Monday in Easter Week
My dear Siblings in Christ Jesus,
Yesterday’s Easter Sunday virtual celebrations throughout the Diocese were amazing. I was able to join five congregations in worship. The readings, music and preaching brought the joy of Easter home to me. We were not able to physically be together, but Christ was none the less present. I could genuinely proclaim with you: “Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!” It is truly Easter!
I am particularly proud of and strengthened by the clergy and lay leaders of this Diocese in this unusual time. The online preaching and teaching of the Gospel fortify the soul. Pastoral care is vital – even if virtual. Lay folk are serving as readers and musicians in this new environment. Office work continues even if done at home. Treasurers are doing added work trying to discern the cash flow of our congregations and the intricacies of the Paycheck Protection Program. Wardens and members of the leadership teams are having to learn to meet by Zoom. The clergy and lay leaders of our Diocese have stepped up to the challenge. I am deeply grateful.
As your Bishop, I have to ask the help of every member and friend of the churches of the Diocese of Hawaiʻi. Your clergy, lay employees, and volunteer lay leaders continue to faithfully serve you. Your church still has expenses. Recognizing the reality of the emergency orders from State and County governments, the Diocesan Council has waived payment of the Diocesan Assessment for all congregations in April and May. These are still difficult financial times for everyone. For congregations, it means the loss of income from collections, special occasions (like Holy Week and Easter), rental income and investment income.
I need to ask you to be particularly generous and very intentional about giving financially to your congregation at this time. Many of our congregations have online giving and that may be the easiest. You can also send a check directly to your congregation. Remember, your church leaders are trying to manage without the regular Sunday collections and, often, weekly rent payments. Please give online today or mail a check to your church.
This is sent with my deepest thanks to you, God’s people in the Diocese of Hawaiʻi, and with my blessing during this Easter season.