John H. Goodrow & JHGF
Program Description |
Goodrow Fund 10th Annual Fundraiser
February 21, 2014 - Bucks Run, Mt. Pleasant
Social Hour 5:30 p.m. &
Dinner 6:30 p.m.
For more information click
here for details.
Reverend John H. Goodrow was rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan from 1962-1985. During
his tenure, he strongly supported "Food with Friends," a Commission on
Aging program providing nightly meals in
the parish hall, and he was also responsible for many other community
outreach initiatives, including the St. John’s Emergency Food Program.
When Father Goodrow died, the St. John's Vestry established The John H.
Goodrow Fund (JHGF) in tribute to him and in testimony of Matthew 25:
31-46. Here is the JHGF mission statement.
It is the intent of the JHGF to provide emergency assistance, including
food, shelter, clothing, medicine, gasoline, or other support. This fund
maintains a particular interest in serving the special needs of
community members . . . not met or fulfilled by other community
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Since January 1988, the JHGF
has been an emergency
relief fund staffed and housed by
St. John's Episcopal Church.
Funding comes from
St. John’s, other churches, individual
In partnership with county churches, businesses,
and social service agencies, the JHGF is a local resource for Isabella
Country residents during times of temporary crisis: the single parent
between paychecks, the wage earner recently unemployed, the runaway
teenager without bus fare home,
the elderly invalid with a disconnection notice. As these examples
suggest, the JHGF provides emergency relief
based on need and without discrimination or proselytizing by covering
emergency expenses associated with food, rent, utilities, medicine, and
transportation. A defining feature of
the JHGF is that virtually no overhead costs existed until
2007 when a part time director was hired.
How are the funds distributed? First of all, the
Goodrow Board has established open accounts with vendors through-out the
county, including gas stations, pharmacies, department stores, and
groceries. In addition, the Board has created quarterly volunteer
schedules, so that every week of the year is staffed by two volunteers.
These schedules are posted at Listening Ear, a local crisis intervention
center, and when a client calls for assistance, a Listening Ear operator
documents the necessary information before forwarding it to the
volunteer. The volunteer, who works out of his/her home,
cross-references the person's name with the JHGF portable files. These
files contain hundreds of computer generated names of people who have
received assistance. Once the cross-reference check is complete, the
volunteer calls the person, coordinates with other social service
agencies (such as the Salvation Army or EightCap), and then has
discretion whether to approve funding. If the volunteer provides
funding, s/he documents it on individual intake sheets provided and
turns the sheets into the treasurer who will cut and mail a check to the
appropriate vendor. Given the level of need, the week’s allotted funds
are typically depleted by Monday or Tuesday at the latest.
It’s important to note that JHGF volunteers’
actions and decisions are never second-guessed by the JHGF, so that each
person is free to handle this ministry in a caring way, unencumbered by
too many rules and, hopefully, guided by love and the Spirit.
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The National Episcopal Church has recently designated the JHGF a jubilee
center. This designation is, most obviously, an honor bestowed for
exemplary outreach. In addition, it makes the JHGF part of a working
network of over 700 jubilee centers, and it opens doors for training and
funding opportunities. Aside from these practical implications, however,
there is a philosophical one: a call for social action, advocacy,
empowerment, and justice.
This call for social justice is apparent in an initial report advocating
for the creation of Jubilee Ministry, which was presented at the 67th
General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1982. Here is an excerpt
of that report:
. . . each Christian is called to a life of faith in which our
relationship with God shapes, and is shaped by, our life in the world.
The tension between spirituality and social action, which so occupied
the last two decades of our Church’s life, need not and should not
exist. Piety divorced from the implications of the Incarnation lends
itself to an otherworldly and ultimately non-Christian detachment from
the arena in which God was pleased to dwell. . . What is needed is a
Christian community in which the drama of the streets and the inner
silence of which God speaks are bound together. The urban parish can be
such a community of faith and action, providing the resources by which
Christian people are empowered and emboldened to struggle with the world
for the world . . . [However,] the Jubilee Ministry draws no distinction
between domestic, and overseas, or world mission, or between rural,
suburban, or urban mission. Those distinctions no longer matter on a
small planet which has become one neighborhood. The new ministry will
engage the needs and issues of poverty and oppression wherever parishes
are willing to become involved in those needs and issues.
Twenty years later, Jubilee Ministry thrives in the National Episcopal
Church. In fact, there is an Office of Jubilee Ministry at the national
headquarters in NYC and (as previously indicated) over 700 jubilee
centers. These centers represent an amazing range of ministries,
including women’s shelters, after-school programs, retirement homes, ESL
tutoring, day cares, thrift shops, AIDS housing, prison ministry,
layette services, refuge assistance programs, credit unions, and
emergency relief funds—like the JHGF. Each one of these centers allows
its volunteers and/or staff to serve Christ in every person in the
“Matthew 25” sense of the phrase. In addition, though, each center is a
local response to local injustices. As Episcopalians, we promise in the
baptismal covenant to “strive for justice,” and it is this notion of
justice that Jubilee, most importantly, brings to the JHGF and, in turn,
St. John’s Episcopal Church.
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