Greetings in the name of the liberating one, the one who has touched our lives, saved us and died on the cross, Jesus Christ of Nazareth +
It is, as always, my honor to update you on the happenings of Jubilee Collective, the community that you have fostered, loved, invested in, and prayed over.
Jubilee Collective is a new reformation happening in our midst.
Following where Jesus is calling is often scary, daunting, and frankly, not "safe." I want to remind you, the people of God at Messiah, you are doing a great job in times where none know where to truly go or where to lead you but Christ.
We started weekly worship online on 9/30/20, so it has been 30 days. According to the ELCA's official formula, we can count each household or YouTube view as 2.5 people as a practical way of showing the impact of your worship or how many people are attending. So, 110 people are attending worship every week. Maybe not live, but they are using Jubilee Collective as a weekly touchstone of where they find Jesus in this strange time. As a Pastor, I'll take it. I estimate from direct one on one care, personal contacts, and by as much as I can track online, we have added 50 "new" members to the Messiah family of churches.
A word of warning on "membership" in Jubilee Collective—we hold that term very loosely. Meaning what attracts people who have church hurt, or vulnerable trans kids, or queer Christians, or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) peoples to us is the idea that you are a member if and when you say you are. Same rights as anyone else. I don't even get a vote in the Collective. That means you can show up on day one, have a vote, and have a full say in everything we are doing except in one area.
Word and Sacrament. That is my role.
Everything the Collective does is because a member wants to lead it. They want to teach it. They want to create it. They want to guide it. Whatever it is.
We are becoming a lay seminary-like environment where we are teaching discipleship to everyone. In our Queer Theology course, we teach the fundamentals of reading the Bible as a pastor does—through a "queer" or odd lens using the tricks and secrets to understanding scripture the way theologians do. It is such a huge success we are expanding it in January 2021 to a new ministry, "R/evolutionary Seminary," where we will teach lay folks the fundamentals of ministry to create environments where everyone is empowered to lead people to the Water of Life. We have 25 students every week and five seminarians.
We have a candidate for Word and Sacrament Ministry! Well almost.
Jane Clare, a member of the launch team, is, as we speak, applying to seminaries around the country, and the Launch Table has agreed to present her to the Candidacy Committee of the Southwestern Washington Synod. In less than a year, we are already walking with someone through the pastoral formation process and creating pastors we want to see in the world in a deep relationship with the broader church.
Jubilee's Launch team has expanded. We are being led by several licensed therapists, some Messiah mainstays, and a load of exciting young people! We are so young!
Finally, Jubilee the Van has been a part of over one hundred pastoral care sessions, has fed over 624 people since purchase, clothed, fed supported 36 families during the fires, has participated in worship or big community events five times, one of which earned us the personal thank you of Vancouver's Mayor, and is the living embodiment of the marks of the church for us as a Collective. Meaning it is how we are physically Jesus in the community, and you can find me, the van, and members of the collective all over Vancouver being Christ in the world. We are creating separate social media accounts so you can follow my adventures with Jubilee the Van, and members of the Collective!
Love is winning the day. We are grateful to be Messiah's proof of that in that in the world.
We have struck gold, but COVID-19 prevents you from getting to know this community or me deeply, and every day I weep over that. Figuratively and some days literally.
Written in Love and Liberation, Rev. Lenny Duncan + he/him