“Filled with Christ’s Love”

This fall was a brutal hurricane season for the United States! Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, then Irma, and finally Maria. Many are still struggling to put their lives together.

But thanks to ARDF donors, we were able to empower the local church with nearly $500,000 to reach out as the hands and feet of Jesus in their local communities. The following stories are not the sum of the efforts, but examples of how your generosity is transforming specific lives on the ground.

Hurricane Harvey

With your help, ARDF raised over $320,000 for relief efforts coordinated by the Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast. Working through local churches across the diocese, nearly 100 families have been served to date. And the Diocese is still receiving – and funding – applications for assistance. For example, Father Dale Chrisman and his church, Trinity Anglican Church, are participating in work days to help affected families in Port Arthur, Texas, a poorer area hit hardest by the hurricane. They have collected everything from microwave ovens to socks as donations for Port Arthur families. Thousands of Port Arthur homes were totally or partially destroyed; only 24% of homeowners had flood insurance. Many relief efforts have focused on the Texas Gulf Coast or the Houston area. With your funds, materials were purchased to allow volunteers to rebuild the homes of sixteen families in Port Arthur working through the Austin Disaster Relief Network, a coalition of 180 Austin-area churches (of which Trinity Anglican is a member).

Hurricane Irma

Over $85,000 was collected and distributed through the Diocese of the Atlantic Gulf Coast. After Irma came storming up the state of Florida, a group of churches and other service agencies formed Irmarelief.faith. Since September, this coalition, which includes All Souls Anglican, has organized relief weekends, with participants from all over the Southeast! They estimate that over 2,500 people have been reached through these efforts. Some have received support care bags, some rebuilding assistance, and others food. All have received prayer!

“Seeing how grateful the people we helped was so humbling, and I could see Christ through each and every person we met. It truly opened my heart when a man I didn’t know prayed over [our] group when we knocked on his door. He was so thankful and filled with Christ’s love. It was such a beautiful moment.” – Elizabeth Holiday, student from The House, a campus ministry connected with The Mission Chattanooga through Deacon Jason Leonard.

Hurricane Maria

Over $68,000 was collected for Hurricane Maria relief. Working through three partners, ARDF brought needed relief to both Puerto Rico and the smaller island of Vieques. One partner, Water Mission, has now restored clean water to 37 communities! Furthermore, they have played a role in collaborative meetings between FEMA and other other organizations looking at sustainable solutions for water needs. They have also had the opportunity to share the benefits of solar installations. Pray that God would open more doors to this approach, so that the next time the island loses power, communities will not lose clean water!

We at ARDF are so grateful for the generous hearts of our donors, who know that when disaster hits, local churches are best positioned to reach out to the hurting. Should you wish to volunteer in person, you can sign up to help in Texas or Florida through our partners.

Thank you again for your faithfulness to God’s call. I wish you the Merriest of Christmases!

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” – Proverbs 19:17

Christine Jones is the Director of Mobilization for the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. Find out more about ARDF at http://ardf.org. View the original story and see photos at http://ardf.org/relief-update-december-2017/.

Created Male and Female

Dear Friends:

As leaders of various communities of faith throughout the United States, many of us came together in the past to affirm our commitment to marriage as the union of one man and one woman and as the foundation of society. We reiterate that natural marriage continues to be invaluable to American society.

We come together to join our voices on a more fundamental precept of our shared existence, namely, that human beings are male or female and that the socio-cultural reality of gender cannot be separated from one’s sex as male or female.

We acknowledge and affirm that all human beings are created by God and thereby have an inherent dignity. We also believe that God created each person male or female; therefore, sexual difference is not an accident or a flaw—it is a gift from God that helps draw us closer to each other and to God. What God has created is good. “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).

A person’s discomfort with his or her sex, or the desire to be identified as the other sex, is a complicated reality that needs to be addressed with sensitivity and truth. Each person deserves to be heard and treated with respect; it is our responsibility to respond to their concerns with compassion, mercy and honesty. As religious leaders, we express our commitment to urge the members of our communities to also respond to those wrestling with this challenge with patience and love.

Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can “change” their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of “first, do no harm.” Gender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt. The state itself has a compelling interest, therefore, in maintaining policies that uphold the scientific fact of human biology and supporting the social institutions and norms that surround it.

The movement today to enforce the false idea—that a man can be or become a woman or vice versa—is deeply troubling. It compels people to either go against reason—that is, to agree with something that is not true—or face ridicule, marginalization, and other forms of retaliation.

We desire the health and happiness of all men, women, and children. Therefore, we call for policies that uphold the truth of a person’s sexual identity as male or female, and the privacy and safety of all. We hope for renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity.

Sincerely Yours:

Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton
USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America

The Rt. Rev. Eric V. Menees
Bishop of San Joaquin
Anglican Church in North America

Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III
Founder and Director
Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies
Church of God in Christ

The Rev. John F. Bradosky
North American Lutheran Church

Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Seltz, PhD
Executive Director
The Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

The Rev. Paull Spring
Bishop Emeritus
The North American Lutheran Church

Most Rev. James D. Conley
Bishop of Lincoln
USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and
Defense of Marriage

Rev. Tony Suarez
Executive Vice President
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

The Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey
Bishop, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
Anglican Church in North America

Very Rev. Nathanael Symeonides
Ecumenical Officer
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

The Rev. Dr. L. Roy Taylor
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in America

Imam Faizal Khan
Founder and Leader
Islamic Society of the Washington Area

Andrew Walker
Director of Policy Studies
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville
USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty

The Rev. Dr. David Wendel
Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism
The North American Lutheran Church

Archbishop of Pittsburgh
Orthodox Church in America

Paul Winter