JEM Team Members
Lee Van Ham: Director, Co-founding Member
I’m especially interested now in paradigm shift. How do we shift the economic paradigm from the unsustainable one that prevails to one of sacred abundance, in which there is enough for all life; one in which the planet breathes instead of gasps. How do you and I need to change to be part of this deep conversion? I’ve volunteered full time with JEM since 2000, bringing to it my experiences in group processes, workshop leader, teacher, poet, and pastor. Currently, I continue as JEM director. Most of my energy goes into writing, podcasting, and presenting. I hold the conviction that the change now needed must engage our personal, communal, and societal energies along with spiritual energies. Addressing the economic (how much?), political (policy), cultural (habits and stories), and social (class) realities without the spiritual will not bring the deep change needed to sustain life. My life experience includes growing up on an Iowa farm and being in pastoral leadership of three congregations (Presbyterian) over 32 years. Married to Juanita, we each have two adult children, two adult step-children, and together, four grandchildren. We love tent-camping. Read an early article telling a bit on how I entered into the work that JEM does.
Dan Swanson: Member, Board of Directors
Dan has desired to live the message of the Jubilee since high school days when he would volunteer at soup kitchens and homeless shelters in Chicago. It was during these days that the fledgling Sojourners community and magazine began to make an impact on his life. During college he participated in an urban semester program in San Francisco and graduated from Calvin College where the South African resistance leader, Alan Boesak, was a visiting prof. During the 80’s he spent time in Sandinista, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico City interspersing these immersion experiences with theological studies at the New College Berkeley. The 90’s saw him lay down some roots in his own backyard in a Mexican barrio of Chicago where he helped found a very community oriented church and taught bilingual Special Education in local high schools. Trips back to Mexico were also frequent during this time where in 1998 he met his future wife working as a medical missionary in the mountains of Veracruz. We were married in 2002 and have been working among indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Puebla and currently Chiapas. Dan has been involved with JEM since its founding and continues to be involved as a board member and liaison for people who are interested in one of our “opening the eyes” immersions to Mexico.
Douglas Clegg: President, Board of Directors
Born and raised in San Francisco, Doug Clegg spent nearly twenty years in New England. He creates passionate music about life, soul, injustice, love. Clegg plays guitar (6- and 12-string, steel), piano, fiddle, mandolin, and accordion. As a musician and award-winning songwriter, Doug writes and sings about injustice, tough times, and peacemaking. In over thirty years of performing, he has recorded seven CDs, toured from coast to coast, and played in benefit concerts for many good causes. Also a massage therapist, he is dedicated to living simply and in harmony with the earth, and helping lift up the less fortunate members of the human family.
Trish Goedecke, Member, Board of Directors
I met Lee Van Ham and other members of JEM while looking for new friends of common interests, being an immigrant to San Diego from the great state of Washington. With JEM I am learning what we as individuals can do to support global justice, and how to join with others to communally pursue such aims. I have a long interest in economic justice for nations and for neighborhoods, and in the issue of justice theologically. My current nomadic journey is taking me next to Memphis, Tennessee, where I will seek employment in Financial Analysis and explore the blues.
Kyle Holberg: Metanoia Newsletter & Data Management
My relationship with JEM began years later on a warm, lazy afternoon in August 2002. Thinking that I might be interested in JEM’s work, a mutual friend had given my telephone number to Lee Van Ham. The following week, Lee and I met at a neighborhood coffee shop to discuss the possibility of my volunteering some time. Not long into our conversation I remember thinking, now here is an organization that clearly shares many of my values. Though unsure how I might fit in, I left the meeting with a distinct sense of connectedness to this small group of folks who believe that an alternative to the way we currently order our economic lives is not only necessary, but possible. Over the years I’ve held a variety of “jobs” at JEM, including website construction and maintenance, Metanoia newsletter layout, and yes, periodically licking stamps and stuffing envelopes.
After all these years, I’m still fascinated with this vision of a world with “enough for all.” No doubt that’s why I continue on this journey with JEM in their advocacy for “real change.”
Gerald “Jerry” Iversen: Blogger; Producer/Co-Host, The Common Good Podcast
My wife Rita and I adopted the Voluntary Simplicity lifestyle after reading “Living More with Less” some 30 years ago. Now we can honestly say “Simple Living Works!”
That’s the name of my eNewsletter, blog and podcast. I had the honor of serving as National Coordinator of Alternatives for Simple Living from 1995 through 2007. Lee Van Ham and I were aware of each others’ work and in 2006, while on a speaking tour, I was invited to visit Jubilee’s Chicago house. What a warm welcome I received!
Voluntary simplicity and Jubilee Economics fit together closely and warmly. Voluntary simplicity is a comprehensive lifestyle, not just about growing tomatoes and wearing old clothes. It IS Jubilee Economics on a personal, individual scale.
Marco Tavanti: Advisor
I am a sociologist and a theologian with a commitment to social and economic justice. I teach graduate courses in the International Public Service School at DePaul University in Chicago and direct an academic program in Chiapas, Mexico, studying sustainable development and the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). I have worked in various community-based and economic development projects in Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, United States, and in Italy, my native country. I have conducted fieldwork research among the Civil Society Las Abejas, in Chiapas and continue supporting and accompanying the indigenous struggle for social, economic and political justice. I teach courses on global civil society, international ethics, sustainable development, servant leadership and intercultural communication. I am married to Liz and blessed by the gift of our daughter Julie.
Marco at the DePaul University site.
Darel brings a lot to the practice of a jubilee economy. He studied Hebrew and Greek at the Univ. of Chicago Divinity School, was a community organizer in the Cabrini Green Housing Project in Chicago, directed a White House task force to eliminate redlining, became a CPA and managed a $100 million portfolio of commercial real estate for Bank of America, co-founded a non-profit in Tacoma and sold 40 housing units to low-income households; then, since 2001, living in Seattle, has focused on economic justice campaigns, working with poor and incarcerated people. A voracious reader, Darel will soon list some of his favorite jubilee books on the JEM website, commenting on the substance and usefulness of the books he chooses.
Ross & Gloria Kinsler
Ross and Gloria Kinsler spent 25 years as theological educators in Central America, serving in Guatemala and also at the Latin American Biblical University, San Jose, Costa Rica. They are the authors of The Biblical Jubilee and the Struggle for Life (Orbis Books, 1999) and the editors of God’s Economy: Biblical Studies from Latin America (Orbis Books, 2005). Gloria worked in the Sanctuary Movement and led many delegations in Central American countries. Untold numbers of lives have been impacted and changed through their writing and transformational teaching.