Bishop’s Epiphany and Lenten Appeal 2021
Feast of the Confession of Peter (January 18)
“…Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these
who are members of my family, you did it to me…” (Matthew 23: 40)
‘Hunger isn’t a deferred option’
My beloved Diocesan Family,
Every baptized Christian, as a faithful follower of Jesus, is called to that undeniable role as a missionary of righteous living. Each of us is a prototype and/or derivative of the one living resurrected Christ who was the quintessential ‘burden bearer’. As Jesus demonstrated selfless love by embodying care and concern for the world, likewise as modern-day disciples, our call is to continue his missional message of love: pursuing justice for all, bringing healing to this broken world, and giving generously to the needs of the poor, disenfranchised and helpless. The aforementioned gospel text of Jesus is a clear indication of his identification with the ‘invisible and underrepresented’ of the world and society. Our Lord’s church is constantly reminded of its ministry to identify with the beloved living and surviving in what the Latin American theologians termed ‘people in the underside of society’.
In the interest of contributing to the alleviation of human suffering in the face of unexpected and unforeseeable events, events that have already and inevitably will again diminish the integrity of our sisters and brothers, I write to appeal to members of our diocesan family to make a generous donation to the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund. It is customary for this fund to be serviced from the special offering taken at the Bishop’s Annual Visitation to parishes. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Pandemic has significantly restricted visitation to parishes. Yet at the same time the care, concerns and needs of God’s beloved has continued unabated, and even more so in a time of pandemic. As a result, the fund is severely depleted. The bishop doesn’t anticipate resuming regular parish visitation until either most of our sisters and brothers are vaccinated, or by, God’s grace, the overwhelming threat posed by the virus to health and safety has significantly diminished.
Over the years I have seen the generosity of our Diocesan family as we have tended to one another, our communities, and our global brothers and sisters. It is with a grateful heart that I mail this letter, confident that our Episcopal family on the Eastern shore of Maryland will open their hearts and give generously to this year’s Epiphany and Lenten Appeal.
May this generous effort remain a powerful demonstration of support and solidarity. A sign of our commitment and empathy with the efforts envisioned in helping to return the lives of God’s beloved to some semblance of normalcy.
In the Seasons of Light, Hope, Self-emptying and Penitence, the gospel is clear and poignant in its admonition to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and reach out with a ‘helping hand’ to those who need our assistance, and that when we do so for ‘the least of these’ we are doing so for Christ, our Savior himself. As faithful baptized Christians, we are sanctified to live out this call “to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself.”
My beloved in Christ, I implore your generosity and encourage you to give lavishly to this remarkably noble and hopeful cause. You may do so through your parish or send checks to Diocese of Easton, 314 North Street, Easton, MD 21601, with a notation indicating “Bishop’s Epiphany and Lenten Appeal”. You may also choose to give online by clicking here.
I encourage all rectors, priests-in-charge, supply clergy, wardens, worship leaders and vestries to make this appeal one of the priorities in their Epiphany and Lenten parochial activity.
As your brother in Christ and bishop, I am genuinely confident in the generosity of this caring and loving diocese, supporters and well-wishers who find our churches a place of hope and grace.
Every blessing and love!
Together in Christ’s service,