From Aaron Scott, Chaplain and Organizer at Chaplains on the Harbor:
Dear friends and family in the dream of justice,
Hope this fall is bringing an abundant harvest to your lives and souls, wherever you may be! 2021 has been another year for the books at Chaplains on the Harbor. We’ve spent the past month knee-deep in brambles, bees, and beans at Harbor Roots Farm— and we’ve got a closet full of pickles, preserves, and honey to prove it. We hit the jackpot with two of our new apprentices this year: Jon and David, both of whom we knew prior to their incarceration and recovery, hit the ground running with our farm program and have helped take it to new heights. Jon has been lead on our farm customer outreach and deliveries while David has been trained and certified as our new beekeeper. We’ve also lucked out in recruiting a couple of incredible new leaders in operations and finance. Miki Cabell joined us as Operations Manager this spring, bringing a wealth of experience and wisdom in everything from farming, to HR, to therapeutic services, to prisoner support and reentry work. Julie Deason also came on board as our new bookkeeper, with invaluable skills in accounting and management (and outstanding graciousness in rolling with our rowdy and rapidly growing budget). With Rev. Sarah Monroe away on her long-awaited and hard-earned sabbatical, having more hardworking hands on deck has been a lifesaver.
We had some hard losses this year. First and foremost, our founding bookkeeper Jim passed away suddenly on August 10th. Jim had just retired with us after eight years, and had been awarded with Chaplains on the Harbor’s inaugural “Saving Our Ass Award” (an honor cited several times by Bishop Rickel during Jim’s eulogy). Jim was much more than our bookkeeper—he was our staunchest supporter, our champion in church affairs, and a father and grandfather figure to many of our staff families. We miss him more than we can say. Rev. Bonnie Campbell, Jim’s widow and our Pastoral Care Lead, has asked that those wishing to honor his legacy send donations to Chaplains on the Harbor (with “Jim Campbell memorial” in the memo)—her dream is to purchase a tractor, a greenhouse, or some other hardworking, life-sustaining, growth-promoting equipment (and, fittingly, name it after Jim). We also lost out on our proposal for a permanent, low-barrier shelter space in Aberdeen; the county commissioners instead voted to send over $1 million in CARES Act funding back to the federal government (during a pandemic, in the wake of unprecedented levels of homelessness), rather than spend it on people struggling with addiction, trauma, mental health, and deep poverty. We are deeply concerned about the health and safety of our beloved unsheltered friends and family as winter quickly approaches.
In the midst of the losses, we continue to grow hope and healing. Our whole team was certified by the Recovery Coach Academy this summer and we are building out our Peer Support program, with a particular focus on reentry help for folks getting out of prison. While maintaining our ministry status with the Diocese of Olympia, we officially separately incorporated and now have our own 501c3 standing, and our own unique, worker-led governance structure that has our Board of Directors working in close partnership with our Staff Trustees. After a long time away from parish visits, we are getting back into the swing of traveling around the diocese to build relationships with our sister churches and share about our work. We continue to feed people six days a week, provide jail and street outreach, offer showers and hygiene supplies, and provide harm reduction support—all while building the leadership of people who have directly experienced homelessness, incarceration, and poverty. This year we sent staff leaders to represent us in North Carolina with Raise Up! Fight for $15, to Washington DC with the Poor People’s Campaign, and next month we will take an all-staff trip to Mississippi to partner with local human rights groups working on cooperative farming, prisoners rights, and poverty abolition. We couldn’t do any of it without your incredibly open hearts and minds. We are so grateful for your prayers, support, and generosity.
With gratitude—and blessings!
The Chaplains on the Harbor Team