“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Frederick Buechner
ST JAMES SOCIAL JUSTICE MINISTRY
It is the mission of the Social Justice Ministry to identify social issues and human needs in the parish and civic community, and to develop broad Christian service action plans to aid in meeting those needs. These are some of the activities and programs administered by this committee:
Support to Immigrants and Refugees
- The committee helps undocumented immigrants and refugees obtain their green cards and citizenship. Those served include immigrants in the greater Kansas City area from Jamaica, Nigeria, Guatemala, Mexico, Ethiopia, Zambia, El Salvador, Haiti, Philippines, Ecuador, and Belize. Committee members work with lawyers, social workers, medical health personnel, and other parishioners to help these individuals. Assistance includes securing job placements, providing lodging in immigrant-friendly areas, supplying food needs, and providing measures to stay safe in their homes. The committee also works in conjunction with a not-for-profit immigrant aid organization in Kansas City, Kansas, and is provided additional support and advice by an immigration lawyer who donates time to work with us on this initiative. Contact Social Justice Committee chair Connie Anderson to get involved.
Togo, Africa Student Sponsorship Program
- One clear request for education assistance has come from our St. James parishioners from the West African nation of Togo. There, the government provides only 25% of the money necessary to support schools. The additional cost of education is beyond the means of most parents who live on a meager income. St. James parishioners and friends are currently supporting the education of 106 students. A St. James committee coordinates this project by working directly with the on-site director in Togo, matching students with willing sponsors, collecting money to send to Togo, translating report cards from French to English, distributing report cards to supporters, and assisting in the oversight of this overall program. In July – September the committee works to sign up sponsors for this program. CONTACT parishioners Albertine Kangni-Soukpe or Marcus Liddell for more information.
- Initiated by Deacon Ross Beaudoin, This is a long-standing partnership with a community in Mexico. Establish school sponsorship for children in need in Anapra, provide continuous awareness of political and economic issues., and provide supplies for children’s summer vacation bible school. CONTACT Ross Beaudoin, for more information
- ALSO: In November and December of each year, as part of the Christmas Giving Tree project, St. James collects money to pay for heating fuel to be used in the homes of the elderly of Anapra/Juarez. CONTACT St. James parishioners Marcus Liddell or Katie Wiegand.
- In order to accomplish their stated goals, the Social Justice Committee has applied to other churches and organizations for funds to support the above initiatives. Grants have been received from Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City, MO Province; Central Presbyterian Church, Kansas City, MO; and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Leavenworth, KS; Additional funding sources are currently being explored. If you have experience in grant writing, or wish to help in any way, CONTACT Connie Anderson.
BISHOP SULLIVAN CENTER
Bishop Sullivan Center helps people in financial hardship by providing food, help in finding jobs, and other aid. St. James has had a long relationship with Bishop Sullivan Center, with whom we share a commitment to helping our neighbors in Midtown, Kansas City. BSC is located just 2 doors south of St. James, at 3936 Troost Ave. Volunteers can park at BSC or in the St. James parking lot. Here are some of the ways to volunteer at Bishop Sullivan Center:
- Food Pantry Volunteers: St. James parishioners are invited to help stock shelves and fill grocery sacks for clients. Mon-Thurs. 9:00-12:30 on mornings of your choice. Contact St. James parishioner CONTACT June Johnson or Bishop Sullivan Center at 816-561-8515 for more information.
- One City Café: St. James parishioners frequently volunteer together or individually to prepare and serve meals to Café guests. (They also clean up!) Mon-Fri. 4:00-6:30 pm on the night of your choice. CONTACT: Bishop Sullivan Center at 816-561-8515 for more information.
- Giving Tree Christmas Program: St. James parishioners collect and organize gifts for children of families who are registered with Bishop Sullivan Center. CONTACT: St. James parishioners Marcus Liddell or Katie Wiegand.
- Bus Stop Ministries
CONTACT: Mary Vincent
This is a ministry of hospitality. Each week for an hour, we visit with people at the bus stops at 39th and Troost. Drinks, snacks and Social Service Referral pamphlets are offered to everyone. October through March, hats, gloves and scarves are distributed at the bus stops and other sites in the neighborhood.
- Knitting & Crocheting Group
CONTACT: Mary Vincent
This group meets twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday. We create scarves and hats for distribution at the bus stops. Yarn and needles/hooks are available. We gladly accept items made at home as well as donations of yarn.
- Troost39 Thrift Store
CONTACT: Toni Wurth
The Thrift Store (formerly a ministry of St. Vincent de Paul) is located next door to St. James at 3922 Troost, and is a 501c3 organization committed to supporting the Kansas City community it serves by offering low price, high quality essential items. The store is partially staffed by volunteers, and supported by donations of goods from the local community. Troost39 is open on Sundays for St. James Parishioners to browse, shop and donate.
- Troost Alliance
CONTACT: Ross Beaudoin or http://troostalliance.org/
St. James is a key (and founding) member of the Troost Alliance, a monthly gathering of social service groups and churches serving the physical and social needs of persons along the Troost corridor.
- Journey to New Life
Contact: Sharon Payne, Susie Roling, or Sr. Rose McLarney.
Journey to New Life “maximizes quality of life for men and women returning to the community from prison or other involvement with the justice system.” A number of St. James parishioners work, volunteer, or serve on the board at JTNL. On a quarterly basis, St. James people donate supplies and staples in support of Peace House and Journey House for Women, part of the organization’s residential program for those re-entering life after prison.
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS and issues with whom St. James parishioners have a special interest or involvement
CCO / Economic Issues Organize and address neighborhood obstacles to living in a safe, just and self-determined city. Contact parishioner Sr. Rose McLarney for more information.
Peace / Nuclear Weapons Address issues of peace and potentials of war, especially nuclear weapons. Contact Cele Breen for more information.
- Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP) Study and address related issues concerning the death penalty in Missouri. Contact Susie Roling for more information. http://madpmo.org/contactus/board.html
- Restorative Justice Address and study issues of conflict management and justice. Focus on restoring the individual rather than punishment. Contact Rose McLarney, for more information. https://www.ccrkc.org/restorative-justice