Missions Committee

We at St. James’s seek to share the Good News of Jesus and to serve others within our parish, in our local community, and, through our missions program, the larger community and “all nations.” The Mission Fund was established to support dedicated people and organizations who, in the name of Christ, work in such areas as theological education, community development, housing, medical care, hunger issues, etc. The Fund is allocated a fixed percentage of total parish pledge income each year. The Mission Committee has tried to choose ministries that reflect the concerns of all parishioners.

Contact Mission Committee Chair

Missions Fundraising Policy


How Missions are Chosen

One of the functions of the St. James’s Missions Committee is to administer the Mission Fund. The Mission Fund is allocated a percentage (5.5%) of the parish’s total overall pledge income, or approximately $12,000-$13,000 per year.  Each year the Missions Committee invites the parish to suggest ministries to support over the following funding cycle (missions are generally supported for a 3 year period.)

Each Fall the Mission Committee asks for suggestions from the parish as to ministries to fund the following year. We are looking for missions that:

  • have an existing connection with our parishioners
  • are smaller ministries where our contribution can make an appreciable difference
  • allow us to maintain a balance between ministries with different emphases
  • are explicitly Christian (or sometimes inter- faith) in motivation

The Vestry gives final approval to missions selections.


Missions Funded in 2018

Rosebud Episcopal Mission exists to serve the Sicangu Oyate Lakota, the Burnt Thigh Nation of the Lakota peoples. This service includes a focus on restoring hope in an area that often lacks hope through service to the community beyond the borders of our individual churches. The Rosebud Reservation has high unemployment and is one of the poorest counties in the United States. The people are plagued by high alcohol and drug use, including a methamphetamine epidemic; by high rates of medical problems, including diabetes and cancer; by low education; and a lack of government support despite repeated treaties between sovereign nations. Because of these factors and more, there is a distinct lack of hope for many of the people here. Thus, the Mission works to restore hope through actively and publicly living the Gospel of love proclaimed by Jesus. A few of their services include:

• A Discretionary Fund, which helps people with food, propane, gasoline and general assistance

• GLORY (God Loves Our Rosebud Youth), a unique Youth Program focusing on children ages 5-11 which teaches Christian tradition and culture alongside Lakota tradition and culture;

• Our Firewood for the Elders Program, which provides free firewood to elders and families who need firewood for heat during our harsh winters;

Mercy Air: South Africa/ Paul and Cathy Middleton:  Established in 1991 Mercy Air is an independent Christian-humanitarian aid aviation service. The organization provides safe, professional and cost effective aviation service to the wider humanitarian aid and mission community in southern Africa.  The goal of Mercy Air is to provide lasting aid to victims of natural and human disasters in the southern African region in a swift and un-bureaucratic manner. From its base, Mercy Air operates into the southern African region, namely Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Madagascar. When not flying Paul Middleton is responsible for flight operations, publicity and is Mercy Air's Safety Officer. Cathy, who is a registered Nurse and Midwife works part time at Africa School of Missions which is a bible college preparing missionaries for overseas service. She teaches in their School of Health and is part of a team which visits rural clinics during the week. She is also helps with the hospitality ministry that Mercy Air runs.

B-SAFE program, Boston and environs is a youth program of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the South End.  B-SAFE (Bishop’s Summer Academic and Fun Enrichment) contributes to the health of underserved communities by helping school age young people along the path to successful adulthoods. We help to sponsor a youth Counselor in Training. At 6 B-SAFE sites, teens lead activities, chaperone field trips, and make sure everyone is safe and having fun. The demand for jobs with B-SAFE far exceeds their ability to hire teens. This year, they had 241 applicants for 132 positions, a number they are struggling to maintain in year three of Massachusetts’ minimum wage increase. The young people they work with are primarily Latino/a (43%) and African American (45.%). Many are recent immigrants who speak English as a second language. All are economically disadvantaged and the vast majority live in public housing. While some teens receive some funding through a City program, St. Stephen’s Youth Programs funds others directly, in part to hire teens who have turned 18, are court involved, and/or are not in school.

P&A B. are working with a nonprofit international development organization that, in their own words, seeks a “transformed society of inclusion, empowerment and dignity for people with disabilities to live a full and active life”.  This organization is unique in that it is able to operate as openly Christian in a nearly entirely Muslim country.  They will be working with day centers that provide vocational and lifeskills, and their work will include curriculum development, teacher training, human rights and advocacy projects and campaigns, and seeking to help the organization expand the services they provide. Currently the only supports in place are for day habilitation services for people up to 30 years old and the P&A would like to help them expand that age range, or provide a system of supports and training for families of people who age out of the system. They also plan to assist people with disabilities to find jobs by either establishing a micro-enterprise or by establishing internships among community businesses.

Nuevo Amanecer, East Boston, MA: This initiative of the Lutheran Church seeks to create a network of base communities among the largely Latino, immigrant community of East Boston that equips individuals to connect their Christian faith with their desire for a more just world and to empower them to transform their communities through love, service, and social change. The congregation has also been instrumental in the formation of the East Boston Interfaith Council, a group of congregations that is working to secure more affordable housing in East Boston in order to stabilize the rapidly increasing rental rates and keep our families in the neighborhood.  At this time, Nuevo Amanecer (New Dawn) has a small group of families that gathers every Saturday for children’s Bible classes and women’s fellowship. This effort is being led by Britta Meiers Carlson, a minister of the Lutheran Church and assisted by Reed Carlson.

