Rising From the Ashes

It was an overreaction to state that our doors were closing. The truth is serving meals on the streets of Philadelphia was never intended to be the core of the ministry of The King’s Jubilee. It was just what the inmates at Graterford Prison set for me to do personally as I was starting the ministry. The prophetic ministry that has angered so many people was much more at the core of the ministry, as the goal of TKJ is not just to facilitate almsgiving, but to realize the King’s jubilee as Isaiah described it in his great jubilation song of chapter 61, which Jesus quoted in Luke 4, when he introduced his public ministry, and the ministry of all who would be his true disciples!

So people have gotten upset with me and say I shouldn’t be political and claim that the Gospel isn’t political. Well if the Gospel isn’t political, why were all the people enraged and wanted to stone Jesus? These were the political power brokers of Jerusalem. Yes. They were church people, just as they are today. Yes. they had no time for Jesus rearranging their lives and laying claim to what they mistakenly thought were their riches, just as they don’t today. The sounding of the “Jubal”, from which we even derive the word tuba, signified the Jubilee which meant that all the land and everything in it belonged to YHWH. The Law prescribed a radical redistribution of the land (the most basic capital in an agrarian society), freeing of all slaves, cancelling of all debts, and a rest for the land and for the draft animals.

This was not just for the Jews and to be forgotten. This was the core lesson of the whole Old Testament. The Jews never kept the sabbath years and the Jubilee. For this, they went into captivity. “These things were for our admonition.” Then Jesus quotes Isaiah’s Jubilee proclamation to initiate the new era in Luke 4. The early Christians took this seriously. That’s why they were martyred so regularly and why so much change took place. They went out and gave proper burials to the pagan poor and slaves whose bodies had been thrown on the trash heap, honoring every human being equally. They rescued babies who were left to die because they were the wrong gender or families had too many, and raised them as their own, respecting and having compassion for every life without discrimination no matter the cost. They honored and protected women, as they revered Mary as she who bore Jesus, establishing monogamy and chastity as the standard. Women were apostles and deacons and some say Priscilla was a priest. She is adorned so in an icon in a chapel under the Vatican. They were a mighty army of radical love; an army that died, but never killed. This is what Jesus called us to.

I am still a follower of Jesus. I have been abused by too many clergy to feel comfortable in church. I suffer with CPTSD from non-sexual clergy abuse. I don’t sort out saved and lost. Jesus forbade that, when he said, “Judge not.” and “Judge nothing before the time.” I don’t care if you or I are atheist today or tomorrow or not, or Muslim, or Jew, or Hindi, or any number of religions or philosophies with which I am not familiar. We are all subject to where we fell out of our mother’s wombs on this orb, as to what we believe, what nationality we are, what language is our primary, etc. It’s interesting, but nothing to be judged on. We welcome anyone to serve with us.

You will see on our site and on our literature that we serve in Jesus’ Name. The Hebrew sense of serving in someone’s name was not to be calling out their name all the time or even ever. It was to be serving according to their will and wishes. So what we mean is that we attempt to follow the Golden Rule. We serve people with dignity and respect. We do not look down upon those we are serving or make them feel as if they are anything but equals, brothers and sisters. We never use an institutional approach. Every one is special and unique. There are no cookie cutter solutions.

So, where from here?

We intend to continue to do and develop our services to those transitioning off of the street. We had hoped to not be serving people on the street by this time at any rate, hoping there would be no need. We already have our Clean Start and Kitchen Jumpstart programs that need continued support and participation. We also have our Rent Party program which we will be expanding and promoting as this is a vital need to help folks move off of the street. We will be developing a one on one or posse friendship program to help people make the move off the street. It can be very hard for people. Homelessness is not just the lack of walls in our city. It is its own subculture. People need something to replace that with if they are to succeed. This is where city volunteers come in.

I will be working, finishing my cookbook / nutritional guide for ministries serving the homeless. We have raised the bar over the years nutritionally, and would like to see others follow suit. I want to share this knowledge of the hows and whys and what nots, before they escape from memory.

Please join us in this next phase of The King’s Jubilee. We need your regular monthly support, even if it’s just $10. Use the Donate button below. Thank you. God bless you.




