#MissionMonday – Mass Incarceration Task Force

As a task force we are motivated by the deep conviction that each being is a beloved child of God. This extends to people who are impacted by the carceral system in New Jersey, including those whose life circumstances place them at risk of being caught up in the system. We also realize, in the words of justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, that “you can’t understand most of the important things from a distance. You have to get close.”

Please join us at our next Mass Incarceration Task Force meeting to be held via Zoom at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 6. To get on the mailing list or if you have any questions, please reach out to Anne Kuhn (email) or Patti Daley (email), the co-chairs of the Mass Incarceration Task Force.


On Sunday, January 29, Liz Beasley offered these words to the congregation:

Two of the things I like best about Nassau Church are our focus on being Jesus’ hands and feet in the world – and the opportunities the church provides for service to others, both in our own community and around the world.

The mission of the Mass Incarceration Taskforce is to educate ourselves about the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States – and to find ways to put our passion and commitment to justice and equity into action. We have three areas of focus:

  • Pre-incarceration (volunteering with agencies such as LifeTies to mentor and tutor at-risk young people);
  • During incarceration (volunteer opportunities include the Pen Pal Program and tutoring through the Petey Greene Program);
  • Post-incarceration (providing tutoring, job skills, and other forms of support for people upon release from prison, in partnership with other nonprofits).

We are excited to introduce two new opportunities to get involved:

WorkWell is a nonprofit designed to equip returning citizens with job skills, dignity and hope. Their program consists of a four-week period of training and counseling, with qualified trainers and advocates to help prepare returning citizens not just for a job, but for sustained employment. Volunteers are needed to participate in two Saturday morning training sessions with these men and women in transition and to cheer them at their graduation from the program.

The second opportunity, Abolishing Prison Slavery, may require a little more explanation. This project grew out of conversations with Bending the Moral Arc, a discussion group between members of the Witherspoon and Nassau churches.

    • In the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment, slavery was outlawed everywhere BUT prison. Slavery – defined as forcing people to work for free or for extremely low wages – is still allowed in some states, including New Jersey. This system acts as an incentive to incarcerate more people because it provides an ongoing source of revenue for state activities, including those unrelated to the carceral system.
    • Members of the Mass Incarceration Taskforce are working to add an amendment to the New Jersey state constitution specifically outlawing the enslavement of incarcerated people. We feel that prisoners should have opportunities for paid employment or to learn a trade – but they should be paid a fair wage for their labors.
    • There are a variety of ways to get involved – and we invite you to become part of this effort. At our November meeting, Audi Peal described five initiatives to move this agenda forward:
      • Creating a shared repository of information about similar initiatives in other states;
      • Drafting a strategy for passing this amendment;
      • Creating a Policy Paper for sharing information about this work;
      • Engaging allies/partners in this work: faith groups, community groups, community leaders, and justice reform advocates;
      • Seeking grants and other funding sources for this initiative.

Can you help? If you would like to know more about any of these volunteer opportunities, please reach out to Anne Kuhn (email) or Patti Daley (email), the co-chairs of the Mass Incarceration Task Force.


 

Peace Building in the Holy Land

February 5 – 19, 2023

9:30 a.m. | Assembly Room

We are delighted to welcome our long-term mission partner, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), to Adult Education in February. Leaders from CMEP’s headquarters in Washington DC, CMEP partners from the Holy Land, and Nassau member Lina Genovesi, originally from Lebanon, will guide us through the history of the long-standing, complicated conflict in the land, multi-faith perspectives on peace building, and the biblical foundations for advocacy.


Audio recordings will be posted below each class description.


February 5

An Introduction to Israel and Palestine Today

Kyle Christofalo

Kyle serves as the Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Relations for Churches for Middle East Peace. Kyle holds a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Messiah College, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He was first introduced to Middle East advocacy work during a semester abroad in Cairo, Egypt. After graduating from college, Kyle spent 10 months serving with the Mennonite Central Committee in Bethlehem, Palestine, where he was seconded to work with Bethlehem Bible College. Most recently, Kyle served as the Program Assistant for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on Legislation where he helped coordinate lobbying work on Middle East policy and trained grassroots advocates on how to lobby their Congressional representatives.

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February 12

Multi-faith Perspectives on Peace Building from the Holy Land

Lina Genovesi

Lina is a member of Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, New Jersey. As a child of war in Lebanon, Lina was sensitized to the importance of peace in the Middle East, having experienced first-hand the negative impact warring political factions can have on the lives of ordinary people subjected to pain and suffering they have no control over. Lina is inspired by CMEP’s message of justice and peace in the Middle East and is excited and honored to be part of CMEP’s effort. Lina is employed as an attorney and is blessed with a husband and a daughter.

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February 19

Biblical Foundations for Christian Peace Building and Advocacy

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

Mae Elise is the executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace and an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). She holds an MDiv from North Park Theological Seminary, an MBA from North Park University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management, and an MA in bioethics from Trinity International University. She received a PhD from the University of California (Davis) focusing on the history of the American Protestant church in Israel and Palestine, and a second PhD in Ministry in Spiritual Formation from Northern Theological Seminary. She is the author of several books including the award-winning Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World and is the editor of A Land Full of God: Christian Perspectives on the Holy Land.

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Westminster Conservatory Recital – February 16, 2023

Westminster Conservatory Noontime Recitals
Present Music for Solo Piano on February 16


On Thursday, February 16 at 12:15 p.m. Westminster Conservatory at Nassau will present Erik Allesee in a recital of music for solo piano. A member of the Westminster Conservatory piano faculty, Mr. Allesee will perform in the Niles Chapel. The recital is open to the public free of charge; masking is optional.

