Vestry Corner
Church of the Holy Comforter, Vienna, VA
April 8, 2022
As we enter Holy Week, the Vestry would like to highlight Holy Comforter’s exceptional good works as witnessed in the Outreach Committee. As a community, we are very committed to practicing our Christian faith—be it through direct contributions or living His example by caring for our brothers and sisters who find themselves refugees. God expects us to share in this responsibility towards one another and Jesus taught us to care for Him through caring for those in need. Holy Comforter clearly understands that charge. Our church is very fortunate and we should be encouraged by how willing we are to share our resources.
Our members regularly engage in these good works—be it through the FACETS feeding program, Britepaths Food Deliveries, Marshall Elementary School Food for Thought, Habitat for Humanity, or the annual CROP Walk. Our impact is great. Outreach Committee funding for these organizations is obtained in large part from contributions to designated offerings at Holy Week, Easter, and Christmas. As Holy Week approaches, we would like to share the impact that your generosity has had on a few of the organizations that Holy Comforter has been supporting, with the hope that you will continue your support through the Holy Week and/or Easter Offering this year.
One long-term direct grant of note has been to Father Concepcion Santos Abrego in Honduras. Holy Comforter’s connection with Father Concepcion and Honduras was established over a decade ago, and for several years, Holy Comforter organized an annual mission trip to Honduras. Holy Comforter has provided Father Concepcion with an annual stipend, which enables him to travel between different mission churches in the mountains near Santa Rita. He recently wrote to express his gratitude.  
"Dear brothers and sisters, it gives me joy to be able to communicate with you to send you my greetings and also wish you many blessings in this new year. By way of this note, I send you my appreciation for the generous financial support that you have provided. Thank you for that expression of love toward me and the church. It is because of this support that I am able to move around to different mission churches (in the mountains near Santa Rita) and continue to share with them the gospel of Christ. Thanks to God, despite the occasional sicknesses and difficulties, my family and I are doing well. God has always helped us. With regard to God's work, we continue evangelizing to the various congregations and, through the power of God, we have been able to succeed in carrying out the pastoral plan. We sometimes encounter problems, but that is normal when we walk with the Father. I am very grateful for the love that you demonstrate for me through the assistance that you provide. Otherwise, it would be more difficult to confront the challenges that we face in doing the work of our Father.

Your brother in Christ,
Rev. Concepcion Santos Abrego"
Five Talents, based in Vienna, is an organization with which Holy Comforter has had long-standing ties. Their mission is to partner with the global church to transform lives through economic empowerment, eradicating extreme poverty by restoring human dignity and creating strong, sustainable communities. They work in parts of the world where healthcare is not easily accessible, natural disasters cause hardship, violence is common, and poverty is rampant. Holy Comforter has funded their work in Burundi, where trainers have worked to equip vulnerable people with functional literacy, improve access to basic financial services, increase the performance of income generating activities and grow household income, promoting women’s involvement in household decision making and empowering women to lead development issues within their communities. Five Talents’ grant application shared the story of the organization’s impact in the life of Godelieve:  
“I am a single mother with 6 children and raising them on my own has not been easy. I prayed that God would help me to raise them by myself. Then I was invited to join this group. I have gained so much, including other mothers to help me figure out how to raise my children. I started with a small loan and started to save more money from selling vegetables and making a little profit bit by bit. With my profit I can buy more things for my family like salt, milk, clothes, and goats. The goats multiplied and soon became 6 goats. When I saw that I had this blessing of the goats multiplying, I decided to give one goat to the church as my Thanksgiving…I also continued my vegetable selling business in the market. My business was growing and I was able to add diversity of products including bananas. Then I was able to save enough and take another loan to buy a cow. The cow now also provides me fertilizer for my land where I grow vegetables. The cow has also multiplied. I sold one calf and I was able to buy land!...I am so grateful for the women in this group with me, who encourage me, support me, and have been family to me... so that I am able to be a good mother to my children. And for the grace of God and His faithfulness.”
Holy Comforter also provides financial support to Vienna’s Shepherd’s Center, which offers various services to older persons throughout Northern Virginia, including providing contact for the homebound, free transportation to appointments, and grocery delivery. In addition to ensuring that clients have access to regular health services, the Shepherd’s Center also provides connection to social programs (in-person and virtual) to reduce isolation and help seniors stay active and connected to their community, which is vital to overall health and well-being.
The Outreach Committee includes a dozen of our most dedicated parishioners, led by the Outreach Committee Chair, Joni Langevoort. The Vestry liaison is Byron Knight. If you wish to contribute your energies directly as a committee member, provide suggestions for worthy programs, or highlight potential changes to our priorities, don’t hesitate to contact any of us. Thank you again for your work in Christ’s name; it is making a difference in many more ways than we will ever understand.
Please make contributions to our outreach efforts either through the green envelopes in our pews during Holy Week and Easter or through our website HERE (under "Fund" select the day on which you are giving). Donations made on Maundy Thursday go to Episcopal Relief & Development, donations made on Good Friday go to the Diocese of Jerusalem, and Easter Day offerings go to Holy Comforter outreach grants.