The artwork above is available at 24″x24″ for sale in a custom, handcrafted frame. It is entitled “Phoenix”. Most of my artwork will be on display Father’s Day weekend at Teich & McColgan Daylilies & Hostas, next to Peace Valley Winery. See you there!

Eggs Dropped Soup

You read the title right. It wasn’t a typo or a bad translation from Chinese. This isn’t a Chinese recipe at all. There is an old family farm not far from here. They grow vegetables and have a road side stand and they keep a lot of chickens, truly free range chickens. The master of the estate is in his 90s. He still works hard at it and gathers hundreds of eggs each day, not always in the henhouse. He carries them in the bucket back to the house. Sometimes he loses his grip, and some eggs get cracked. He was a child of the first Great Depression, so he doesn’t like to see anything going to waste. His daughter works the farm with him. Our daughter gets the eggs for her household there. She was looking for bargains to hard boil some for the folks on the street. One thing led to another.

chickens-1They started giving us their strictly fresh, cracked eggs. The ones that are intact enough to hard boil, we do so, and chill for the guys on Thursday night. They were happy to get some free range chicken eggs! A number of the men we serve are old time country boys. About a dozen were still fine and fresh, but too cracked to hard boil. I just used them as another ingredient in the soup for last Thursday.

Ingredients:

  • ~1-1/2 gallon of home made chicken broth
  • 10 pounds of ground chuck
  • 1-1/2 dozen free range chicken eggs
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • ~2 cubic inches fresh ginger root
  • 3 large Spanish onions
  • 2 pounds broccoli crowns cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 pound carrots sliced
  • avocado oil
  • 2 fennel, diced, fronds & all
  • 2 each, red, yellow, orange, sweet peppers
  • 2 pounds radishes, quartered
  • 2 pounds fresh baby spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons Albanian sage
  • 3 Tablespoons turmeric
  • a generous dousing of hot sauce
  • 35 twists of medium grind black pepper
  • water

Directions:

Heat up the chicken broth in the 22 quart stockpot. In a large, cast iron skillet, fry the ground chuck in batches of about 1-1/2 pounds at a time with a diced half onion and a garlic clove pressed onto it. Grate some of the ginger over each batch. Once the meat is almost done, add some of the eggs and mix around with your spatula. Keep frying until cooked, breaking up the hamburger , mixing all the spices and eggs in. Add to the pot. That doesn’t require constant attention, so keep chopping.
Slice the carrots and quarter the radishes and add them to the pot. Cut the tops off the fennel, dice and add to the pot. Cut up the broccoli and add to the pot.
Once you are done cooking the ground chuck, clean the skillet. Saute’ diced fennel bulbs and pepper and any remaining onion in avocado oil, until they start to caramelize. This releases the umami. Add to the pot. You may need to add some water. At some point, you should transfer the stockpot into the double-boiler, canner set-up, to prevent scorching.  Cut up the spinach and stir into the soup. Add hot water if necessary. Add the remaining spices. Add hot sauce to taste. Don’t overwhelm it. We always have a bottle on site for people to add it themselves. You can always add it. You can’t take it out.
Let it heat in the double boiler until you need to load it into the Igloo container to take it to the venue where you are going to serve it.

This soup took all day to make. It was well worth it! The people loved it! I saw something I have never seen before, in over 25 years serving food in the parks. The only cup of soup that someone tasted and abandoned, because it did not suit them, was claimed by someone else after we ran out! Talk about not letting things go to waste!

This was the soup that we served along with Cranford’s Cocoa Madness and Trooper’s Spaghetti and loads of sandwiches and iced tea and bananas and oranges and pastries and peanuts in the shell. Over 150 people showed up. No one went away hungry. We gave three men rides home in the TKJ-mobile, two others by way of SEPTA fare money. Two of the men we dropped off are faithful volunteers who were going to be helping a man move off of the street into permanent housing on Saturday. We sent an Operation: Clean Start bucket and a Kitchen Jumpstart bag along with them. We need to gather more household goods for him and for two other men who recently moved into new digs. Please check our Facebook page or call me to see what they can use.

I am going to state the obvious here.

All of this cooking and serving and gathering of things, and other ingredients, time, and car, etc.,  costs money. You could have a share in this ministry by donating on an automatic monthly basis. I am tired of people telling me how special I am for what I do. I really can’t help myself. I am not that special. I can only give away what other people give me. I am just asking you to feed my addiction. It is you who will be blessed. I pray that God will bless you mightily.




 

TKJ’s 25th Anniversary

markerlogoFebruary marks the 25th anniversary of The King’s Jubilee. I dug out a bunch of the old newsletters and other literature today. The hand traced logo is from a newsletter I did in marker in 1996 after people complained about the print quality of my printer. In 1994, our entire annual budget was less that $4,000. With that we served over 9,000 meals in Philadelphia, Pottstown and Stowe, and  led a Monday Evening Bible Institute, two prison Bible studies, established a Spanish ministry in Graterford Prison; printed an inmate newsletter; established a new homeless ministry in Upper Darby; provided personal care kits via our Project: Lydia program in the Northampton Co. Women’s Prison. I have never received a salary for this ministry. I have basically worked at it pretty much as a full time volunteer. I started to write another paragraph about the various ministries we have done or attempted through the years, but decided to do it as a bullet list, instead. I’m not sure of all the dates.

  • Wednesday, General population Bible study, Graterford Prison, 1989 – 1996
  • Saturday, Intake block Bible study, Graterford Prison, 1989 -1996
  • Christmas morning at Graterford Prison with Bethann & April, 1989 – 1995
  • Serving hot meals and sandwiches to the homeless and poor in Center City Philadelphia, along with clothing, blankets & toiletries. 1987 – present
  • All day Music Festivals with free food for the poor and homeless and the community. We called them “Victory Parties”, because we were sounding the trumpet, to declare Jesus’ victory over homelessness and poverty, in the early nineties. Twice in Philadelphia, Pottstown, Phoenixville, & Upper Darby.
  • Film with discussion series on various social issues, held in different church halls.
  • TKJ Monday Evening Bible Institute, 1993 – 1996
  • Established Spanish language ministry in Graterford Prison. It continues to this day, although not under our leadership. We were just the catalyst to open the door.
  • Inmate Correspondence Discipleship Course
  • TKJ Inmate edited newsletter
  • Sunday evening support prayer meetings / house fellowships in East Greenville, Pottstown & Upper Darby, PA & Columbia, SC.
  • “Clothesline” free clothing ministry in East Greenville. We facilitated it, found its new home and ran it for a little while. April designed its logo when she was in high school. They still use it. Peace Mennonite Church still operates it 20 years later.
  • Project: Lydia, personal care items in hand made drawstring bags distributed to all of the women inmates in the Northampton County Prison. Only for a few months. Then they disallowed us.
  • Serving hot meals and sandwiches, etc., in Pottstown and Stowe, 1990 – 199?
  • Serving hot meals and sandwiches, etc., in Columbia, SC, 1991 – 199? (We got it started, then entrusted it to a local church. We are not interested in empire building.)
  • Serving meals to the homeless and poor in Upper Darby. 1992 – 1996
  • Power Packs, relatively non-perishable snack bags for folks to take with them for the next day, 1992 – present
  • Mount Moriah Cemetery clean up and restoration efforts.
  • A couple of urban / suburban exchange potluck dinners.
  • Ugly Quilts
  • Operation: Clean Start providing cleaning supplies and equipment to those moving off the street into permanent housing. 2011 – present.
  • Gathering and delivering furniture, dishes, bedding, etc., to those who have moved off of the street. 1989 – present.
  • St. Nicholas coin distribution Dec. 6, 1998 – present
  • Occasionally taking folks home for a weekend break from the city or finding someone a home to get off the street, 1989 – present
  • Providing music while we serve in the park. This has happened intermittently and is always desirable.
  • Distributing socks & underwear to ~200 at the Tindley Temple UMC’s Soup Kitchen’s Christmas Lunch, 2012 on.
  • Rent Parties & Virtual Rent Parties 2013 – present
  • Stocking cupboards with staples and basic utensils when people move off the street. 1995 – present. We are launching an organized program to do that, now, called “Jubilee Pantry”.

