Rent Party on May 19! CANCELED

DUE TO UNDERWHELMING RESPONSE, THE RENT PARTY HAS BEEN CANCELED. THIS WEBSITE WILL BE DISAPPEARING SOON, AS WELL. ONE CAN ONLY TAKE SO MUCH DISCOURAGEMENT BEFORE IT BECOMES CRYSTAL CLEAR ONE HAS NO COMMUNITY.

SO, ENJOY YOUR FASCISM UNDER THE ORANGE HAIRED CHIMPANZEE.

Our other rent parties were roaring successes and great fun! We need to do it again. Subdeacon Vincent Kaufmann was called on Easter Sunday evening by the bank he worked for and told to come in early the next morning, to get fired. They told him they had given him impossible assignments, but he had nevertheless failed. At any rate, Vince and Lydia have two daughters to provide for, a mortgage, debts to pay, etc. It would be great if we could help lighten their load to help them through this time until they get their feet under them again. Lydia has been homeschooling the girls. They each have very special learning styles. Both Vince and Lydia are looking for work. 70% of the proceeds of the rent party will go into a fund to help the Kaufmanns.

The second recipient has had multiple health setbacks while trying to get diabetes under control. It interfered with work and ability to pay for car repairs and insurance. This is a vicious circle. Now, able to go back to work, the $300 balance on the repair bill and the ongoing car insurance are impediments. So 20% of what comes in will cover these expenses, until taken care of.

The remaining 10% will go to help others, as the needs arise.

The Party: There is a $10/ person suggested donation for admittance. That covers food and soft drinks. We will have vegan and gluten free as well as meat dishes. Beer and cheap wine will be available for additional donations. Kevin Paige & Co. will be providing live music. It will take place on Friday, May 19, 6pm – 11pm, at 309 and 310 South 5th Street, Perkasie, PA 18944.

If you can’t come to the party, but you want to make a donation for it, use the yellow Donate button to the left and designate it for the “Rent Party”. Thanks!

If you are coming, please call me and let me know or RSVP on the Facebook event page. My number is 267-497-0268

Thank you so much!

If you want to learn more about rent parties, there is a link on the left.

“The less I have to worry about, The more time I got for smiling”

This is a catchy little tune by Kristian Bush. It fits in fine with Moses’, Isaiah’s, Buddha’s, Jesus’, Confucius’, Muhammed’s, the Dalai Lama’s, Pope Francis’, St. Basil’s, St. John Chrysostom’s, St. Marie of Paris’, etc., view of a proper stewardship of earthly goods.

Enjoy!



Flowers for Bunny

I didn’t post what music I was listening to as I made soup yesterday on Facebook. The kitchen was silent. There were no good choices. I was in my kitchen while Brownie was in Phila. funeralizing his wife, “Bunny”. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of a volunteer and supporter who knows how to do such things, The King’s Jubilee was able to provide flowers for the funeral. I have known Brownie for over 20 years. I met him in prison, then caught up with him on the street. He and Bunny, Marilyn Ledger, have been faithfully married for over 14 years by mutual declaration and common law. He stuck with her and cared for her through her battle with cancer. He came out to ask me for prayer for her in December. Last week, when she died, he was beside himself with grief. He had no money for flowers for his beloved and wanted to make sure there were flowers. He remembered the few times that I drove him and Bunny home on cold nights and was so grateful. Memory Eternal.

Pray for Brownie that he will find a way to move forward. Another thing, we need new dishes for him, preferably unbreakable ones. He smashed all his when he got the call from the hospital that Bunny had died in her sleep.

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.

Help The King’s Jubilee Raise a Royal Ruckus!

It’s a funny thing finding ways to fund a ministry. Sure, some ministries are well funded by people with big hearts and deep pockets. Others are shoestring funded by people who give sacrificially out of very little. I want to tell you how you can help The King’s Jubilee today, and offer you a little incentive to do so.

But first, let me tell you a story. I first heard about The King’s Jubilee early this year through the Temple University Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and when I read Cranford’s vision for a cemetery for the forgotten…well, I was excited. I immediately added The King’s Jubilee to the Orthodox Philly website, and told my wife, Alison, and pastor about the ministry.

I intended to start volunteering to serve right away. But then one week turned into two, and two turned into four.

Then a friend from several states away texted me to tell me about Mayor Nutter’s outdoor food ban, and I was outraged. Nothing like a little humanitarian civil disobedience to get a person off their lazy seat!

Alison and I started serving at The King’s Jubilee in late March or early April, and we were hooked. We love the people on the parkway, and developing friendships with the men and women there has been both challenging and encouraging. And thanks to the mayor’s ban, we sensed an added stress among the people, and fear that their source of sustenance would be ripped from their hands —perhaps literally—which helped solidify our solidarity with those whom we served.

Alison and I have now caught the vision. I’m not sure I would know what to do with my Thursday nights without The King’s Jubilee.  It’s no longer simply about civil disobedience for me, it’s about doing what is within my means to help my neighbors.

So back to funding a ministry. Food isn’t free, at least not until we set up on those two park benches on the parkway and start handing it out for free. It takes time and money to serve these men and women properly and with dignity. And raising the funds for this sort of thing is not easy.

We just had a great opportunity land in our laps this week, and it’s for five days only. I want to give you some hip-hop music, if you can spare just $9.99 for The King’s Jubilee.

Let me explain. I grew up with a music genius named Mike Walker in the suburbs of Bakersfield, California. As a white, skateboarding suburbanite, I loved rap music. I grew up on the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, and A Tribe Called Quest (all east coasters!), and from a young age wanted to be a famous rapper.

Well, I never quite hit the highest levels of stardom (hehe), but I’ve had a good run at rapping nonetheless. In high school, Mike and I started a rap group called Royal Ruckus in California. It was meant to be a joke originally, but the more people took us seriously, the more we took our music seriously.

Pretty soon, we graduated from the living room to the garage to weekend concerts to airplanes and tours. We eventually inked a record deal with Flicker Records and moved to Nashville. Now, we’re proudly independent, but still making music.

Our music can be serious, often quirky, and always fun. We’re not your typical rap music. This is not gangster, and really, we aren’t from the streets. But our lyrics are honest to who we are, and our music is eclectically cross-genre. We hope there is a little something for everyone to enjoy.

We currently have three records available, Self-Titled (2002), Pocket Lint & Spare Change (2008), and in March 2011, we released Rumors of Our Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. Rumors was recorded all across the country, from Nashville to Atlanta to Los Angeles to Hilo, Hawaii, and right up in North Philly, just a block off Broad Street.

This is where you come in. For five days only, from Monday, July 30 to Friday, August 3, 100% of the purchase price of our MP3 album through Bandcamp will go to The King’s Jubilee.

The record is only $9.99 for an immediate 14-song download. Every single penny of your purchase will go to The King’s Jubilee to further the ministry to the homeless men and women of Philadelphia.

Would you help this week? Please consider buying the MP3 record for yourself, or a teenager you know, or a friend who might like it? Take a minute to preview the record if you aren’t convinced. And share, share, share this all over your Facebook page and on Twitter. Please help us with this important fundraiser!

http://royalruckus.bandcamp.com/

http://about.me/justjamey

O the Indignity!

Sundaes & cones with the works

Dinner & Music

Last night we had a picnic in the park. Imagine that! Mayor Nutter says it hurts him to see the indignity of his fellow black men standing in line to receive food outdoors. His regulation makes it clear he doesn’t see any indignity in manufacturers giving away free samples to people with money, in the parks; or companies having events with buffet lines in the parks; or city employees lining up to buy hotdogs at lunch wagons, then eating them in the parks. These are all dignified activities.

Somehow the dignity level drops when the profit motive is eliminated and only our common humanity remains. That line from Princess Bride comes to mind for Mayor Nutter and his use of the word dignity: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

So, last night we served all beef franks on buns with the full complement of your choice of ketchup, mustard, relish, peanut butter, hot sauce. We had home made vegetarian baked beans (secret ingredients: cocoa, curry & allspice), macaroni salad with feta cheese, iced tea, lemonade, apple pie, peach cobbler, apple crisp, brownies, ice cream sundaes or cones, ice cold bottles of water, peanuts, hard boiled eggs, oranges, and Bob’s home made cookies.

Our own Alison Bennett was joined by Mark Broscoe of Food Not Bombs to provide live music for the event. It was “old-timey” with a single microphone. Beautifully done! It almost made us forget that we were in Phila. for a bit.

We also delivered an Operation: Clean Start kit to a fellow along with some dishes for his new apartment. He moved off of the street after many years. We are happy to help him make the transition and hope to stay in touch to help him further on his journey.

Julie, John & that’s me, in the red hat.

A special shout out goes to Lauren at Starbucks  on Callowhill who rescued us. Jamey forgot to bring his special hotdog tongs he had just purchased for the occasion. He stopped by Starbucks and told her what we were doing. She was happy to aid and abet in committing our indignity. She loaned us a pair of tongs for the event. Speaking of “happy to aid and abet,” it seems everywhere I go in the TKJ-mobile with the large stickers that proclaim “SERVING THE HOMELESS IS NOT A CRIME”, people motion to me to roll down my window and shout encouraging things to me about taking Mayor Nutter down. Or they ask, “What IS he thinking?” or “Is this still America?” It feels very strange to me. I have never been on the popular side of any issue before. I have not received a single negative comment on this one. Republicans, Democrats, anarchists, Libertarians, Socialists, Orthodox, Evangelical, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindi, Jews, atheists, everyone whom I have encountered cannot fathom what is going on in the mayor’s head on this and thinks it is profoundly wrong.

Yes. I did mention peanut butter among the condiment choices for the hotdogs. I noticed toward the end of the evening that no one had utilized this amazing option. I felt the need to demonstrate. I placed a hotdog into a bun and slathered a generous portion of Simply Jif Creamy to one side of the hotdog. I then squirted a thin line of Heinz Ketchup on the other side of the hotdog. I showed it around with a flourish, then I proceeded to devour it. It was marvelous! And completely undignified!

Alison Sailer Bennett & Mark Broscoe with their new promoter.

 

Please consider using the Paypal button on the upper right to make whatever donation is right for you to help this ministry continue. May God bless you as you bless the poor in Jesus’ Name.