Saturday after Ash Wednesday
[Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, 604]
Deuteronomy 7:17-26 Psalms 30, 32, 42, 43 Titus 3:1-15 John 1:43-51
I have often highlighted the many strengths of St. John’s Church, not the least of which are our outreach programs both domestic and global. Last October, Robin and I were fortunate to be part of a pilgrimage to Israel and the West Bank. One of the purposes of this pilgrimage, as outlined by our rector, Luis León, was “to reach out to the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in order to establish a partnership between St. John’s Church and a congregation or institution in that diocese.” That goal was accomplished, and we now have a relationship with St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ramallah on the West Bank.
The rector of St. Andrew’s is Hanna Dalleh, a brave and dedicated servant of God who lives out his faith by maintaining an Episcopal presence in a most challenging environment. Those of us on the pilgrimage witnessed similar dedication and courage during our visits to two other churches, one in the West Bank and the other in Israel. All three rectors make the most of their limited resources as they care for their families and congregations and reach out to people of other faiths in their communities. I was as moved by their example as I was by the several holy places we visited during our pilgrimage. And, as chairman of the Stewardship Committee at St. John’s, I was grateful that we have the resources to partner with St. Andrew’s (and for that matter, St. Peter and St. Paul in Springs, South Africa). In the Book of Titus, Chapter 3, Verse 14, it is written: And let the people learn to devote themselves to good works in order to meet urgent needs. The needs of our partner parishes are indeed urgent.