Spring 2013 Report

The new newsletter is available for downloading and printing for inserting in church bulletins, here: http://www.thekingsjubilee.org/spring13.pdf

It includes hard copy of these blog entries:

  • No Lenten Retreat This Year
  • Oops! I forgot to check the calendar!
  • Mount Moriah Cemetery Spring & Summer Events
  • To Fish or Not to Fish
  • Almsgiving Flash Mob

You can print copies to share with your off-line friends.

Mount Moriah Cemetery 2013 Events

damaged headstonesAbout a year ago, we started to investigate a relationship with Mount Moriah Cemetery. About the same time, the nonsense with Mayor Nutter’s decrees banning serving the homeless outdoors distracted us. as we had to sue to continue ministry.  Some of us managed to make it to one meeting, and some helped with one restoration event. This is a good work. It is something that can dovetail with our work among the homeless in a number of ways. We don’t need to or want to own or run it. We just want to be able to work the community to help give some of the men new job skills and reintegration into the community. Give me a call to see if we can get a team together. 267-497-0268 Come join us.

April 6, 2013
Civil War Trust / History Channel Park Day @ Mount Moriah
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Join us in locating and clearing the gravesites of Civil War veterans interred in Mount Moriah Cemetery.
6201 Kingsessing Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19142

April 12, 2013
Horsham National Guard @ Mount Moriah
12:00 pm  – 3:30 pm

April 27, 2013
Comcast Cares Day of Service
9:00 am – 2:00 pm

May 11, 2013
Mount Moriah Restoration Event
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Yeadon side. We will be joined by the Friends of Cobbs Creek for Love Your Park Day.

June 8, 2013
Mount Moriah Restoration Event
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Philadelphia side.

July 13, 2013
Mount Moriah Restoration Event
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Yeadon side.

July 27, 2013
Friends of Mount Moriah General Meeting
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
2559 S. 70th Street (70th and Buist) Philadelphia, PA 19142
Find out what is happening at Mount Moriah

August 10, 2013
Mount Moriah Restoration Event
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Philadelphia side.

September 14, 2013
Mount Moriah Restoration Event
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Yeadon side.

October 12, 2013
Mount Moriah Fall Festival
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Join us as we celebrate the accomplishments made in 2013.

October 26, 2013
Friends of Mount Moriah General Meeting
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
2559 S. 70th Street (70th and Buist) Philadelphia, Pa 19142
Find out what is happening at Mount Moriah

November 9, 2013
Drexel University Civic Engagement
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Yeadon side.

This is Not an Antiochian Ministry.

When I started this ministry, 24 years ago, I had been a Mennonite prison chaplain who was also ordained in the New Jerusalem Pentecostal Holiness Church. The King’s Jubilee actually started in State Correctional Institution at Graterford in the Saturday morning E Block Bible study. E Block was the quarantine unit at the time, where inmates first came into the state system to be sorted out to be shipped to the various institutions where they were to do their time.

Things had gotten funky with the Mennonites. One of the pastors who had founded the prison ministry I supervised threatened to kill me when I would not allow him to bring contraband, inflammatory literature into the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. We went through a conflict mediation process. Everyone there agreed that he was in the wrong, but he would not budge or admit any wrong. In the end, it was a case of if you ain’t Dutch you ain’t much, and I was fired the week before Christmas, even though I had given three months notice so they could have an orderly transition and not damage or lose ministries. They did not care. The ministry in Philadelphia with over 300 volunteers and the only tutoring for women was shut down. Chaplain Sid Barnes at Graterford let me keep the Wednesday Bible Study and the Quarantine Unit ministry, because I had been the most faithful in them. In the case of the latter, I had started it. It was in this Bible study that the vision for this ministry was formulated. It is the vision of Christ’s first message in the synagogue, which was taken from Isaiah 60, “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord!”

