – How telling the story helps Jim
04:21 – What the story might do for viewers
05:00 – They have the lowest recidivism rate
05:54 – Thanks, Jim

Bishop Burnett commends MM

“This approach every member, lay or ordained, and every congregation, no matter how large or small,, to engage directly and immediately in meaningful Christian work and witness. It is deceptively simple but profound.”

– Bp. Joe G. Burnett, Asst. Bp. of Maryland

An expanding home mission

Damage_to_Lower_Ninth_Ward_after_Hurricane_Katrina“I am an empty nester, married to my life partner for 42 years this summer. I am, occasionally, temporarily, a “FEMA widow.” My husband is currently in Brownsville, TX to help with the flood of undocumented, unaccompanied minors crossing the Rio Grande to enter the United States. He’s been deployed 10 out of 11 weeks and works12-hour days with one day off every two to three weeks. I think his work is heroic.

Time and again, when I fall down on keeping my baptismal promises, he has helped me get up and continue following The Way. The challenge for me is that I must not allow him to be the “end user” of my promises. His baptismal covenant expands our relationship to include those he serves. I believe Christ calls me to provide support for the people he serves. Requests for prayers and for aid from other believers were the beginning. Next came phone calls and advocacy with church institutions. That led to revising our budget to purchase crayons and coloring books and movies for children I’ll never meet – nor even see. That’s led to increasing my own political activism to effect change in unjust systems and short-sighted, self-serving policies. As my friend the Rev. Mary Earle says with a knowing chuckle, ‘The Holy Spirit is a crass opportunist.’ Thanks be to God!”

– Demi Prentiss


For Preaching and Teaching

“Biblical Faith, Fanatics, and Extremists”

John’s story of the man born blind addresses our own spiritual health and our mission to build spiritual health in the wider world. Presented by The Rev. Roger Alling at St. Boniface Church, Sarasota, FL, 3/6/05.

Member Mission Proverb

“In a pluralistic world, a religion is judged by the benefits its members bring to its nonmembers.”

One of Brian McLaren’s mentors


“The Rich Get Richer”citizenship/wider world missions

Julie Polter, a senior editor of Sojourners in the issue of August 2014, cites the alarm of both Pope Francis and Thoms Picketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, that the constant growth of wealth among the few is a peril to Democratic institutions. Piketty observes that citizen-owned wealth rises 5% per year while the economic growth in developed countries for the past several decade has been lower than 5%. She quotes other economists noting other aspects of the growing wealth of a few. From her studies, she sees four ways to address this equality through public policy: investing in education and infrastructure; raising the minimum wage; supporting efforts that raise wealth for people with low income; and strengthening the estate tax.   Click on

Meditation: Hunger fact

“Hunger reads the morning paper, too. 1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger.

Hunger is closer than you think. Reach out to your local food bank for ways to do your part.

Visit today.”

                                                                                                                        – Ad Council

A fresh definition

Member Mission: Seeking to join God’s mission of love and justice in our daily lives.

                                                                                    – Trinity Church, Shelburne, VT