The Good Friday Offering: 1932-1942￼
The second decade of the Good Friday Offering was one of pain, anguish, and conflict – though with glimmers of hope interspersed throughout the years.
The country was gripped in the throes of grief as the Great Depression challenged millions of people. But at the same time, the Empire State Building, at that time the tallest building in the world, was opened. Poverty was omnipresent, but at the same time, FDR’s New Deal and the establishment of the social safety net offered a potential way out. The Dust Bowl raged, carrying hundreds of millions of tons of dust from the Great Plains to the East Coast, blanketing New York City and Washington D.C and everything between. This is to say nothing of the turmoil occurring in Europe, as World War II began and would eventually draw in the United States.
During the first decade of the Good Friday Offering, the amount of money raised grew year after year. By 1928, the Offering amounted to almost $27,000, of which $5,000 was set aside for mission work among Jewish Americans by direction of the General Convention that year. Shortly thereafter, however, the Great Depression caused giving to drop steeply, and less than $20,000 was raised in 1931. This would deeply impact operations on the ground in Jerusalem in the Middle East; complaints had already arisen that clergy and staff in the region had been undercompensated and overworked.
The Woman’s Auxiliary, ever one of the most formidable para-church organizations, subsequently resolved to promote interest in the Offering in every parish. Due to their tenacity and passion, along with the faithfulness and generosity of Episcopalians, funds continued increasing through this decade. In 1938, $23,000 was sent. By 1940 that number had grown to $26,000. By the end of this decade, in 1942, the Good Friday Offering had raised $32,000 for ministry in the Holy Land and beyond.
The scope of the work continued to grow as well. By action of General Convention in 1940, fifteen percent of the Offering was committed to the Russian Theological Academy in Paris to “meet the expense incurred in responding to the request of the ancient Christians in the Near East for aid in training their clergy among more modem lines.”
Please join us in celebrating a century of gifts and rejoicing in 2,000 years of Good News. Give now at iam.ec/goodfridayoffering or text ‘GFO’ to 91999 (messaging and data rates apply).