Ministries of Aides International, Inc. Haiti-- MAII currently assists 7,000 impoverished Haitian children and seeks to expand to help many more in need.  They have constructed and operate orphanages, run a vocational school for the teens and adults in the city of Port-Margot, and operate kindergarten, primary and secondary schools.  Additionally they provide a wide range of material aid including food, shelter, medicine, clothing, school supplies, uniforms, toys, etc.  MAII runs annual health fairs and is in the process of building a modest medical center in Port-Margot and a small pharmacy to help alleviate the burden of health care concerns in these communities.  It is currently working on the “Build a School Build a Future” project, planning to build three schools in cities that currently have none.  MAII has operated since 1981 and is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit affiliated with Grace Tabernacle Church of God.

Kenya Self-Help Project—Girls Empowerment:  This comprehensive girls empowerment and AIDS prevention program is a model for strengthening self-esteem and elevating the social role of women.  The program trains teachers and organizes school-based Girls Clubs.  During weekly meetings, girls learn decision-making skills and receive accurate reproductive health and AIDS education.  To reduce absences, girls receive Dignity Kits containing underwear and locally-made reusable sanitary napkins.  The program also supports a training program in sustainable agriculture and builds gender-sensitive latrines for girls at partner schools.  The purpose of this program is to raise girls' self-esteem by keeping them in school and giving them the tools for self-empowerment.

Ruth and Jim Padilla DeBorst –The DeBorsts are St. James’s parishioners in Costa Rica. They work primarily with the Institute for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education (IAPCHE) and with Seeds of New Creation in El Salvador.  IAPCHE is a learning community of students, professors, and institutions in Latin America that are contextualizing a Kingdom worldview in the area of higher education and in their professions and are intentionally connected to their local churches for the transformation of their societies. Seeds of New Creation seeks to nurture a ministry home, Casa Semillas, as a community of hospitality and mutual learning in service of the Christian community and its mission in El Salvador, establish and strengthen bonds, ministry networks and opportunities of collaboration, and design, promote and carry out the training of transformational leaders whose service responds to a biblical perspective of life and the world. 

The Outdoor Church—Cambridge is a ministry to homeless men and women in the Harvard and Porter Square areas. The core of the mission is the outdoor prayer service held at 9:00 AM in Porter Square every Sunday, regardless of season or weather.  Outdoor Church volunteers join people who are homeless and housed in ecumenical worship and pastoral care. There is also a Thursday service at Albany St. Shelter at 6:00 PM. Three days a week, lay and ordained ministers carry sandwiches, pastry, coffee, juice and socks around the squares, where communion and pastoral care is also offered.  The Outdoor Church is also a partner in the Friday Café at First Church Congregational in Harvard Square, a space of hospitality, warmth, and community. Guests can come in, relax, enjoy conversation or quiet time by themselves, and partake of warm soup, fresh bread, and other foods donated by local businesses.

Partakers—Partakers is a prison education program committed to advancing restorative justice, rehabilitation, and the transformation of both prisoners and society.   Its mission is to reduce recidivism through education and civic engagement.  Its major program is the College Behind Bars (CBB) that serves people in prison in five Massachusetts state prisons through education and mentoring while they are incarcerated. There are three major CBB programs to assist people in prison in pursuing a college degree through the Boston University Prison Education Program (BUPEP).   Partakers is also a partner with the new Tufts Prison Initiative.  The St. James’s prison ministry group has worked through Partakers for over ten years.


2018 Missions Committee Annual Report

During 2018, St. James’s parishioners continued involvement in a number of local ministries funded through the Missions Fund.  Parishioners continue to make sandwiches for the Outdoor Church each month, now under the coordination of Suzanne Hill, while others are active in the St. James’ Prison Ministry.  Several parishioners participated in the B-SAFE  (Bishop’s Summer Academic and Fun Enrichment) anniversary celebration in the summer at Carson Beach.

In July we were thrilled to host a well-attended forum with our supported missionaries serving people with disabilities in North Africa.   P. and A. are working with a nonprofit international development organization that, in their own words, seeks a “transformed society of inclusion, empowerment and dignity for people with disabilities to live a full and active life”.    It was fascinating and inspiring to hear about their experiences and challenges working in a nearly entirely Muslim country and to have the chance to pray with them in person.

In addition to providing educational opportunities and supporting our missionaries in a variety of ways, the Missions Committee administers the Missions Fund. For over thirty years our parish has supported dedicated people and organizations who, in the name of Christ, work in such areas as theological education, community development, housing, medical care, and church planting.   We believe that support for and involvement in missions is our response to God's grace and love for us.  God calls us to care for the spiritual, physical, and social needs of others and to join in the restoration of all people to God's self.

The Mission Fund is allocated a percentage (5.5%) of the parish’s total overall pledge income.   In 2018 we funded the following ministries:

  •          Rosebud Episcopal Mission
    •          B-SAFE program
    •          P&A B., missionaries to North Africa
  •          Ruth and Jim Padilla DeBorst, Costa Rica
  •          Mercy Air: South Africa/ Paul and Cathy Middleton
  •          The Outdoor Church
  •          Kenya Self-Help (Girls empowerment)
  •          Ministries of Aides International (Haiti)
  •          Partakers Prison Ministry
  •          Nuevo Amanecer, East Boston, MA 

You can read much more about the missions we support on the missions page of the parish web page:  http://www.stjames-cambridge.org/missions-committee/ . Several of our missionaries also have their own blogs available from the St. James’s website. As always, we encourage parishioners who want to undertake missions activities to speak with us about support.  We also welcome members who would like to serve on the Committee.

Members:

Nancy McArdle (chair)

Anne Shumway

John Gay

Mary Caulfield

Sarah Borgatti

Yvette Verdieu