I’m sure I forgot some things. That’s OK. Through the years, we have also helped several homeless students buy books and computers to complete their studies. One man presented me with his graduation program and a thank you note when he graduated cum laude as a nurse. We have helped other front lines ministries with materials, computers and funds. Once we even delivered a used, electric golfcart to Ora Love so she could get around the project with all of her books and equipment to teach her students.

During Mayor Rendell’s years, we were investigated by undercover police at least three times that I was aware of. I told them that we were willing to go to jail before we would quit, because we had to obey God rather than men. Fast Eddy Rendell thought that the homeless were like dogs and that if we would only stop feeding them, they would go to someone else’s city. I assured him on the three occasions when I met him that no one was on the street because the food was that good! Since then, I have been told that my soup is better than what they serve at The Four Seasons. I still stand by my statement. We have been chased from one park to another. Policemen have harrassed us. Once I was told that Fairmount Park was private property . I took that officer’s name and badge number. He got a civics lesson from his commanding officer the next day. We have witnessed knife fights and fist fights and one shooting. Brownie shot Peaches in the butt with a 22. Most thought she had it coming. The two of them have been more or less happily married for over 15 years now. Ain’t love grand!

Once, the Fruit of Islam at Graterford put a hit out on me, and some other inmates put out a counter hit to protect me, stating that if anything happened to me, Nation of Islam inmates were going to die. They apparently circulated my photo around Phila. Les Bucher & I were coming home from serving one night and we were being ambushed, with a car in front and a car behind and a man in a long coat in the summertime with a big gun in his pocket came running up to Les’s side of the van. He started to raise the gun. He spots me in the “shotgun” position, and says, “O, it’s you, Cranford. Have a nice night!” A signal was given and the car in front moved and we were allowed to leave. Another time, I was taken at gun point from my workplace by an ex-offender so I could get him admitted to a drug rehab while he was high as a kite. Interesting times.

Working in prison and on the street changed me and changed my theology. This has alarmed my old fundamentalist friends. However, a theology that bears bad fruit in the real world is invalid. If it leads me to see my brothers and sisters as “other” or inferior or “market” and not simply as somebody’s children, who are trying to muddle through as best they can figuring it out as they go like I am, then I don’t need it. “Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.” (Kahlil Gibran)

Through the years, I worked at various jobs to support myself and my family. I always needed something with a flexible schedule so that I could do this work. Finally, I started “Come and See” Icons, Books & Art in January 2001 thinking it would be flexible and could grow and support the ministry. I was doing this out of our half twin in East Greenville, making the icons in a tiny space in the basement and finishing them in a tiny spare bedroom, which was also the office and mailing center. We finally decided to take the leap and move closer to church, to a place with an outbuilding that we hoped to house the business in in May 2006. It required major rebuilding. I set to work to do that. It took money. Some money came in, but then was delayed for a year. By the time we received it I had serious health issues, so I could not do as much. The business also got interrupted repeatedly by my health issues, an infection on my spine, then reaction to the antibiotic that nearly killed me; six months later migrainous strokes. Then debilitating strokes for three months, etc. Finally, the business went under in July of 2013, after never really showing a profit. A major flaw in my business plan was that my main competition was monks.

In 2012, we had to sue Mayor Nutter and the City of Philadelphia, after he decreed that serving free food in the parks to needy people was illegal. We won an injunction and that decision has become a landmark for other groups to fight and win against similar oppressive regulations across the country.

Dr. Jerry Burke & Dr. Peter Psomiadis organized the Hummus Open Golf Tounament. We had the 2nd Annual in 2012 where we debuted the most unusual trophy in sport, The Garbanzo. In 2013, we took it up another notch and introduced commemorative tournament hats.

tkjRaffle
From a 1996 Newsletter, offer still good!

