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Learn About Our Free Immigration Legal Clinic

It’s not really OURS, but belongs to the Northern IL Conference of the United Methodist Church

See below for the long anticipated opportunity to help immigrants with legal help. Most of us will welcome the opportunity to provide hospitality at Court Street United Methodist Church.

Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 2:01:49 PM
Subject: JFON training date set
Greetings.    Training for Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) volunteers will be on Thur., Oct. 24, 6:00-9:00 p.m., at Court Street UMC, 215 N. Court St., Rockford, IL  61103.  You are all invited, whether or not you responded to the poll.
    Also, please pass this information on to anyone else you think might be interested in volunteering for JFON.
    Questions?  Please contact me.
Peace, Mary English, 815 397-4883,
Short article for a church bulletin or newsletter:
Volunteer with new immigration legal clinic
    A free immigration legal clinic, Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), will hold its first clinic in Rockford on Sun., Oct. 27.  In the future, this local clinic–part of a national organization–will be on the fourth Sunday of the month.  A qualified immigration attorney staffs the clinic with support from many volunteers.  Volunteering is a way for you to be involved in a justice issue–welcoming and providing legal advice to the poor who are strangers among us.
    Volunteer training will be on Thur., Oct. 24, 6:00-9:00 p.m., at Court Street UMC, 215 N. Court St., Rockford, IL  61103.  Advance registration is not required, though it would be helpful to know if you are going to attend.  If you have questions, please contact Mary English, 815 397-4883 or


* JFON is a high quality, free immigration legal clinic

For more info: Mary English 815-397-4883

Join the Rockford Area CROP Hunger Walk

the CROP Hunger Walks helps Rockford and the World

WHEN:  The Annual Rockford Area CROP Hunger Walk is the third Sunday inOctober and the goal is to have 200 walkers raising an average of $200 each for a grand total of $40,000.

register with David Jones, 815/540-3703 ), or pick up sponsor records at JustGoods fair trade store, 201 Seventh Street, during store hours.

Participants learn of hunger needs in Rockford and the world, as well as receive materials to recruit walkers and solicit sponsors.

The CROP Hunger Walk raises money for local food pantries and worldwide hunger relief through Church World Service. People are welcome to designate other overseas relief organizations as well.

David Jones, 815/540-3703 or

free and open to the public.

Last year the CROP Hunger Walk raised $32,862 for world and local hunger relief.

For more information, or to volunteer please call David Jones, 815-540-3703, or email Walk symbol

JustGoods is Just Great!

outside shot of storefront

By Stanley Campbell

It’s been six years since JustGoods fair trade store opened at 201 7th St. And business has been good.

The development of this former notorious liquor store was controversial from the start. Rockford Urban Ministries (whom I work for) wanted to move in a drug-counseling center, and we were accused of planning a “church rummage sale” at the gateway to Seventh Street.

Then director of Mid-Town District disagreed with our dreams and the City’s Building and Community Development departments denied our construction permits.

But miracles occurred! Volunteers showed up to work, and the building was transformed into a beautiful gift shop, with meeting space and consignment art gallery, all non-profit and all professionally run.

The woman that made the fair trade store happen is student Dori Kearney. She and her husband Mike gave time, energy and money to bring the store along. She’s attracted a core of volunteers who kept the place open Monday through Saturday, 10 til 6. And the support from customers and the religious community has been overwhelming.

Interest free debts will be repaid, and in a few years any “profits” will be used for good causes in the community.

Fair Trade (as opposed to “free trade”) started through missionaries who support family-owned and cooperative arts and crafts in Third World countries. The producer is assured of making a living wage. Some of you support fair-traded coffee. The small farmer or cooperative will not use pesticides or herbicides and won’t cut down the forest for their product. Fair traded coffee, tea and gift items are received from over five fair trade outlets, including Ten Thousand Villages, a mission outreach of the Mennonite Church, as well as SERRVE.

Fair-traded gifts include pottery, baskets, Christmas ornaments, toys, clothes and even furniture, some made in the USA. You gotta see how beautiful the stuff is. In fact, you can go there right now:

We have volunteers to help sell fair trade items at churches, businesses, or in homes, and I want to publicly thank everyone who made this happen here on Seventh Street. Thank you all, and thank God for this miracle.

What is new?

People have been generous towards replacing the air conditioning unit at the JustGood’s Fair Trade Store, which burned out in the midst of our heat wave. The final cost was over $4200, and so far we have raised $3600.

Our new printer is installed, thanks to an anonymous donor; but the toner cartridges cost an average of $40 per cartridge. Any donations to cover our printing costs are appreciated as well.

Our intern Tyler Ward will be leaving us to return to North Central College. He will be studying abroad in John Wesley’s Canterbury, England. We wish him well and appreciate his time and energy.

Coming Up: Prison Reform & Ministry

jail door

Jail Reform, meet the director of Reachout Jail Ministry, Thursday, October 3

7:00 p.m., at Second Congregational UCC/First Presbyterian Church, 318 North Church Street (enter through the northeast door on Church Street).

Rockford’s jail population averages 900 prisoners in the Winnebago County jail plus another 1,000 prisoners serving time in state penitentiaries. Christ calls us to at least visit the imprisoned, and the community should also welcome them upon their re-entry, but the Winnebago County area is poorly served and needs more volunteers and programs to help these citizens stay away from crime.

 RUM will host this program reviewing the various jail ministries and re-entry programs and try to find ways our churches can help. There are individual volunteers who serve through the Reach-Out Jail Ministries programs. The director, George Hofstedter, is a friend and a mentor. We pray for resources for his ministry. George will be one of the panelists that will not only update us on the latest work in Winnebago County but also preview what plans help the returning citizen. We have also invited a representative from Lutheran Social Services to speak about their state-wide program for returnees.

The City of Rockford helps with resources through their RAVENS program. We are in contact with the director of the John Howard Association of Illinois, which works for prison reform throughout the state. He will either be available for our September meeting or in early 2014. The meeting date is Thursday, September 26, 7:00 p.m., at Second Congregational UCC/First Presbyterian Church, 318 North Church Street (enter through the northeast door on Church Street).