Encyclical for IOCC Sunday - November 18, 2012
Nov 15, 2012
“Live in Christ, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7)
To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and
Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas:
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
On this Sunday before Thanksgiving, we look to God with gratitude and humility for blessing us with abundance. The week ahead will bring together families and friends, filling the seats around our dinner table to share with those we love. Our attention must also turn to our brothers and sisters who did not reap a season of bounty because drought, disease or manmade conflict denied them the fruits of their labor. For these most vulnerable, we must do more than just remember.
It is the mission of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the humanitarian agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, to respond to Christ’s call to help our neighbors in need. Every year, we designate this day among the Orthodox community as IOCC Sunday, and join in common purpose to lighten the burden of poverty stricken families, rebuild the lives of mothers and children fleeing war torn homes, and restore the dignity of the infirm.
Since 1992, IOCC has represented the Orthodox faithful of North America in its tireless humanitarian efforts around the world. On your wings of support, families and communities in 50 countries have been uplifted by more than $400 million in emergency relief and assistance. From its first humanitarian airlift to the former Soviet Union, to its current efforts to deliver food and bedding to displaced Syrian families, IOCC demonstrates daily what is possible through our united effort.
Through its close work with the Church, homeless Greek families are receiving food packages and medical care; Bosnian entrepreneurs are using micro loans to create jobs and community prosperity, and Zimbabwe’s babies have a fighting chance to reach their fifth birthday because of new medical equipment and adequate medicine to treat infections.
Every day, wherever people are in need, IOCC puts your faith and compassion to work for the multitudes. We call on you now to share your abundance, heeding the words of St. Paul to “look out not only for our own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Through our Lord we will find faith taking deeper root, greater love for others and greater joy in putting that faith into action in the service of others.
May this blessed season fill you and your family with the Holy Spirit, and join you in love and harmony as we prepare to welcome His Glorious Nativity in Bethlehem.
With paternal blessing and love in Christ,
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America
1559 NORTH WOODLAWN STREET
WICHITA, KANSAS 67208-2429
PHONE: 316.687.3169 • FAX: 316.636.5628 • EMAIL: SECRETARIAT@ASSEMBLYOFBISHOPS.ORG