We have been featured a lot in the press lately, since Charli Riggle encouraged me to do a Gofundme to save our home from foreclosure in conjunction with the almsgiving Facebook group drive she coordinated. She started the press connections as well. It eventually made it onto both the very local and the national scene. We raised over $45,000 and were able to save our home from foreclosure as well as a neighbor’s, for now. We raised the profile of the ministry and gained a few more monthly donors. We need many more to make this truly sustaining. I have been essentially working two full time jobs for nearly 25 years. No wonder I had a dozen or more strokes! We can end homelessness in Philadelphia. We need your support to be able to work at it to do that, without having to worry about not having insurance for Bethann and losing the house again in another year. Please make a monthly pledge. It’s easy and automatic on Paypal. If everyone who liked us on Facebook would give $10/month, we would have more than we have ever had to work with, ever. That is a McDonald’s meal (blecch!) skipped for you, which would allow us to move forward, full time to develop the ministry in some marvelous ways! We cannot do this ministry without you. We just give your alms away.

God bless you!
Peace,

Cranford Coulter
for The King’s Jubilee




Monthly Donations are Easier Now

The King’s Jubilee is an independently incorporated religious charitable organization in the state of Pennsylvania. We rely on donations from individuals and various churches to support the work which we do. With the state of the economy, and the situation in the City of Philadelphia, that work has increased. We currently are serving over 200 people on Thursday evenings. We are actually providing them the equivalent of two meals each: a hot meal to consume then, and a bag lunch for the next day.

We also help people when they move off of the street. We supply them with a full complement of cleaning supplies. We also find furniture, dishes, bedding,etc., to help them set up household so they can make a go of it. We stay in contact with those that wish to, to help them acclimate to their new surroundings. It can be a big adjustment. We also help some with their rent from time to time. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

As I have been typing this, the sheriff came to my door and served me with our foreclosure papers. We may soon join the ranks of the homeless and this ministry will end. We have been living from crisis to crisis with my illnesses until my business was no longer viable. Trying to do the business and the ministry was just too much. Then infections and hospitalizations and 30 t0 50 little strokes. Bethann lost her job, etc. We have had to pay $1100/month to make sure we had insurance. What we needed was full time support from lots of monthly donors. What we need now is a rescue, then full time support from lots of monthly donors.

The Donate button has been upgraded by Paypal to accept automatic monthly donations. You may go back to the home page or to the bottom of this post. Click on the yellow Donate button and make a large one time rescue donation, please! Then come back to the page; click on it again and make a reasonable monthly donation.

Thank you. May God bless you as you bless the poor in Jesus’ Name.




Special Delivery

On Sunday, I delivered our last Operation: Clean Start kit to a man who recently moved off of the street into an apartment. I had brought one down for him on Thursday, but I was unaware that another man was going to meet me to receive his. We had delivered a kitchen set and several other pieces of furniture a couple of weeks earlier to the man who showed up unexpected for a Clean Start Kit. We had failed to deliver it then because we had so many missed cues that when we finally made the delivery we failed to grab the kit. We were going to deliver a leatherette couch and loveseat to him as well, but the stairwell to his apartment was too narrow, so Anthony found someone else who needed them and he and Uncle John got them to him.

At any rate, Carter needed a ride into Phila. to play bass at his church in Northern Liberties. I know some of the people who go there from the coalition of those serving on the street. I did not see any of them there. I endured the performance / service. Then Carter and I delivered the Clean Start Kit in center city to Howard. He was very grateful. Another man saw it and put in his request. He is due to move into his apartment in two weeks. So we need more Clean Start Kits. Anthony just called me while I was writing this to tell me that another fellow just moved off the street and needs living room furniture. Howard could use a microwave. So, if you can help us out with any of these, it would be greatly appreciated. We will figure out how to pick it up and deliver it. It’s what we do.

May God bless you.

Another Operation: Clean Start kit delivered

Last night, I loaded up the newly redecorated TKJ-mobile with boxes of various household goods, dishes, groceries, a microwave and a Clean Start kit and set off for the Overbrook section of Philadelphia. Darren had moved in a few months ago, but he had just let me know a week or so ago. He has asthma and part of the apartment is carpeted, so he asked for a vacuum cleaner and cleaning supplies. I told him about Operation: Clean Start, so we had the cleaning supplies covered. The vacuum cleaner might be more of a stretch. He called me on Tuesday to tell me that Food stamps had messed up a file, so he did not receive any and would not get any until they fixed that. (Of course, thanks to the GOP sequester, food stamps are severely reduced at any rate.) Could I bring him some food?

