The Good Friday Offering: 1952-1962
The fourth decade of the Good Friday Offering was marked by the post-World War II boom, the dawn of the Cold War, and the Civil Rights movement in the United States. There was a particularly important medical breakthrough in 1953 when a medical researcher named Jonas Salk successfully tested his experimental vaccine for polio on himself and his own family. Civil rights were front-page news in 1954 when school segregation was banned. This decision was a foundation step towards the end of racial segregation but also sparked very quickly a venomous wave of racial violence.
The world was not immune from the continual threats of war; in 1956, the Suez Canal crisis ignited the powder keg in the Middle East as Israel, with the help of British and French troops, invaded Soviet-aligned Egypt. These tensions came in response to Egypt’s nationalization of the Suez Canal. Heavy diplomatic pressure and the threat of economic sanctions ended the hostilities in the same year that it started. The Suez Crisis was the first use of a United Nations peacekeeping force, further cementing the new approach to international relations.
The booming prosperity of the 1950s helped to create a widespread sense of stability and contentment but it would be a fragile one, as the tumultuous 1960s would prove.
The Good Friday Offering continued to benefit from generous Episcopalians. Beginning in 1955, a base offering of $15,000 was appropriated to the mission in Jerusalem and the Near East, and the National Council was directed to distribute the balance of funds to promote mission work in the region and to support Eastern Orthodox churches.
Occasionally, certain church organizations promoting Anglican-Orthodox cooperation received funds for short periods of time, including such ventures as the Joint Commission on Assistance to the Eastern Orthodox Churches in 1955 and the Joint Commission on Cooperation with the Eastern Churches in 1961.
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).