Sunday, October 07, 2007
He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully
2 Corinthians 9:6
To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and
The Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas:
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
On this Sunday before the Thanksgiving holiday, when we thank God for the bounty that He has so richly bestowed on us, we take time to recognize the work of the SCOBA Humanitarian aid agency, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). Every year, IOCC Sunday reminds us to share our abundance with those throughout the world whose lives have been torn apart by war, hatred, disease, hurricanes - man-made and natural disasters.
Our Lord's exhortation (St. Matthew ch. 25) to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, and visit the sick and imprisoned is carried out by IOCC on four continents and seventeen countries every day. But this critical ministry can only be done with our collective support.
It is a Biblical truth that we will reap what we sow. When we sow bountifully, it is not only we who will reap bountifully, but also our brothers and sisters in need. Through your generous support of IOCC, millions of people receive the care and attention that all of God's people deserve.
Since its establishment in 1992, IOCC has faithfully fulfilled its mission to minister to those who are suffering and are in need throughout the world. It has now delivered over $250 million in services to some of the world's most vulnerable people in 33 countries. While we are grateful for this faithfulness to our Lord's mandate during these first fifteen years, we know that much remains to be done to ease the horrendous effects of calamities that can strike at any time.
As you participate in this holiday season, we exhort you as your spiritual shepherds; count your blessings and joyfully share hospitality not only with your loved ones, but also with those who are struggling throughout the world. In so doing, you not only bring them help and hope, but you kindle God's love towards you. As St. Paul reminds us: So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
May our Loving Lord, Who willingly gave Himself up so that we may experience the supreme joy of loving and sharing, continue to bless you and your families in this holy season that leads to His Glorious Nativity in Bethlehem.
+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary
Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer
Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA
Orthodox Church in America
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America & Canada
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
+Bishop ILIA of Philomelion
Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America