Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Christmas Newsletter: Peace on Earth and Justice for All

“I shall speak thy testimony before Kings and not be ashamed…” –Psalm 119:46

Jill and I with Rep Judy Chu and Tim Root
 of Whittier Friends Church
Anthony: This phrase sums up a year in which I have been helping people to share their moral concerns with elected officials. The good news is that so many people are stepping forward, eager to learn how to practice democracy and work for a society that is fair and compassionate. I am especially grateful to the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), which has launched a national campaign (Love Your Neighbor, No Exceptions) to teach people how to be effective faith-based advocates for peace and justice. This work is not only necessary but also joyful since it involves working with wonderful people. I continue to be on the board of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace and serve as chair of the Palm Sunday Peace Parade. In addition to my peace activism, I am part of a weekly men’s group at the Episcopal Church and have monthly visits with an Episcopal monk named Dennis Gibbs who is my spiritual director. I also enjoy partnering with Jill on her housing justice work. As Jill and I celebrate our 6th year of married life together, I want to express my deep appreciation to a wonderful couple named Sylvester and Carolyn Williams, who led us on twelve “marriage mentoring” sessions  that have enhanced our marriage in countless ways. I am excited that the Palm Sunday Peace Parade (where Jill and I met) have decided to support a revival of Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign 50 years after his death. Our slogan is “Proclaim Good News to the Poor” (Luke 4:18). God has truly blessed us and confirmed that “the Prince of Peace has brought us together for a purpose greater than either of us can imagine.”

Wishing you all the best during this blessed season! May your upcoming year be full of joy as well as justice and peace! 

Jill: Some of my fondest memories this year are the two weekly Bible studies during our “staff time” with my husband and again with Mark, who was formerly homeless and now lives in our back house. The intriguing insights we glean and the fun we have applying the Scripture to today’s world fills my soul. It also fills my soul when I look out at our little “faith park” and see kids looking for books in the tiny library and hanging out on our park bench or hammock, enjoying themselves. Sharing what we have with neighbors gives me great pleasure. Often conversations turn to the love of Christ.

Jill with Lorinda
At this stage of my life God keeps confirming my gift as a teacher enabling churches to address their city around the need for more affordable housing. The One-day Housing Justice Institutes have had great results in Colorado. In Broomfield, the City Council, once against affordable housing, is now fully supportive. The city has come out of denial about homelessness in their city. The person hired to run their housing authority is finally being given work and Section 8 vouchers for those in need. When I was there in March to do another housing justice institute with leaders throughout the Metro-Denver area, one Broomfield City Council member who was planning to leave the City Council to do a PhD changed her mind when she heard me share about the history of housing policy in our nation. Additionally, two churches have broken ground to build affordable housing.

Christmas Newslette
Jill with Amy

I stand in awe of how God has opened these doors. My heart longed to see these Institutes take place in California where the housing crisis is sIt has also been a joy to have Amy Cardenas work with me part time to keep my office organized. I met Amy 20 years ago when I It has also berecruited her for STARS—an afterschool program at Lake Ave Church I had the joy of co-founding.  She’s about to graduate from APU in sociology!

 To keep not just my soul but my body nourished and in good shape, I feel spoiled by Anthony’s incredible cooking. I was in much pain with my lower back and thanks to prayer, aqua-therapy and ongoing exercise, all my pain is gone! I had a biopsy for possible cancer (in my buttock!) and thank God, nothing was found. I thank God for the good health!

Some 2017 Highlights

January: We took part in Pasadena’s annual homeless count. Jill was asked to give the fund-raising pitch for  college scholarships for the Martin Luther King event sponsored by the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance.
February: We went to “Motown: the Musical” at the Pantages Theater to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Fabulous!
March: Jill led a Housing Justice Institute in Colorado. Anthony attended a gathering in Stonypoint, NY, where over 120 Quakers from North and South America, of very diverse theological backgrounds, took part in worship and fellowship to help strengthen the Quaker community
.April: This year’s Palm Sunday Peace Parade, which we helped organize, had as its theme Affordable Housing and Ending Homelessness. Hundreds walked in the Parade to celebrate Jesus as the Prince of Peace and the things that bring peace.

Jill's brother Doug, visiting from Australia  in our Faith Park with Jill
May: Anthony celebrated his 68th birthday by throwing a party at our El Greco Café and by taking Jill to the Getty Villa where he first proposed marriage six years ago (and she said yes!!). He also helped organize an immigrant rights workshop with Pedro Rios at Orange Grove Quaker Meeting in keeping with the Biblical injunction to “treat foreigners as native born” (Leviticus 19:34).
June: Jill organized the Homeless-to-Housed Bus Tour. Anthony visited detainees in Adelanto Detention Center (near San Bernardino), where undocumented people are being incarcerated, in keeping with Matthew 25 (“I was in prison and you visited me”), 
Jill with her brother Doug
June: Jill organized the Homeless-to-Housed Bus Tour. Anthony visited detainees in Adelanto Detention Center (near San Bernardino), where undocumented people are being incarcerated, in keeping with Matthew 25 (“I was in prison and you visited me”),
Edward fiddling
August: We went to Oregon to see the solar eclipse, camped at Mt Rainier, and visited with friends and family along the way, including Anthony’s nephew Edward, who is an excellent fiddler. Anthony helped organize a Justice Luncheon with Rep. Judy Chu. We called for our elected officials to address the threat of nuclear war (as Jesus said, “those that live by the sword die by the sword”). He also led a retreat on “George Fox’s prophetic witness” for Santa Barbara Friends.
September: We attended the CCDA gathering in Detroit, where we got to see the remarkable “Cass Tiny Home” project initiated by the Methodists. Jill led Housing Justice Institutes in Temple City and one in Pasadena in November.

Us with our niece Jessie from Australia
October:  Jill’s brother Doug and niece Jessie visited from Australia. Thanks to the advocacy of a team from a neglected part of N. Fair Oaks, Pasadena voted to put in a $268,000 traffic signal and approved 7 of the 15 items we requested! We celebrated this win with Green Light Victory Celebration and a Repair Café.

At Ragged Point with Jill's mother Donna
November:  Jill celebrated her 64th birthday with a pumpkin-carving party. We went to DC for the annual Quaker lobby day and also visited Jill’s niece Annie and their new baby in Alexandria, VA, and Anthony’s sister and their new home in Hamilton Township, NJ. We celebrated Thanksgiving with our dear “Mamacita” Donna Shook at Ragged Point, the gorgeous gateway to Big Sur.

Your Help is Needed!

You may be part of my regular support team that has faithfully given for years… thank you!! Right now my support brings in about $1,000 a month--$2,000 per month shy of what is needed to increase hours of my part time help so that N. Fair Oaks Empowerment Initiative can thrive,  the Housing Justice work can grow, and we can complete a video to promote these Institutes that will cost $3,000.  It is my goal that this work of organizing churches around issues that affect the most vulnerable will be multiplied with leaders equipped to do this work.
This Christmas I invite you to give and also set up monthly giving.
Contact: Missions Door
2530 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80205, Phone: 303-308-1818
Jill Shook & Anthony Manousos
1628 N. Garfield, Pasadena CA 91104
Jill’s Phone: 626-675-1316


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your Faithful lives of love for one another and all God's children and creation!!