Reverend Fathers and Dearly Beloved in the Lord:
I am happy to once again ask your support for the Annual Christmas Stocking Project. I wish to offer my sincere thanks to all of you who made last year’s program a success despite the slower economy. With your help, I am confident that we can look forward to another successful year.
In my recent visits to Russia, Ukraine and Poland, I received warm words of gratitude for the Christmas gifts that have been received in the past. My brother hierarchs assured me that, for the children in orphanages, those still in treatment from the aftereffects of Chernobyl, those in village parishes, the gifts are a highlight of their Christmas celebrations. In addition to the countries mentioned above, this year’s Christmas stockings (or an equivalent gift) will go to children in Albania, Belarus, Slovakia, and some of the remote villages in Alaska.
I encourage you to engage your young people in creative efforts to raise funds for the Christmas stockings and gifts. The enthusiasm and fellowship these projects can generate are felt not only by the youth and young adults who become involved, but also encompass the entire parish community.
The cost to make and send each stocking (or an equivalent gift) is $4.50. $45.00 will provide for 10 children, $450.00 for 100 children. We ask you to plan your projects and collections early in the fall. Please send your donations to the Chancery Office, to the attention of Mrs. Arlene Kallaur, as close as possible to October 31, 2003.
Please join me in continuing to provide this special joy for the children by supporting this important project—one that strengthens the ties between the Orthodox Church in America and its sister Churches overseas. I ask that you also remember that the work of the Office of Humanitarian Aid, which sponsors this project, is funded solely by the voluntary gifts made by the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards.
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada