St. Cyprian on Wealth

Icon of St. Cyprian of Carhage by Nick Papas

Icon of St. Cyprian of Carhage by Nick Papas available from www.comeandseeicons.com

The property of the wealthy holds them in chains . . . which shackle their courage and choke their faith and hamper their judgment and throttle their souls. They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not the masters of their money but its slaves.

St. Cyprian, 3rd century A.D.

Money

“He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs 19:17

This verse has been a guidepost to this ministry since its founding. The Hebrew word in the second part of the verse is actually a verb form of “shalom”. Shalom means peace, wholeness, completeness, balance. So the Lord paying back is not just a promise of financial return, shekel for shekel. It is more than that. It is that God will make it right. To my thinking, there is no better investment.

When we put money into savings or investments we are not just doing it to multiply or preserve money. Money is just a means of exchange. It is a means not an end. So these accounts are an attempt to ensure that we are OK in the future; that things will be right. We should understand that money is just denatured labor. It does not keep. It becomes worthless if there is no one willing to work for it. When you put your money into a bank or a share of stock, it does not just sit there. It pays for someone to do something. Abraham Lincoln had it right when he said, “Labor creates all wealth.” Almost always the ones who benefit the most from these investments are the rich manipulators of this labor. So we have a choice. Do we put our money in bank accounts for the world to use to its ends, which results in further oppression of the poor? Or do we lend our money to the Lord by giving it to the poor? In the USA the Federal Reserve’s money says “In God We Trust”, but it is very clear that “We Trust” Goldman-Sachs more. Who do you trust more: Goldman-Sachs or God? God promises what the world cannot deliver: that we will be alright in the end, if we invest with Him by giving our money to the poor.

So when you give your money to The King’s Jubilee, it does not sit in a bank account to gather interest. We do not let the world use it to their ends. We give it away. There are always needs to be addressed. We figure that if you wanted to let that money sit around in a bank account, you would have left it in your 1st Bank account, instead of using a 1st Bank check to give it to us. We try to get it into God’s hands as soon as possible, so it can start working for you, so you will be alright in the end.

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

Holy Annunciation GOC on the Last Thursday

Last Thursday, January 27, Holy Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Elkins Park, PA, served on the street. I counted 15 volunteers from the church, but there may have been more. They kept moving. Father and Presvytera went down a half hour early with shovels and shoveled out around the benches and a path in and out from them. Good thinking! The snow served as great crowd control. There was only enough room for single file, one way. We should have a foot and a half of snow every week!

They brought turkey soup, chicken soup, pasta with meat sauce, hot chocolate, coffee, creamer, sugar, sandwiches, homemade cookies (including the best biscotti ever!), hard boiled eggs, oranges, peanuts and care kits. The care kits had socks, underwear, toothpaste and toothbrushes in them, I believe. Ben, Lea and Helena also came and brought hot chocolate. I brought sandwiches, that the Kellys had made, and hot sauce. It was a great feast! Everyone got plenty. We gave leftover soup and cups to Alex to serve to some folks down in the subway concourse. There were so many cookies that after everyone took as many as we could give them, Presvytera Joanna gave me the rest to take home. Those biscotti are so good! I asked Father Christos what is the Greek name for those. He said, with emphasis, “Biscotti!” So there you have it. And there were these macaroon type things! I just gave the rest to my son-in-law, Vince.

Thanks everybody! You have really embraced this ministry and all served with joy.

2011 Events – Mark Your Calendar!

Currently we serve between 50 and 175 men dinner on the street in Philadelphia on Thursdays and the last Tuesday of the month. If we get more involvement of volunteers serving on the street, we will adopt the second Tuesday of the month. Holy Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is taking care of the last Thursday of the month. Here is the schedule as it presently stands for this year. We need your help to accomplish this.

