Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An Inspiring Sunday

On March 30, I had the privilege of being present at St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Albuquerque on the day of its Offering of Letters.

There were many remarkable memories about that day.

First of all, the guest preacher was Robin Stephenson, the field organizer for Bread for the World's western region. Robin delivered a touching and very meaningful sermon, speaking from the heart but also presenting all the relevant facts related to our 2008 Offering of Letters.

St. Thomas Parishioners write letters

Secondly, the church had the distinction of being the very first congregation in New Mexico to hold an Offering of Letters in 2008. The OL became a reality thanks to the efforts of parishioners John Barton and Maria Smith, who became interested in the Millennium Development Goals and decided that this year was right for the congregation to become involved in promoting the MDGs and supporting an increase in the amount of money the U.S. devotes to poverty-focused development assistance.

But what I remember the most from that day is the commitment of two members of the congregation to writing letters: Beth Hatch and Cheryl Fogle. Unlike many fellow parishioners, Beth and Cheryl did not write the letters on the spot. But they asked to be sent the information by e-mail.

Wait a minute, aren't we supposed to encourage folks to write letters on the spot rather than taking them home? Actually, there was a good reason that they had to wait to write their correspondence at home. This is where their computers are. You see, Beth and Cheryl are both blind. But like you and I, they can easily write their letters from their computers, which have special software. They can either have their messages to Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson printed out on MS Word or send them via e-mail.

"We want to do what we can to help others," Cheryl said.

Parishioners at St. Thomas of Canterbury wrote 32 letters that Sunday. They were blessed the next Sunday, April 6, by Rev. Carole McGowan before they went in the mail on April 7.

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