My beloved Diocese of Easton,
In my many years of global travel; living in various countries across two hemispheres, I have come to develop a very healthy respect, fear and appreciation for the forces of nature. These forces of nature are some of the most beautiful phenomena in God’s creation, yet at the same time, they are also some of the most destructive forces to human lives and livelihood. From the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan with the resulting Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Meltdown, the 2014 Indian Ocean Tsunami, numerous hurricanes in the Bahamas to tornadoes in Alabama, devastating and destructive fires in California and closer to home, multiple floods in Baltimore and other areas in the state of Maryland we are continually reminded of how catastrophic these forces can be. Equally, we recall those events, like Super Storm Sandy in 2012, that have touched us and our neighbors personally across the Eastern shore. Unfortunately, as humans can do very little to curb nature’s destructive force. Conversely, we ponder the reality of our own irresponsible contribution to the diminishment of the beauty and splendor of God’s creative work and we also ponder our own role in the ways that we can be better stewards of the world that God has entrusted to our care. We live and marvel daily at the paradox of God’s creation and our own place in it.
My beloved, in the interest of contributing to the alleviation of human suffering in the face of unexpected natural disasters and unforeseeable events; events that already have, and will inevitably again, diminish the integrity of our sisters and brothers, I invite the entire diocesan family to participate in this year’s BISHOP’S CHRISTMAS APPEAL. The experience of last year appeal gives much encouragement and affirmation that the Episcopal family on the Eastern shore of Maryland will open their hearts and give generously to this year’s appeal
I am designating this year’s Bishop’s Christmas Appeal to the remarkable work pioneered by Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) to assist in so many rebuilding efforts across this beautiful nation of ours. May your generous gifts be a powerful demonstration of support and solidarity; a sign of our commitment to and empathy with the efforts envisioned by various dioceses and communities in helping to return the lives of God’s beloved children to some semblance of normalcy.
In this season of gift giving, the gospel is clear and poignant in its admonition to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and to 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 a remarkably noble and hopeful cause. You may do so through your parish or send checks to Bray House, 314 North Street, Easton, MD 21601, with a notation indicating “Bishop’s Christmas Appeal”. I encourage all rectors, priests-in-charge, supply clergy, wardens, worship leaders and vestries to make this appeal a priority in their Christmas parochial activities.
As your brother in Christ and bishop, I am overwhelmingly confident in the generosity of this caring and loving diocese, our members, our supporters and the well-wishers who find our churches to be a place of hope and grace.
May God continue to shower a multitude of blessings upon you and all your loved ones.
Your friend and bishop,
XI Bishop of Easton