From the Presiding Bishop:I can hear people saying to themselves, we just celebrated Christmas and now we are getting ready for Lent! Yes, Lent is upon us and it is time to make preparations. I encourage each of you to plan in advance what you are going to do on a personal level as your spiritual discipline for this Season. Talk with your parish priest if you need guidance or have questions.
An important part of keeping a true Lent is focusing outside of oneself on to the needs of others. This can be expressed in a number of ways such as helping with local parish projects to assist the less fortunate. When we commit to a spiritual discipline during Lent, whether it is on a personal level or reaching out to assist others, it is part of establishing a rule of life which would set a pattern for future living.
I am going to designate the 2020 Lenten Appeal to be for a domestic mission. I have spoken with Bishop Ordinary Giffin, Bishop Coadjutor Jones, Suffragan Bishop Perkins (Chairman of our Domestic Mission Board), and Missionary Bishop Haines, and we all enthusiastically support having our two Alabama mission churches that Father John Klein is pastoring to be the recipients. It will now be a matter of finding the right man to take on this challenge. Father Klein is a wonderful priest with great experience and knowledge. He is building St. James the Great Church in Smith Station, Alabama, from scratch and is also serving as the vicar of St. Matthias Church, Dothan, Alabama. He drives every Sunday, following Holy Eucharist at Smiths Station, to Dothan, Alabama (about 2 hours) to celebrate and teach there. He could use the help and would provide excellent training and mentoring for a young curate. Some of you may be aware that St. Matthias Church had an average Sunday attendance of 6 people and are now have over 30. Many new members have come from a local Episcopal Church which has gone the way of the World. Bishop Jones will be at St. Matthias upon his return from the Holy Land and will receive around 30 new members. Father Klein has been an inspiration and we are blessed to have him and his dedicated wife Linda with us. I pray that all of you and your parishes will join in the support of this year’s Lenten Appeal.
The ambitious goal will once again be to raise $100,000. It would be used over a period of three years to support an energetic curate who would relocate to the chosen area; i.e. $50,000 the first year, $30,000 the second year and $20,000 the third year. The mission churches will be expected to increasingly make up the difference in compensation.
My prayer is that as we consider our Lenten sacrifice for this Appeal, we will do so remembering we are working at Kingdom building. Whether it is in a far off land or here in our country, our goal is to bring people to Christ. As you fast and pray as part of your Lenten discipline for your own parish and its spiritual health, pray also for others in our Diocese and Province as well as our Global Partners who are laboring for the Gospel in other lands.
May the Lord grant us a spiritually profitable Lenten Season and pray also for the Lenten Appeal that it will be blessed of the Lord.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, D.D., Presiding Bishop