Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The first Thanksgiving celebrations, both in Massachusetts and in Virginia, were set in the context of change and transition. The lives of the early settlers of this continent, and the lives of the native people they encountered, were uncertain in a rapidly changing territory. Yet, those men and women paused to give thanks to God for the abundance of gifts that they received from God, from the land and from each other.
Our Thanksgiving celebrations this year will be set in our own context of change and transition. As a Diocese, we have entered into an interim time between the resignation and retirement of Bishop Shannon Johnston and the election of our next Bishop Diocesan. As a nation, we find ourselves in the territory of loss due to floods and fires and the ongoing epidemic of gun violence, and in the territory of many broken relationships between those of the dominant culture and those of other cultures. As individuals, we experience personal transitions of many kinds in this rapidly changing world. Yet we, like our ancestors, will pause to give thanks to God for the abundance of gifts that we receive from God, from the land and from each other.
As we gather in worship and around community tables in the coming week, be assured that I give thanks for you and for our common life. I give thanks for the trust you have placed in me as ecclesiastical authority. And I give thanks for the mission and ministry to which God has called us, together, in the name of Jesus.
Add your voice and your prayers of thanksgiving to those of your congregation, your community, and our wider Church so that God will be honored and praised. Pray for our Diocese, for one another, for our nation and for our world so that God's love will be multiplied and God's desire for this earth will be done.
Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan and
The Collect for Thanksgiving
Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.