Mite Box Project 2021 Thank You 

May 29, 2021
What follows is a thank-you letter to the parish from Jan Lipscomb, Coordinator, Incarceration Justice Ministry Group.

Open letter and Thank You to the multitude of people who contributed to the 2021 St. Mark’s Lenten Mite Box Project.

During Lent this year, St. Mark’s had a special focus on caring for our sisters and brothers who are incarcerated. In each daily reflection, we educated ourselves about incarceration issues in our country. Our Incarceration Ministry committee recommended that the funds collected from the mite boxes be donated to Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop. It took a village to make this special Lent project happen, and there are many people to thank.

First, a thank you to our Rector, Rev. Michele Morgan, and Steve Dalzell, and all of the Outreach Board members, who heartily encouraged and supported this effort. A special thank you to Linell Grundman, Senior Warden, who organized over twenty people to write the daily messages. Thank you to Rev. Patricia Catalano, Deacon Cindy Dopp, Rev. Scott Lipscomb, and soon-to-be Reverend, Deacon Joe Hubbard, for writing the Lenten Mite Box Sunday reflections. Thank you to the writers and editors of the daily reflections:

  • Kit Arrington,
  • Louis Bayard,
  • Christoph Berendes,
  • Emily Churchman Kobayashi,
  • Steve Dalzell,
  • Stephanie Deutsch,
  • Karen Falk,
  • Penny Farley,
  • Thia Hamilton,
  • Jason Horrell,
  • Nora Howell,
  • Josie Jordan,
  • Julie Murphy,
  • Mary Neznek,
  • Kathryn Powers,
  • Rick Rutherford,
  • Susan Sedgewick,
  • Linda Smith-Bugge,
  • Suanna Steeby Bruinooge,
  • Todd Trafford,
  • Suzanne Wells, and
  • Elin Whitney-Smith.

A special thank you to James Rostron, our Parish Administrator, for publishing every reflection on the St. Mark’s Daily.

Our congregation generously contributed $2786.00 to their Lenten mite boxes. Several others sent donations directly to the Free Minds Book Club. On May 5, 2021, we had a small ceremony to present the check to Free Minds representatives. Please take the opportunity to explore their website for information about this extraordinary community resource for incarcerated or returning citizens in D.C. and the “DMV” area.

The Incarceration Justice Ministry group and Outreach Board recommended Free Minds Book Club be the recipient of our donations because of their service to the local community of incarcerated and returned citizens. They provide books, book clubs, connections, mentorship, regular “Write Night” events, free counseling services, and support with myriad other needs (clothing, writing resumes, mock interviews to practice for job searches, assistance to obtain documents like birth certificates, and so much more).

“Write Nights are a way to build trust in humanity, to begin making repairs to one’s identity and turn life from tragedy to triumph!” – Jameon Gray, Free Minds Congressman John Lewis Fellow

The Write Night events are opportunities to read, listen, and comment on poems and prose written by the community of those imprisoned or released, or families with a loved one under the control of the Justice System. As Jameon Gray, the Free Minds Congressman John Lewis Fellow shared with us, “Write Nights are a way to build trust in humanity, to begin making repairs to one’s identity, and turn life from tragedy to triumph!”

The executive director and co-founder of FreeMinds is Tara Libert.

The Youth Education and Outreach Manager is Janet Zwick.

In gratitude for all of the work and love that went into this Lenten project! Thank you all!

Jan Lipscomb
Coordinator of Incarceration Justice Ministry group at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

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