Ninth Day of Christmas: Mission to Seafarers

Mission to Seafarers

Some of you may remember Fr. Bob Crafts as the Rector of St. John’s in Indio. When he retired he moved back to San Diego and began a new ministry as a Chaplain for the Mission to Seafarers. As a diocese we support Fr. Crafts in prayer and practice as he provides ministry to those who sail the seas.    ~dan

Quote . . .Piracy, shipwreck, abandonment and separation from loved ones are just a few of the problems merchant seafarers face. Around the world, The Mission to Seafarers provides help and support to the 1.2 million men and women who face danger every day to keep our global economy afloat.

As a Christian agency, we work in 250 ports caring for seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs. Through our global network of chaplains, staff and volunteers we offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to seafarers through ship visits, drop-in centres and a range of welfare and emergency support services. (“About Us” on the Mission to Seafarers website)

Mission to Seafarers What We Do | Mission to Seafarers Home Page

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For further reflection

Did you know:

  • 90% of world trade is carried by the sea, providing work to more than a million seafarers.
  • 30 million people make a living by fishing.
  • The rate of suicide for international seafarers is triple that of shore workers, and they are 26 times more likely to be killed at work.
  • Shipping is a truly international industry: in today’s global market you might have a Greek-owned vessel, registered in Malta, with officers from India and a mixed crew from Thailand, Indonesia, Vanuatu, and the Philippines.
  • Piracy hit an all-time high in the first six months of 2011, with 266 attacks worldwide, up from 196 a year earlier, according to statistics from the International Maritime Bureau. Of the 266 attacks, 60% were carried out by Somalia-based pirates.
  • Seafarers are among the most exploited and abused groups of workers in the world, yet their plight is barely recognised by the mainstream media and public opinion, says the ITF report, ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’.

Source: Facts and Figures on the Mission to Seafarers website

Do you remember:

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:34-36   

Advent Calendar Day 23: The Episcopal Refugee Network

The Episcopal Refugee Network

As citizens of the 21st century we are sadly acquainted with the results of violent conflict and genocide, or drought and famine as hundreds of thousands of persons become refugees and are displaced from family, home, and even country. On behalf of you and me and all people of goodwill the Episcopal Refugee Network of our Diocese is working to meet the needs of refugees who arrive in San Diego.

Quote . . .San Diego hosts almost 3500 Sudanese refugees, mainly from the Dinka, Nuer, Bari and Equatorial tribal areas of the Sudan. … The Refugee Network also helps families who have been displaced by genocide in Burma and Bhutan.” From our Diocesan website

The work of the Episcopal Refugee Network

The Episcopal Refugee Network supports families during
their years of adjustment to American life by providing:

  • Help with documentation
    Enrolling children at school
    Social Security registration
    Welfare/benefits registration
  • Translation for
    Medical visits
    Official interviews
    Registering children at School
  • Assistance in
    Obtaining employment
    –filling out applications etc…
  • Tutoring Programs

Learn more: About The Episcopal Refugee Network

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Read MORE ON REFUGEES IN SAN DIEGO

Two Frequently Asked Questions answered by International Justice Mission:

Who are refugees and displaced persons?

They are men, women and children fleeing war, persecution and political upheaval. They are uprooted with little warning, enduring great hardship during their flight. They become refugees when they cross borders and seek safety in another country. They are displaced when they are forced to flee their homes, but remain within the borders of their native country.

The 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended by its 1967 protocol defines a refugee as a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country…”

The U.S. will not recognize persons who have participated in war crimes and violations of humanitarian and human rights law, including the crime of terrorism, as refugees. They are specifically excluded from the protection accorded to refugees.

How many refugees and displaced persons are there, and who makes up the majority of the refugee population?

Right now there are about 42 million displaced people in the world.   One in every 170 persons in the world has been uprooted by war.  This is the largest category of vulnerable people in the world.  About one third of them are officially recognized refugees because they have crossed an international border.  The other two thirds are so-called internally displaced persons, or IDPs, because they are still within their own country.  Of the world’s 12 million or so refugees, about 3.2 million are in Africa.  In addition, Africa has about half of the world’s 25 million IDPs.

80 percent of the world’s refugees are women and children who are more vulnerable to their unstable conditions.

Source: International Rescue Committee Frequently Asked Questions About Refugees and Resettlement accessed 16 Dec 2011

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Image: Episcopal Refugee Network Home Page


Advent Calendar Day 15: Virginia Theological Seminary

Virginia Theological Seminary

We have a strong connection to Virginia Theological Seminary. Our bishop, James R. Mathes, our rector, Lane, and our two associates, Troy and Brian, are graduates of VTS. Our seminarian, Shivaun Wilkinson, is completing her second year of studies at VTS. ~dan rondeau

Mission Statement

I. To form men and women for lay and ordained leadership within community, with particular attention to raising leaders for the Episcopal Church.