  • February 2011 marks the 22nd anniversary of The King’s Jubilee
  • February 22, last Tuesday
  • February 24, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • March 29, last Tuesday
  • March 31, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • April 21, Great Thursday, Fred Benjamin is coordinating as all the Orthodox volunteers will be in church for the Twelve Gospels service that evening.
  • April 26, last Tuesday
  • April 28, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • May: The King’s Jubilee fundraiser: Native Plant Sale in conjunction with Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery.
  • May 26, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • May 31, last Tuesday
  • June 14, 2nd Tuesday (Cranford’s Birthday)
  • June 28, last Tuesday
  • June 30, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • July 12, second Tuesday (Cranford & Bethann’s 36th Anniversary)
  • July 26, last Tuesday
  • July 28, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • August 9, second Tuesday
  • August 20, The King’s Jubilee Picnic, potluck at Coulters’ house
  • August 25, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • August 30, last Tuesday
  • September 13, second Tuesday
  • September 27, last Tuesday
  • September 29, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • October 11, second Tuesday
  • October 25, last Tuesday
  • Ocdtober 27, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • November 8, second Tuesday
  • November 17, third Thursday, Holy Annunciation
  • November 24, Thanksgiving: Spend the day with your family. There are enough community meals in Philadelphia, so no one will go hungry.
  • November 29, last Tuesday
  • December 1, Distribution of dollar coins for St. Nicholas’ Day
  • December 13, second Tuesday
  • December 22, homemade Christmas cookies given away
  • December 27, last Tuesday
  • December 29, last Thursday, Holy Annunciation

Last Tuesday in Phila.

The 25th was the last Tuesday in January, so it was our Tuesday to serve at 1801 Vine St. I made ham soup. Karen Burke made several loaves of sandwiches. Joanne Wiszneski showed up at my house with two huge boxes of baked goodies right at 6:30, in time for me to bring them to the city. I picked up seven gallons of iced tea. Dr. Jerry Burke rode shotgun and he and I went downtown and set up to serve. I started serving soup. Jerry gave out sandwiches. Suzy served the iced tea and Kenny gave out the goodies. Since Code Blue was still in effect, we didn’t have as many customers as we normally would have at the end of the month. We had enough sandwiches for everyone to get one sandwich and enough soup, iced tea and goodies for everyone to get as much as they wanted. It was orderly and pleasant. Thank you for your prayers.

Jerry and I stopped at the Sunoco on Kelly Drive to visit Farid and Amir on the way home. We had a great time. Music for the ride was provided by two Portland groups: Fleet Foxes and The Decembrists.

Pray for Peace on the Street

On Thursday evening, January 6, a young man who had received food from us complained to me about a bully who had harassed him in the line. He told me I should take care of this. I told him that I could not control the behavior of the people we serve. He told me I was responsible to provide a safe and pleasant place to be served. I told him that that was unreasonable as it is a public park and I am not the police. He insisted that I at least talk to this fellow. I stood next to the offender. He was fairly obviously drunk and not amenable to receiving advice. We got through the evening without any major incidents.

The next week, I was out sick with a cold, but I got a call about the same bully. He accosted each of the ladies as they pulled up with their vehicles looking for blankets or whatever he could get. He was told that we give away the blankets and clothes after we serve the food. He said he was not hanging around, so he was given a blanket in the hope that he would leave. He didn’t. He butted in line and grabbed a couple of care kits. Presvytera Joanna observed this, so, in the spirit of going the second mile, she asked if he had been given a care kit yet. He said No, so she gave him another one. This did not satisfy him. He continued to grab things and to harass those around him.

On the 20th, He showed up right as Todd, Joe and I arrived in the TKJ-mobile. He posed as if he wanted to help us unload. He took a bag of sandwiches. On his way over to the area where we serve, he started rooting through the bag. One of the other guys hollered at him. He threw the bag on the ground and shouted something about  this is how it is done in prison, every man for himself. A couple of the guys who regularly help us hollered back that we are not in prison and shouldn’t act like it. At this point someone threw a punch. The bully who had come looking for a fight now three weeks in a row ended up on the ground being kicked in the side. The fellow doing the kicking stopped and let the bully get up and run away. From across the street, he used his cellphone and called the police. Two cars showed up very quickly. They asked some questions. They ended up taking the bully away. When they ran his name, it turns out he had bench warrants on him.

We found it strange that he would call the police, since the police would have to incarcerate him due to the bench warrants. We speculated that perhaps he was more comfortable in prison than on the street and was looking for a way back in. He would not be the first man I have met to do this. Thankfully no one got seriously hurt. One of the guys has a jammed thumb and a badly bruised foot. I did tell him that that was not the way I would handle it. He told me that he stepped in to the fight, because the first guy to tangle with this guy had a knife and lacks self restraint. He was trying to make sure things didn’t get out of hand.

Please pray for the safety of our team of volunteers and for all those whom we serve. Pray that we have good order, respect and courtesy, all around. “Safety is of the Lord.” [Proverbs 21:31]