St. John's Episcopal Church

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206 West Maple | Mt. Pleasant | Michigan |  48858
Phone:  (989)  773-7448  |


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John H.
 Goodrow Fund

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St. John's




John H. Goodrow & JHGF

Program Description | Jubilee Designation

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 resources.


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Program Description
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 sponsors, the United Way, and FEMA.

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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Jubilee Designation
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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© 2002  St. John's Episcopal Church, Mt. Pleasant Michigan.