Yes, we serve meals to homeless people in center city Philadelphia, but that is not all we do; and that is not all we have done or all we hope to do! Serving the homeless in center city was the task the men in the E Block Bible Study particularly assigned me to do. You see, I told them that no one in this organization I was starting was going to just sit on a board and Monday morning quarterback. Everyone was going to be on the front lines. Furthermore, I wanted them to tell me where I should serve. Within five minutes, 150 convicted felons came to consensus, with no input from me, that they wanted me to serve the homeless in center city Philadelphia. If any of you know this demographic, you should recognize what kind of miracle this was. I took this as my “Macedonian Call”. I started to serve one night a week and have not found a good reason to quit. During Mayor Wilson Goode’s years, we dealt with the rowdy crack heads and the prostitutes. Fast Eddie Rendell had the police harass us all the time. We were investigated by his undercover units at least three times. Each time, I managed to tell them that we would go to jail rather than stop serving, because we needed to obey God rather than men. Mayor Street’s cops tried to tell us that the parks were private property. He was about to aggressively enforce the sidewalk ordinance, when “a routine sweep for bugs” turned up FBI bugs in his office and he had bigger fish to fry. Last year, Mayor Nutter decreed that we could not give away food to poor people in the parks. We had to sue him in federal court to retain our right to do so.

While this was going on, we started a clothing ministry in East Greenville, Clothesline, that continued at Peace Mennonite Church. We also held several music festivals for the poor and homeless in Philadelphia and Pottstown. We served for several years in Pottstown and Stowe, PA. We started a similar ministry at two sites in Columbia, SC, that a local Vineyard church took ownership of. The prison ministry at Graterford continued for several years, until Gov. Tom Ridge stopped all ministry in the prison in a knee jerk reaction to an incident in the mosque there, in 1996. We did Project: Lydia in Northampton County Prison for the women until they did not allow us to include notes or New Testaments. We had a Monday Evening Bible Institute for a couple of years. We started Operation: Clean Start. We have moved countless sets of furniture for people moving into apartments. There have been various other projects.

In 1999, we were chrismated into the Orthodox Church. Our family happened to come into  an Antiochian Orthodox Church. The King’s Jubilee remains independently incorporated. I am sorry that I was so zealous, as converts often are, that almost all of our former supporters and volunteers dropped out of the ministry, as they saw this as an “Orthodox ministry.” I don’t know why this is such a problem, because my theology has not changed. When I first interviewed with Fr. Boniface, he kept asking me questions. With every answer, he just said, “You are so Orthodox!” Later, I found out that he was right. I had just read the Scriptures and the Fathers and had been Orthodox in my theology for many years and had just been longing for home. That being said, there is no reason my old friends can not join me. We have had Jews and atheists and Muslims and Methodists and Buddhists and Catholics serve with us and they have been happy as clams. We are not there to proselytize anyone. I still say what I have always said, “We do what we do in Jesus’ Name. If you don’t have a problem with that, I don’t have a problem with you joining us.” “In Jesus’ Name” does not mean that we preach at people. It means that we serve according to His will, with respect, love and dignity.

The occasion of this article is that I had a conversation this week with someone who told me that she wanted her church to support The King’s Jubilee, but wasn’t sure they would, because someone would say, “Well, they are Antiochian. Let the Antiochians do it.” I replied, “That’s stupid!”

We receive no budgeted or regular support from the Antiochian Church. My question to you is: Are you Christian?

This is ridiculous! No wonder the Orthodox Church is going nowhere as far as gospel witness is concerned. People say that it is growing fast in America, but that is only because the other churches are imploding under theological liberalism and gnosticism. There are fewer Mennonites in North America than there are Orthodox, yet they support 1,000 foreign missionaries, while we Orthodox barely support 20. We are going to punish the poor, because I was chrismated in an Antiochian church? Hey folks, I’m not Syrian. I’m not Greek. I’m not Russian. I’m not Serbian. I’m not Armenian. I’m not Ukrainian. I’m not Albanian. I’m not Georgian. I am American. Some of my ancestors have been here since 1628. I am trying to be Christian. I suggest that you try to be, too.

Jesus did not come to preserve ethnicities. He came to “build a new nation.” We have too much that needs to get done to worry about which bishop or which ethnicity or even which denomination or even which religion we belong to. Read Matthew 25. Everyone is surprised at the Judgment!

I’m going forward. I am sick of this Orthodox infighting and the jurisdictional nonsense. If this upsets you, I’m sorry. People are dying homeless on the streets. I think that is more important than whether or not we do things in the Antiochian or Greek or Russian way or not.

Lead. Follow. Or get out of the way.

We serve in Jesus’ Name.

