Syosset, New York
Dear Mission Appeal Supporter:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19).
With these words, our Lord Jesus Christ defines the mission of the Church-to proclaim the Gospel so that all peoples “may come to the knowledge of the Truth.” I could not help but recall these words of the Lord during my first official visit to the Diocese of Alaska after my election to the office of Metropolitan of All America and Canada. There, in Kodiak, the site of the first Orthodox parish on this continent, I once again venerated the relics of Saint Herman of Alaska and asked his continued blessing upon our efforts to preach the Orthodox Faith throughout North America. Obedient to the Lord’s command, Saint Herman and his companions made great sacrifices and endured many hardships to bring the saving message of the Gospel to the native peoples of Alaska. And the Lord rewarded their efforts by establishing His Vineyard in North America.
I have recently traveled to Mexico to visit the Mexican Exarchate where I was able to observe, first hand, the deep love and devotion which the Orthodox faithful of Mexico have for Christ and His Holy Church. Both Mexico and Alaska continue to be mission lands. Indeed, all of North America is mission territory waiting to hear the saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While we often think of North American society as being rooted in Christian values and ideals, we must also realize that there are many who have not yet heard or have not yet accepted the Gospel in its fullness.
In 1994, the Orthodox Church in America set a goal of establishing fifty new parishes within a ten-year period. Since that time, eighty-four new missions have been established across North America! Although much has already been accomplished, there is much that is yet to be accomplished. There are still states and provinces-there are still people searching for Christ who await the establishment of new missions. Together, we can build upon the progress that has already been made. Your generous support of the 2003 Mission Appeal will ensure the continuation of the Church’s missionary efforts, especially through its funding of the Church Planting Grant Program to which eligible mission communities are invited to apply.
My predecessor, His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS, was dedicated to the important work of the missions. I, along with all the bishops of our Church, share this same commitment. As this is the first time that I write asking your support of the work of our missions, I call upon your commitment to Christ and His Church and invite you to share in the work that is ongoing-the work of proclaiming the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. I ask you to please be generous in your response so that this year’s Mission Appeal can make a greater impact than ever in support of this important work.
Asking God to bless you for your commitment and generosity to Christ and His Holy Church, I remain
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada