The text of a video Message to all congregations and members of the Diocese of Olympia encouraging participation throughout Lent and especially to gather funds for special missionary purposes.
Giving back is something we especially focus on during the season of Lent. In fact our canons say this: Every congregation is encouraged to solicit Church School Lenten Offerings for special missionary purposes to be designated by the Bishop. This is that gentle encouragement.
I want to remind you of two ways you can do this. The first is to simply do what the canons say, to solicit offerings for special missionary purposes. The canon says to be designated by the Bishop, but I am leaving that to you, and your local decision. I would only ask that it truly be given to missionary work outside our local selves.
If you are having trouble deciding where you might direct such an offering, I would commend to you the Good Friday Offering. Since 1922, Episcopalians have supported the ministries of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East through the Good Friday Offering. There is an even more direct connection for us in the Diocese of Olympia,since we have a long standing companion relationship with the Diocese of Jerusalem.
Through the work of the Episcopal dioceses in the Middle East, Christians, whose number grow smaller and smaller each day, maintain a peacemaking and stabilizing presence in the region, serving their neighbors regardless of faith background. I witnessed this again just last month during our pilgrimage. I cannot tell you how many times I heard Jew and Muslim alike say to me, “The Christians here must survive.” In so many ways they are the bridge, the glue of this region. I saw first hand the remarkable work these faithful sisters and brothers do in schools, hospitals, orphanages, and many more.
So, I urge you to consider the Good Friday Offering, and to give generously. Thank you, and God Bless you.