[In case you missed it, here is the Pastoral Letter that was read at all services of worship this past weekend (Mar 2) in the Diocese of Bethlehem.]
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus,
In a few weeks Easter will have dawned and we will again luxuriate in the light of the Lord’s Resurrection, celebrating the gift of new life that the Cross and Empty Tomb lavish on us.
As I celebrate Easter this year it will be with profound gratitude for what we as a diocesan family are doing. Construction has begun in Sudan and our Social Ministries Committee is preparing to make grants for new social ministries in our parishes. This work is possible because so many hearts have already responded with Christ’s own love for the weak and powerless.
With the active phase of the New Hope Campaign three-quarters over, we have gifts and pledges totaling $3,022,000 (as of February 24), putting us a bit ahead of schedule. Our goal of $3.6 million is well in sight.
Since last September I have been spending a few hours each week at the Trinity Soup Kitchen in Bethlehem, trying to be of use to some of Trinity’s guests for whom life has been harsh. I come away from Trinity each Monday and Friday more convinced than ever that our New Hope decision to assist parishes with seed money for social ministry is God-pleasing and necessary. I am aware of plans in Mt. Pocono and Scranton to undertake ministries of compassion, and know there are more being formulated. My own commitment to New Hope has increased because of this hands-on experience. I share this story as one paltry example of the grand truth that caring for others changes us, takes us out of ourselves, transform our souls. I know that many of you have had similar experiences of feeling that you have received a gift when you made an effort for those in need.
On this New Hope Renewal Sunday, I ask that you take a moment to listen silently to what God is calling you to do. If you are still waiting to make your commitment to New Hope, now would be the perfect time.
It is my growing hope that on Easter morning, 2008, we will have met our goal, and this is my heartfelt invitation to each of you to be as much a part of this ministry as God has enabled you.
This comes with my best wishes for the holy days ahead.