The Good Friday Offering: 1972-1982
Issues in history have a habit of reoccurring. As we look at the sixth decade of the Good Friday offering, we arrive in the early 1970s and momentous changes occurring within The Episcopal Church. On July 29, 1974, two years before General Convention affirmed and explicitly authorized the ordination of women to the priesthood, eleven women were ordained at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Changes also came to Anglicanism in the Middle East; the region, formerly under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury or his delegate, became an autonomous province in 1976. The province consisted of the Dioceses of Jerusalem, Egypt, Cyprus and the Gulf, and Iran. Heartened by the independence of the church, which was no doubt made possible in some part by support from the Good Friday Offering, faithful Episcopalians continued to support ministry in the Middle East. In 1975, Episcopal Church treasurer Matthew Costigan reported to council that total receipts of the Good Friday Offering had broken a record: $77,273.18. By 1978, that would increase to over $80,000.
In 1976, the 65th General Convention, meeting in Minneapolis, undertook several new measures of exceptional importance: first and foremost, the approval of the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate; second, the adoption of a proposed Book of Common Prayer to replace the book in use since 1928 (this would become the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, still in use today); and finally, the convention formally instituted the Good Friday Offering’s designation as gifts for Christian work in the Holy Land and for fulfilling the needs of Orthodox and Christian churches.
The National Hunger Committee of The Episcopal Church prepared the Lenten Hunger Program for 1979 as a “special time for Episcopalians to pray, study, give, fast and work for the alleviation of hunger.” It was noted that the Good Friday offering would provide opportunities for additional program focus and channels for giving.
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).