Many of us have been following with alarm the persecution of Christians in various countries of the Middle East and Africa. Concern has been expressed within our diocese by priests and laity of the need for us to have a diocesan response to this current crisis.
At our Diocesan Council Meeting last week all concurred that as Bishop I would appoint an upcoming Sunday to be set aside for specific prayer and intercession for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in the midst of this persecution as well as a day for fasting on their behalf. I have appointed September 14th as a Sunday for such diocesan wide intercession. It is the Sunday nearest to Holy Cross Day which is transferred this year to be observed on Monday, September 15th.
Although it is technically a “feast” day, I am suggesting that we use it as a called fast day for personal and corporate self-denial and intercession whether corporately or individually observed depending upon the constraints of parish and personal schedules. I believe there is virtue in many within the diocese banding together in prayer, self-denial and offering in solidarity with fellow Christians around the world.
Those who desire to assist in monetary ways may I suggest Anglican Relief and Development (ARDF) or Voice of the Martyrs as appropriate ministries to assist those in need. Included in this email is a link for a bulletin insert to be used in your parish on Sunday, September 14th which includes a collect and prayer as well as a suggested Psalm according to the Book of Common Prayer.
Yours in Christ,
XIV Bishop of South Carolina