Christ is in our midst!
Thomas Sunday of this year 2021 will mark the 5th anniversary of the St. John the Merciful Mission. The financial drive’s purpose is to raise $800,000.00 by Thomas Sunday, May 9th, 2021. It is a small amount for the issues we are to address. We have $100,000.00 towards that amount already.
Last week Father Luke Toumi of Ss. Peter & Paul in Potomac, Maryland, called me. Fr. Luke explained that a very gracious anonymous donor gave $100,000.00 for the St. John the Merciful Mission (SJMM) via Ss. Peter & Paul. The money is to help establish a permanent foundation for ministry via SJMM. Fr. Luke also made it clear that there was more potential generosity available through that donor.
For that purpose, I am looking at properties in SE DC, Congress Heights. Congress Heights is still the poorest area of DC and, unfortunately, now the most violent. What is best suited for our needs is a freestanding building with a yard/green space.
Purchasing a building provides a permanent and independent base of operations for different ministries to those in need in the area. SJMM directly contributes about $5000 in cash every year for food to those in the area. This last year, 2020, through the generosity of the Philoptochos of St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church, Bethesda, Maryland, hot restaurant meals and additional food was donated that brought the dollar figure in 2020 to about $10,000.00.
Over the last few years, Saint John the Merciful has been building relationships with Leaders in operational philanthropy in the DC area. Operational philanthropy that makes a lasting impact for the Images of Christ, the residents, is the ministry vision for SJMM. Various areas that are perennially in need and suffering exacerbation by the COVID crisis are the following:
Issue Proposed Remedy
Quality Food Insecurity Donations & SJMM facilitated community gardens.
Isolation and Mental Health SJMM ministry via direct counseling & personal contact
Formation of Orthodox Christians Internships in personal ministry (1-year live-in post-college)
As to areas of needed ministry and potential remedies, I could go on for those of you who know me personally. Countering Human Trafficking and reinforcing Freedom of Belief or Conscience are just two more.
As we practice the askesis of our life in faith, particularly in the present social climate, all of these issues become more acute. I can discuss many other areas at length directly impacting our sister and brothers in SE DC. As well we are not immune just because of the locations of our homes. All of these issues impact us, our faith, our families, and the future of Christ’s Church, our Church.
The time is now. Someone through prayer, fasting, and generosity set a high bar on contributions for our mission, both in terms of SJMM, but more importantly, raising the bar in our very personal mission of living daily the life of Christ. Donations can be made via “Tithe.ly” on the Saint John the Merciful webpage.
Donations can also be coordinated through me or Fr. Luke at Ss. Peter and Paul in Potomac.
As we approach Great Lent, I ask you for your forgiveness and the mercy of God’s love for you!
God bless you!
Fr. John Anderson
Give generously to our parish and establish the Church for future generations!