November 25, 2020
The Bishop's 2020 Thanksgiving Video Message
To view the Bishop's Thanksgiving video message, click on the image below or go to his message page on the Diocesan website HERE. The text of his video message is shown further below. Please also tune into The Cathedral's special Thanksgiving Mosaic Concert on Thanksgiving Day at 11:00 AM, where the hymn he references in his message will be played. (See event description below the Bishop's message.)
Aloha my dear siblings in Christ, 

This Thanksgiving is unlike Thanksgivings in the past. We have been asked by state and local government officials to avoid gathering with our friends and family members. We've been encouraged to only sit and eat with those in our household. My own family will have to be content to a gathering over FaceTime. I will have to be content making faces and laughing with my grandchildren long distance. Bea and I have even decided to roast a chicken rather than a turkey this year.  

This of course is taking place during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some in our own Diocese have lost family members and friends due to the virus. Others have had dear ones die during the period of “shelter at home” orders and with restrictions on funerals.  

We're all hopeful that 2021 will be very different than 2020. We look to next year and a more typical Thanksgiving feast. We all pray that we will truly have something to be thankful for then. 

In our churches, congregations are still asked to not sing hymns. God’s people are largely silent as we worship together, but we are still together – either in-person with masks or online. Now certainly in many places, musicians are singing solos and providing instrumental music behind plexiglass barriers and while wearing masks. So that even if we are gathering for a Thanksgiving service, we won't be singing the hymns of Thanksgiving. You remember them, “We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing” and my favorite, “Now thank we all our God.” It is in fact that hymn, “now thank we all our God” that came to mind over and over again this week.

In The Hymnal 1982, it is listed as hymn number 397. The words bring a smile to my face:
1 Now thank we all our God,
with heart, and hands, and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mother’s arms
hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

2 O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us!
With ever-joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
in this world and the next.

3 All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven,
eternal, Triune God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be, evermore.
The words to this hymn were originally written in German by Martin Rinkart. From 1617 to 1649, he was the “Archdeacon” of Eilenburg in Lutheran Saxony. His years of ministry coincide with those of the Thirty Years’ War. The conflict and resulting disease caused the death of up to 60% in some German areas. Pastor Rinkart and his walled Lutheran town were caught in the middle of the worst of it. There were floods of refugees into the town. There were occupations by various armies. The community suffered pestilence and famine. During one period of an epidemic in 1637, he was the last clergyperson in the town having himself buried several as others fled. Records show that he was left to read the burial office over 50 a day or 4,480 in total – including his own wife. Some 8,000 people died in the town by the time the epidemic subsided.  

The words of the hymn were penned during the war, but were only published after his death in 1649. Rinkart was inspired by a passage from the Apocrypha, Ecclesiasticus 50:22-24:
Now bless the God of all
  who everywhere does great things,
  who raises us up from our birth
  and deals mercifully with us.
May he give us gladness in our hearts,
  and may there be peace in our time,
 in Israel as in times past.
May he grant us his mercy,
 and may he rescue us in our lifetime.
We are reminded that even in the face of difficulties, we have much for which to be thankful. It is in the ordinary that grace resides. The love of others – living and dead – that have shaped us into who we are today. The words are appropriate over a simple meal that sustains our bodies as much as for a grand Thanksgiving feast. We can give thanks for the peace and joy of our lives.

On this day, I give thanks for…
The frontline health care workers and the staffs of care facilities
The teachers who continue to instruct our children under difficult circumstances
Those who diligently wear their masks in public and practice social distancing as witness to the love of neighbor

The beauty of islands and the bountiful ocean
The spirit of aloha and ohana that sustain us
The bounty of creation that nourishes us

My family
My clergy siblings

The people of the Diocese of Hawaiʻi and the Episcopal Church in Micronesia

And for God’s grace and love that pervades all of creation and life
I also pray that you have a safe and joy filled Thanksgiving.

Please know that God loves you.

As your Bishop, I love you.  

You are in my prayers. Please pray for me.

Let us pray.
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and
the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.
Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14


The Right Reverend Robert L. Fitzpatrick,
Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawai'i
Thanksgiving Music Mosaic from The Cathedral
Thursday, November 26, 11:00 AM
The Cathedral of St. Andrew invites all to join them online for a very special Thanksgiving concert of traditional hymns, anthems, organ and piano music, featuring Cathedral organist Leohone Magno and the Orvis Scholars of the St. Andrew's choir. The concert will also include the hymn "Now Thank We All Our God" that is referenced in the Bishop's message. Tune into their Facebook page HERE at 11:00 AM.
Thanksgiving Activities Around the Diocese
Although most of our churches continue to provide excellent outreach services and support to different agencies, the following are some of the special Thanksgiving outreach activities taking place. Please consider providing your support or sharing information to those in need.
Thanksgiving Meals & Support for Outreach Programs
The Parish of St. Clement will be providing Thanksgiving meals to the Family Promise families staying at Camp Mokule'ia, and preparing Thanksgiving members for YO! (Youth Outreach House) and RYSE (Residential Youth Services & Empowerment). Contact the church for more info at (808) 955-7745.
Food Collections and Support to Various Agencies
St. Luke's is collecting canned goods for folks in need, and accepting monetary donations for the Foodbank and Salvation Army Thanksgiving meals. Members are also cooking for Family Promise and River of Life Mission for Thanksgiving. 45 N. Judd St, Honolulu, (808) 533-3481
Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive
(Donate by November 29)
Due to COVID, St. Peter's will not be collecting canned goods this year, but instead will be accepting monetary donations for their friends at Kuhio Park. Money collected will be used to purchase holiday food for the families. Please send donations to St. Peter's by November 29, checks to St. Peter's Episcopal Church with "Kuhio Park' in the memo line. 1317 Queen Emma St, Honolulu, (808) 533-1943
Thanksgiving Interfaith Service and Meals
Thursday, November 26, 10:30 AM-1:00 PM
In partnership with the KIA (Kapa'a Interfaith Association) All Saints' will host the annual interfaith service (outdoors) followed by a "grab-n-go" Thanksgiving meal. 4-1065 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, (808) 822-4267
Thanksgiving Service & Collections
Thursday, November 26, 9:00 AM
Trinity By-the-Sea (Kihei) and Good Shepherd (Wailuku) will be holding a combined service in the outdoor sanctuary of Trinity BTS, led by the Rev. Moki Hino of Good Shepherd. A basket will be available for collection of non-perishable food items to be given to the Maui Food Bank and the Thanksgiving offertory will be given to A Cup of Cold Water. (Trinity: 100 Kulanihakoi Street, Kihei, (808) 879-0161; Good Shepherd: (808) 244-4656)
Thanksgiving Take-out Fellowship Meal
Friday, November 27, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hot turkey dinner with all the trimmings will be available for pick-up. 8992 Kula Highway, Kula (808) 878-1485
Drive-through Thanksgiving Meal
November 26, 2020, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Hot turkey dinners will be provided on Thanksgiving Day, November 26. (Sponsored by Dr. Joan Greco and in honor of Diana White) 65-1237 Kawaihae Rd, Kamuela, (808) 885-4923
Stay Informed! Quick Links to the Diocesan Websites:
Contact Information
Sybil Nishioka, Editor & Communications Contractor
The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai'i
229 Queen Emma Square, Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 536-7776