The Good Friday Offering: 1992-2002
The eighth decade of the Good Friday Offering coincided with the last years of the 20th century – and the first years of the 21st. The presiding bishops of The Episcopal Church, as we have seen thus far, have always been supportive of the Good Friday Offering. In this blogpost, we will cover some of the many comments made through the decade by Bishop Edmond L. Browning and Bishop Frank T. Griswold, III, who served in the role 1986 – 1997 and 1998 – 2006 respectively.
In 1995, Presiding Bishop Browning asked all Episcopalians, as part of their Lenten observance, to pray and give for the ministries “of their sisters and brothers in the Holy Land, in witness to the extraordinary courage and faith of Anglicans in that troubled region of the world.” In his Epiphany letter to Episcopal parishes, Browning said that, “Saint Paul speaks of a ‘debt’ owed to the church in Jerusalem, and he meant to assist the people of his day in addressing that wondrous responsibility. I believe we share that obligation with him and all Christians throughout the centuries.”
Of course, while the Good Friday Offering benefits the dioceses across the province – including Cyprus and the Gulf and Iran – the donation to the Church in this part of the world is intended to symbolize “unity with and passionate concern for those who witness to Christ throughout that region.” In a 1996 letter, Presiding Bishop Browning said that “modern technology makes it possible for us to know about tragedies and disasters all around the world; we are literally bombarded with news and the inherent call to ‘come over and help us!’ We know we need to respond but, unlike Saint Paul, we simply can’t ‘set sail’ each time we are presented with a cry for help. And yet we can be there, we can make our presence felt in tangible ways, we are not powerless to help.” The statement concludes that this opportunity is expressed through participation in the Good Friday Offering.
In 1997, Browning noted the history of the Good Friday Offering, symbolizing unity with those who witness to Christ throughout that region. He wrote, “This is the 75th anniversary of the inauguration of the Good Friday Offering as an institution of The Episcopal Church… The first offering by this name was taken up in 1922, near the end of the life of Presiding Bishop Daniel S. Tuttle.” Funds collected at the time included support for the Dioceses of Jerusalem, Iran, Cyprus and the Gulf, and Egypt and North Africa (the Diocese of Egypt and North Africa is now part of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Alexandria).
In 1999, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold asked that Episcopalians continue to pray for their sisters and brothers in the Holy Land and to support the Good Friday Offering. He was supported by Bishop Clive Handford of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, who explained the very real projects supported by the generosity of Episcopalians: “The Good Friday Offering funds played a significant part in enabling the project at Christ Church, Aden to come to completion.” The Christ Church compound includes a clinic for mothers and children, a worship center, and a community center providing an office and a small hostel for Christian workers. He continued, “This whole project has been the key item in diocesan outreach for the past three years and the Good Friday Offering was most important in enabling the initial vision to be realized.”
In 2000, Presiding Bishop Griswold asked that Episcopalians continue to pray for their sisters and brothers in the Holy Land and to support the Good Friday Offering as an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with Anglicans and all Christians in that region of the world. According to Griswold, “The words of the Bishop of Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal, make plain the importance of the Good Friday Offering: ‘I would like to take the opportunity to share my joy and express my appreciation to The Episcopal Church for working so diligently to support the Diocese of Jerusalem. I have no words to express my deep gratitude. Kindly convey my personal thanks and that of the diocese, clergy and laity to all our brothers and sisters in Christ.’”
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).