The program on February 16 comprises two sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti; an arrangement of “My Favorite Things” by Stephen Hough; “The Lark,” a song by Balakirev transcribed for piano by Glinka; Franz Liszt’s Concert Etude no. 2 “Gnomenreigen;” Chopin’s Nocturne in D-flat, op. 27, no. 2; and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor, opus 28 by Felix Mendelssohn.

Westminster Conservatory at Nassau recitals will continue on March 16 with a recital by Melissa Bohl, oboe; Craig Levesque, horn; and Phyllis Lehrer, piano. In a slight departure from the regular schedule this recital will begin at 12:00 noon and will take place in the sanctuary of Nassau Presbyterian Church.

#MissionMonday – Valentines for Food 2023

Help the Hungry in Mercer County Feed Their Families

Each year at this time….

SUPPORT ARM IN ARM’S 19TH ANNUAL VALENTINES FOR FOOD DRIVE


How can you help? Follow the links for more detailed information below.

  • DONATE: Drop off food to the pantry at Nassau (download the shopping list below).
  • PARTICIPATE: in the online virtual food drive.
  • CONTRIBUTE: Monetary donations can be sent to Nassau or directly to Arm In Arm.
  • VOLUNTEER: your time at one of our pantries in Trenton or Princeton.

ACTION STEPS

  • DONATE: healthy, non-perishable food to our pantry, 12-16 oz. cans, no glass containers, please! Remember to check expiration dates.
    • Corn Flour (Maseca)
    • Canned Vegetables (low-fructose)
    • Rice
    • Canned Proteins (tuna, salmon, chicken, chili)
    • Canned Beans (low-sodium)
    • Peanut Butter
    • Cereal
    • Canned Fruits
    • Seasonings
    • Shelf-Stable Milk (Parmalat)
    • Honey
    • Vegetable/Canola Oil
  • PARTICIPATE: in our Valentines for Food virtual food drive. Visit https://amplify.ampyourgood.com/user/campaigns/3983 to purchase food that will be delivered directly to Arm In Arm.
  • CONTRIBUTE: On-line or by mail and remember that your gift will be DOUBLED thanks to the generosity of several Nassau Presbyterian Church members.
    • Arm In Arm: arminarm.org/valentines or by using the Valentines for Food envelopes in Nassau’s pew racks (make checks payable to “Arm In Arm” and note in the Memo: “Nassau”)
    • Nassau: https://nassauchurch.org/giving/give-now/or mail to 61 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542 (make checks payable to “Nassau Presbyterian” and note in the Memo: “Valentines for Food”)
    • Contact the church office by phone 609-924-0103 or by email if you have any questions.
  • VOLUNTEER: at one of our food pantries during the week. Email for more details.

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Did you know that in a single year Arm In Arm provides enough food for its clients to prepare approximately one million meals for themselves and their families? When you support Valentines for Food, you support Arm In Arm’s effective response to food insecurity in our area.


Our Princeton Food Pantry at Nassau Presbyterian Church

  • Arm In Arm’s Princeton Pantry serves approximately 300-400 families on a regular basis. These are local families and seniors, many of whom are served bi-monthly through home deliveries made by volunteers to communities on: Clary Street, Witherspoon Street, Redding Circle, and Spruce Circle.
  • In 2022 this pantry provided groceries to families through more than 7,800 visits and deliveries, this is more than four times our pre-pandemic number.
  • Families receive fresher, healthier food and Arm In Arm has made a commitment to providing families with fresh produce on a regular basis. Our food budget has tripled since before the onset of the pandemic.
  • Nutrition education is provided to community members including by virtual zoom classes in both English and Spanish.

Our Agency

    • Arm In Arm operates 2 brick-and-mortar food pantries in Mercer County, as well as a Mobile Food Pantry and Resource Center which is deployed to food insecure communities and neighborhoods 2-4 times per week. Brick-and-motar panties are located at :
      • Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton
      • 48 Hudson Street in Trenton
    • On the heels of the pandemic, the need continues and in 2022, over the course of more than 48,000 visits to Arm In Arm’s food pantries, and through mobile deliveries and grab ‘n go events in the community, people had access to healthy, high quality food for themselves and their families. This is more than DOUBLE our pre-panemic level.
    • People are coming more often: it is expensive to live in our area and hte food we provide helps to ease the burden, freeing up resources to covr rent, medical bills, car repairs, or even shoes for their children.
    • Donations of In-Kind Food from Food Drives are critical: Every grocery order includes approximately $20-25 of food that Arm In Arm purchases. This food is supplemented with $30-$40 of food that is donated by the local food bank and by communities like Nassau Presbyterian Church, Trinity Church, and Princeton Public Schools, who conduct food drives and donate much-needed non-perishables. This means that the value of a grocery order for a family is approximately $50-$60.
      • While some are food pantries occassionally must turn hungry people away, Arm In Arm has NEVER seen its shelves go empty, thanks to the generosity of its supporters.
    • Approximately one third of the people who receive food through Arm In Arm are under age 18.
    • About one fifth of Arm in Arm’s food clients are aged 60 and above. Many older clients live in community housing in Princeton and Trenton and receive food on a regular basis through Arm In Arm’s volunteer delivery service.
    • Arm in Arm provides fresh, local produce for its customers, much of it donated by farmers and farmers’ markets, and also from supporters of Yes We CAN! Food Drives; community, school, and church gardens; Whole Foods Market; Farmers Against Hunger; and our own community vegetable garden right in downtown Trenton!
      • Arm in Arm’s volunteer-tended vegetable garden produced nearly 900 pounds of fresh produce this past summer.
    • Arm In Arm supports the Robbins Elementary School in Trenton through the Princeton Area Community Foundation’s All Kids Thrive Program, which seeks to improve educational performance by reducing chronic absenteeism. The food and case management support we provide results in improved family stability and thus far, has led to increased attendance.