II. To provide continuing theological education for all people (clergy and laity of all denominations).

III. To serve the Anglican Communion and the wider Church.

IV. To provide an ecumenical, international, and cross-cultural context for theological education.

V. To be an outstanding theological resource.

VI. To be a racially and ethnically diverse community in living out our mission.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees May 2008

For the rest of the story: Virginia Theological Seminary

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For further reflection

Under construction: Master of Arts Program

The world is changing rapidly, driven significantly by the intersecting forces of politics, economics, demographics, religion and, of course, technology. Globalization, driven by appetites for freer, faster, and cheaper goods and services, is changing life in every sector. The metrics of excellence in all areas of higher education are being tested and, at times reluctantly, redefined. Theological education is not exempt from this redefinition. VTS is actively responding to a demand for quality, affordable theological education that does not require full-time residency.

The newly accredited M.A. program that has replaced the former M.T.S. (Masters in Theological Studies) and M.A.C.E. (Masters in Christian Education) degrees offers increased flexibility and depth of study in preparation for innovative, transformational Christian leadership. The degree design, especially the summative project, prepares students to continue a rigorous academic path, perhaps toward doctoral work, or to apply new learning to current and future ministry. The program combines the strengths of residential formation with the flexibility of contemporary technologies. Working with a faculty advisor, students design a program plan with an identified area of concentration to meet their learning goals and life situation. They can enroll full or part-time and register for courses delivered in a traditional classroom format, during intensive residencies in January and Summer terms, or in a hybrid manner, which is a combination of face-to-face and online instruction. The M.A. program makes use of creative instructional technologies such as the seminary’s new Jenzabar course management platform, video conferencing, and electronic portfolios.

While the structure of the M.A. degree is an important and exciting step for VTS, it is just the beginning of the Seminary’s innovative use of educational technology. Advances in web technology have introduced user-centered capacities that have forever changed teaching and learning. What is commonly referred to as the Web 2.0 has introduced features and functionality that stimulate the creation and consumption of information through collaborative platforms. Today, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are ordinary tools of daily living. Virtual communities exist in every domain of human interest, and digital video technologies keep families and friends connected across the globe. Ideas and conversations fill blogs and wikis. Video, music, and photo file sharing is considered a standard of practice in most American households. Being a healthy seminary today means interacting confidently with all of these technologies and having a vital presence on the global Web.

Beyond degree programs, people are living longer and more interested in lifelong continuing education than ever before. With access to the Web anyone can study anything 24/7. It is possible to construct a rigorous curriculum on any subject, using open-source or free Web resources such as university courses, e-books and journals from premier libraries and research institutions, educational programming from international museums, video presentations by world leaders, scholars and artists, and of course, virtual tours! With the expertise of the VTS faculty and staff, the depth of our library collection, and the vision of its board VTS is positioned to facilitate extraordinarily rich opportunities for online biblical and theological learning.

I look forward to participating in the ongoing discernment and innovation that is required to ensure VTS remains a trusted leader in an increasingly creative and competitive climate of global theological education. We welcome your ideas. How can VTS best support local congregations and dioceses/judicatories in the preparation of lay and ordained leaders for Christian mission? How can we partner with you to serve God more faithfully and more effectively? Tell us. We’re listening!

Lisa Kimball, Ph.D.
Chair, M.A. Committee,
Director, Center for the Ministry of
Teaching, and Professor of Christian
Formation & Congregational Leadership

This article appeared in the Virginia Theological Seminary Journal, Fall 2011. Lisa Kimball was the featured speaker at the San Diego Clergy Conference this year at the invitation of Bishop Mathes (Oct 2011).

Advent Calendar Day 14: Two Against Gender Violence

ECS Julian’s Housing Program for Women & Children
And Shelter from the Storm

As the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign (Nov 25 – Dec 10) closes for 2011 the need to raise awareness and the need to offer haven and hope for victims will continue. Today two such programs are highlighted, one in the San Diego area and part of our efforts through ECS and one here in the Coachella Valley and supported by St. Margaret’s over the years.

Quote . . .The Julian’s Housing Program for Women & Children provides supportive, transitional housing for women and children escaping the perils of domestic violence. The program serves women over the age of 18 and their children who are homeless as a result of fleeing domestic violence. Introduction to the Program on the web page

Quote . . .It is hard to believe that for many years, even in a community as caring as the Coachella Valley, violence against women and children was the dirty little secret that no one wanted to talk about. Finally, in 1988, recognizing how desperate the need, a group of women and men came together determined to find a way to help. In 1993 they opened what is still the Coachella Valley’s only emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. … Yet, as important as shelters are, they are not the answer for everyone. Recognizing this and acutely aware of many unmet needs, we made a commitment to create a continuum of services that would offer domestic violence victims the best possible chance to create safe and healthy lives. President’s Message from the website for Shelter from the Storm

Mission Statement of ECS

Serving God by serving those in need.