It turned out he did not need the microwave, but one of his neighbors did. I cleared out The King’s Jubilee emergency pantry of canned goods and pasta for him. Then I handed him $100 in cash for him to use at the thrift store or grocery store to fill in the gaps. Hopefully he will be able to find a vacuum and get some more food with that. Darren was very thankful. He is a kind soul. He is glad to have a secure place to call home after living under a bridge for seven years.

If you support this ministry by your prayers, with your donations or with your service, you helped him make it through those years. God bless you.

There are many more like Darren who we need to help find a way home.  I need to add that we are not finished in our relationship with Darren or the others who have moved off of the street. We continue to serve and to aid in skills development and community integration. This is not just a Thursday night ministry. But to keep up this level of ministry, we need more, regular, pledged support. Please pray and consider what God would have you do to help us end the shame of homelessness in Philadelphia.

Immediate Opportunity for Service

This is an intense week. We are in the middle of helping one man move out of an apartment and into shared housing to avoid living on the street. We helped with the Communaute Positive banquet, for last night. We are trying to gather household goods and supplies for another man who just moved off of the street into permanent housing.
This afternoon the moving party continues for boxes and small items , unless someone comes forward with a truck. We finish with the furniture tomorrow morning, when we get the pick-up back.
Tomorrow evening, we hope to deliver an Operation Clean Start kit, cupboard starter kit, vacuum cleaner, dishes, cooking utensils and pots and pans, to Darren, that is, if we can scare these things up or afford to buy them.
We have about $40 in the account.

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.

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

Another Flawless Performance

TKJ-mobile
TKJ-mobile

I was not quite up to par on Thursday, recovering from some sort of bug, so I stayed home. I made a simple soup. It was turkey with green beans and yams. I packed the TKJ-mobile. Uncle John Haggerty picked it up at our place, picked up cups at Giant and continued to St. Philip’s. There, he, Brian Simpson, and Deacon Herman Acker loaded up the sandwiches that had been delivered there and continued to Philadelphia. They were joined in Philadelphia by some of the usual suspects from Holy Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Elkins Park, and from St. Stephen OCA Cathedral, and from Holy Ascension Antiochian Orthodox Church, Downingtown, PA. They set up the hand-washing station and the food along the benches. They got their gloves on, said a prayer and began to serve. The food was all served in an orderly fashion. Everybody was served. People conversed with one another. They cleaned up the area. The next day I asked John how everything went. He told me, “Flawless!”

In addition to the food to serve, some groceries to give away were in the TKJ-mobile (mostly tea bags). I also sent an Operation: Clean Start bucket along to give to Anthony, since he just moved off of the street. Praise God! He is renting a room in a house. He is not doing this through any social service or government agency. He is not receiving any government subsidy to do this. He is trying to make his way without becoming entangled in and dependent on the “social work industry.” He has his Microsoft certifications from the Community College of Philadelphia, having graduated at the top of his class. He does wiring work and some other part time jobs. He is looking for a job working with computers. He is also a bicycle mechanic. So if you have a steady job for Anthony, give me a call, and I’ll put you in touch. One of Anthony’s part time jobs is closed for the month of August so we are helping him out to make his rent. If you want to help with this, you may either mail a check or use the Donate button. He is a faithful volunteer with The King’s Jubilee and a peacemaker on the street.

In the hearing in federal court we learned that there are about 170 homeless people who live on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. We helped Anthony by replacing his bicycle when it was destroyed by a hit and run driver who also injured him. This helped keep him on track to move off of the street. At the same time we helped him keep his cell phone turned on, so he could keep his medical care on track and get back to work as soon as possible. We will continue to stand by Anthony and he will continue to stand by us. Won’t you also please stand by us as we work to not just serve food on the parkway, but to end homelessness in the City of Brotherly Love! Please make a monthly donation.

That’s 1 home, 169 to go.