Let us not love in word or in tongue,
but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3: 18)

November 22, 2009

The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the
Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas

To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and Devout Faithful
of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas

Dearly Beloved in Christ Jesus,

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God the Father, Christ Jesus our Lord, and from the All-Holy Spirit.

On this Sunday before our National Feast of Thanksgiving, we offer thanks to God who has given us the ministry of loving and caring for our brothers and sisters. Through International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), our SCOBA humanitarian aid and development agency, the Orthodox people of North America have a way to express their love and unity to the wounded of this world. Since 1992, IOCC has delivered more than $300 million in humanitarian services to people in need in more than 33 countries on our behalf.

In the spirit of Christ's love, IOCC helps families who have been devastated by a natural disaster like a hurricane or are forced to leave their homes because of an armed conflict. Your gifts of love allow IOCC to deliver water, food, medicine, hygiene and hospital supplies to those who need them the most in places like Georgia, Russia, Kosovo, the Holy Land, Lebanon and Zimbabwe.

IOCC also helps families and communities in 24 countries create lasting change through micro-loans for poor farmers, education for children from low-income families, vocational training for refugees and programs that help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Orthodox Church is a key partner with IOCC to help the poor. IOCC assists the Church to create and manage charitable works, and to mobilize thousands of Orthodox Christian volunteers in communities across our Nation.

IOCC is every Orthodox Christian listening to this message today. When you support IOCC, you are expressing your desire to give and to receive God's love. And so brothers and sisters, as the Apostle of love exhorted the faithful of his day, so we exhort you: Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18), the love of the Triune God Who is Love.

May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bless you and your families this holiday season, as we offer thanksgiving to Him, and make ready to receive Him anew in His Glorious Nativity in Bethlehem.

With paternal love and blessings in Christ,


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