For the rest of the story: ECS Julian’s Housing Program for Women & Children (web page).
ECS Julian’s Hosing Program for Women & Children (PDF brochure)

Mission Statement of Shelter from the Storm

Shelter From The Storm provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence—professionally, ethically, and compassionately.

For the rest of the story: Shelter from the Storm

Hear what the Spirit is saying.

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For further reflection

More than just a “shelter,” Julian’s Housing Program is a place to heal from emotional and physical wounds of abuse while acquiring self-esteem and independence. Services provided include:

18–24 months of transitional housing in a safe and confidential location
Intensive case management
Life skills training
Domestic violence prevention education
Referrals to substance abuse prevention services
Partnership with career guidance agencies

Julian’s Housing Program Brochure (a PDF file)

Shelter from the Storm, in the Coachella Valley, provides the same services as Julian’s Housing Program and, like Julian’s Housing Program, counts on the support of faith communities like St. Margaret’s.

Prevalence of Domestic Violence in the United States

  • On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.
  • In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data collected in 2005 that finds that women experience two million injuries from intimate partner violence each year.
  • Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.
  • Women are much more likely than men to be victimized by a current or former intimate partner. Women are 84 percent of spouse abuse victims and 86 percent of victims of abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend and about three-fourths of the persons who commit family violence are male.
  • There were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. Women were more likely than men to be victims; the rate for rape/sexual assault for persons age 12 or older in 2007 was 1.8 per 1,000 for females and 0.1 per 1,000 for males.
  • The United States Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 3.4 million persons said they were victims of stalking during a 12-month period in 2005 and 2006. Women experience 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 and older, while men experience approximately seven stalking victimizations per 1,000 males age 18 and older.

Source: Futures Without Violence website.
Document: Get the Facts: The Facts on Domestic, Dating and Sexual Violence. Includes links to the reports documenting the facts presented here.

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Photo: ECS Julian’s Housing Progrm Brochure


Advent Calendar Day 13: Veterans Village of San Diego

Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD)

(The Rev.) Bill Mahedy (d. 2011) helped me find my way into the Episcopal Church. Bill helped many others find their way. Moreover, he taught us all how to “pay it forward.” ~dan rondeau

Quote . . .Veterans Village of San Diego was founded in 1981 by Vietnam veterans who were struggling with the traumas of war and looking to enhance services from the VA that were available to them at that time.

One day in 1981, five of them were sitting around in a group counseling session, talking seriously about mounting a combat assault on the VA. They knew they would probably get arrested but they were desperate to shine a spotlight on the lack of medical and psychological care for Vietnam veterans.

As luck would have it, the facilitator of the counseling session was Father William Mahedy, who served as an Army chaplain in Vietnam. Mahedy made a suggestion to the group. “Why don’t you take this energy and do something that will really make a difference?”

The group took the suggestion to heart and formed Vietnam Veterans of San Diego to help their comrades who were sleeping on the streets, under bridges and in parks.

From this modest beginning, VVSD has evolved over the past three decades into a nationally-recognized , non governmental organization known for delivering innovative services to veterans. (From the “History of Veterans Village of San Diego”)

Mission of Veterans Village of San Diego

“Leave no one behind.”

For the rest of the story: History of Veterans Village of San Diego.

Veterans Village of San Diego Home Page. Hear what the Spirit is saying.

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For further reflection

What is Stand Down?

In times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover were removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety. Today, Stand Down refers to a community-based intervention program designed to help the nation’s estimated 200,000 homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets.

VVSD organized the nation’s first Stand Down in 1988. Since then, the program has been widely replicated nationwide. Today, more than 200 Stand Downs take place across the country every year. “The program has become recognized as the most valuable outreach tool to help homeless veterans in the nation today,” according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Stand Down’s philosophy is a hand up, not a hand out. The hand up is made possible each year by the dedication of thousands of volunteers and numerous sponsors.

Meals are prepared by VFW, American Legion, VVSD, Kiwanis, and supported by the Lions Clubs, Rotary and local food distributors.

Perhaps most important of all is the feeling of safety. For the first time in possibly days, weeks or even months our homeless brothers and sisters can leave their possessions in the care of others and rest.

Stand Down is a place of miracles. Lives are changed and lives are saved. The founders of Stand Down had a dream. They made it a reality, one which continues to offer a true stand down for all homeless veterans. (from the VVSD Stand Down Page)

Stand Down – a YouTube video glimpse into Stand Down in San Diego

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Photo: VVSD website


Advent Calendar Day 12: African Team Ministries

African Team Ministries

Julie from our Forum has helped collect blankets for babies, infants, and toddlers to be sent to East Africa by African Team Ministries for use in the orphanages they support. You’ve seen the carvings, scarves, and jewelry from East Africa on our own patio when African Team Ministries has visited us in the past (and they will be here on Sunday 12/11 once again). What is done with the funds raised? Find out.

Mission Statement

African Team Ministries is a Christian ministry working as an intermediary between African and American churches. With help from Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Anglican denominations, we provide funding for orphan and refugee relief missions and evangelism in East Africa. The support we receive is sent directly to our partnering Bishops to provide school fees, tuition, books, and uniforms. This support ensures that the children receive an education and a measure of stability needed to rebuild their minds. We currently have children registered for sponsorship in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Thru our support we are giving the gift of HOPE!

For the rest of the story: African Team Ministries

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August 26, 2011

More than 3 million Kenyans are facing malnutrition, starvation and even death due to the worst drought and famine in 60 years. It is so painful to daily see the photos and stories on TV.

Among the most vulnerable to the drought and famine are hundreds of thousands of children under the age of five. In the famine areas of Kenya almost 10% of the children under 5 will die. Children weakened by malnutrition are susceptible to killer diseases like measles and malaria.

African Team Ministries has been serving the Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Kenya for more than 25 years. We have been given a 40’ container of a protein and fiber rich oatmeal & soup which will provide 100,000+ nutritious meals which can be eaten by infants, the elderly and everyone in between. The food has been donated leaving the transportation and distribution costs of $10,000 to be covered.

So for each $10 purchase made by you, it will provide 100 meals of oatmeal and 150 servings of soup to hungry people in the drought and famine areas of Kenya.

If you would like to help us provide this much needed gift of nutritious food please call us at (800) 456-0843, Email at: atmm@earthlink.net ,OR VISIT OUR BRAND NEW STORE!

Thank you & God bless,

Keith Jesson
{President}

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Photo: Oxfam East Africa via Wikimedia Commons


Advent Calendar Day 11: Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicne

Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine

Quote . . .Nearly 20 years ago, Dr. Jack McConnell, a retired physician, set out to create a culture of caring for the medically underserved of South Carolina. His vision was realized in 1994 when a new, no-cost clinic known as Volunteers in Medicine opened its doors. Today, more than half of the states in the nation have Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) clinics. That vision is now a part of the Coachella Valley. (Information brochure for the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine)

Our Forum member, Suzanne, is a volunteer nurse at the Indio Clinic.

Mission Statement

“The Mission of the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine is to provide a no-cost Primary Health Care Service to medically underserved people residing in the Coachella Valley” (Clinic brochure)

The Clinic address is 81-880 Dr. Carreon Drive Suite B-103 in Indio. Phone number 760-342-4414

For the rest of the story download or view the Feasibility Study that launched the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine Clinic (18 MB PDF file). Hear what the Spirit is saying.

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Our Vision

In 2007, a group of concerned local citizens convened at JFK Memorial Hospital. They recognized an enormous gap in access to primary care services for the poor and medically uninsured, and set out to explore viable solutions for addressing the problem.

A feasibility study was commis­sioned to review the utilization of health care services and the demographics of patients served in Eastern Riverside County.

Needs Analysis

  • 80,000 or 15% of adults over the age of 18 have no health insurance
  • Younger adults, the Latino population and lower-income individuals are disproportionally impacted
  • One third have incomes below $25,000
  • Access to care is limited for the uninsured
  • Doctors/urgent care facilities require insurance or other payment methods
  • Emergency rooms are used for primary care services
  • More than $20 million dollars was spent for ER services for the uninsured

Who we are

The Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine clinic offers a caring environment in which patients receive family practice, internal medicine, and pediatric services. Treatment for colds or flu, minor lacerations, chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis or hypertension will be appropriately addressed. Patients seen by this clinic may avoid unnecessary hospitalization and financial burdens, while relieving local emergency rooms of non-emergent visits.

Our personnel structure is unique. The clinic is staffed by retired or working physicians, nurses, and other professionals.

These dedicated individuals practice without compensation. Providing no-cost healthcare to the uninsured enables professional staff, as well as volunteers, to concentrate on the health and wellness of their patients – not on billing and financial matters.

Who we serve

Those who, whether working or unemployed, have no health insurance and are not eligible for any public option or publicly funded healthcare programs.

Source: Clinic brochure

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Logo: The Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine brochure