“It’s always good to have an intention.”

damaged headstonesWe finally made it to a clean-up day at Mount Moriah Cemetery on Saturday. I left my house at 6am to load John Haggerty’s pick up with a load of furniture from Myron Starinshak’s estate to deliver to a couple of the men who have moved off of the street into an apartment, Anthony McNeil and Gregory Henderson. I delivered that to their place near Broad & Allegheny.  They joined me and we continued down to 6201 Kingsessing Ave., the Philadelphia side of Mount Moriah Cemetery. We arrived at the Cemetery a little after 8am. Hal Smith was already there and working. So we had a foursome representing The King’s Jubilee. We cut up saplings into more manageable pieces to load onto the trailers and trucks after they had been cut down by chainsaws. We yanked tall weeds and weedy shrubs. Tony got going with the scythe. He was working his way up the hill as fast or faster with that than the guy with the weed whacker was working his way down the hill.

Suicide Hill
“Suicide Hill” – This is now cleared of bramble and vines. The obelisk is clean and there is a road up the hill.

Hal stayed for the whole five hours. He’s still a young buck. I was exhausted and we packed up and left at about 12:30. I have aches where I didn’t know I have muscles. Tony was looking for Ben-Gay and worried about his legs cramping on the truck ride home. I am up writing, because I hurt too badly to sleep. Gregory, whose nickname is Kool-Aid, was making some old man noises, too, by the time we left, but, he’s allowed. He worked hard, and he’s almost as old as I am. Even so, it felt good! We cleared a lot of brush and weeds. There is another section of the cemetery that is now accessible. Progress was made. We will be back.

The Friends of Mount Moriah provided hot dogs, chili, cider, lemonade, coffee, tea, water, cookies, apple crisp, just with a donation jar there. They had a whole basket of clean, new, work gloves available for anyone to use, who didn’t bring their own. Tools were provided, though I brought my own. We could not have asked for better weather. It was a gorgeous, sunny day!

Most of the people I asked had some distant relative buried there, but not all. One lady, who I was working beside for a time, said that both sets of her husband’s grandparents were buried there. They are in a section of the cemetery that has been unmaintained for so long that they have not been able to find the graves. They come regularly to volunteer to clean up. She told me that her son-in-law’s father passed away on Friday. So she came, driving all the way from Cape May, NJ, and did this in his memory. She said, “I think, it’s always good to have an intention.”

Let’s be about doing good works. Let’s be people of action!

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.  As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
– 2 Corinthians 9:6-9

Autumn 2012 Report

The new newsletter is available for download, printing and distribution. Please feel free to download and print this. It is in PDF format. It is designed to be printed back to back (duplex) on 8.5″ x 11″ paper then folded in half, so it can fit neatly in a church bulletin.

After over 23 years of serving on the street, we feel we are the cusp of something truly momentous. That is why Satan is attacking so hard. We need your support.

Here it is: Autumn 2012 Report

2 More Mount Moriah Cemetery Clean-Up Days

September 8, 2012
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Yeadon side

October 13, 2012
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Philadelphia side

We have been so busy with the court case and just putting one foot in front of the other, we haven’t made it to any of the clean-up days this summer. There are two left. Let’s see if we can’t get a contingent of workers there to keep our hand in play in this worthy ministry. Give me a call: 267-497-0268.

Mount Moriah Cemetery Clean Up Days

The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery are organizing several cleanup days over the next several months. We want to encourage participation in this worthy work. We would like to participate as a TKJ team. So shoot me an email or give a call if you plan on attending so we can coordinate and fellowship as we work. There are two sides to the cemetery, one on either side of the Cobbs Creek Parkway: Philadelphia and Yeadon.

The following is from the FOMMC website:

Join the Friends on May 19th from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM for a cleanup event at Mount Moriah Cemetery. Friends, relatives, historians and anyone interested in Mount Moriah Cemetery are asked to meet at the Yeadon entrance to the cemetery on Cobbs Creek Parkway starting at 8:00 AM.
The Friends and its partners are working to developing a sustainable future for the cemetery and the greater Mount Moriah community. Volunteers are needed to continue the work of clearing the cemetery of weeds, tall grass and debris. Individuals and groups of all sizes are welcome and encouraged to participate! While hand tools and gloves will be supplied, the Friends would like to remind you that volunteers are permitted to bring power equipment, such as mowers and weed whackers, with them to the event. If you will be bringing equipment, please let us know by sending an email to info@fommc.org so that we can better plan our activities.
The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery will coordinate future volunteer efforts and have scheduled additional cleanup events as follows:

June 9, 2012
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Philadelphia

July 14, 2012
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Yeadon

August 11, 2012
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Philadelphia

September 8, 2012
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Yeadon

October 13, 2012
8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Philadelphia

We hope that volunteers will consider returning to the cemetery to support the efforts to restore this iconic treasure.