November 10, 2022
Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious and matchless name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As we plan to gather around our Thanksgiving tables with families, loved ones, and friends, I remember with gratitude my first Thanksgiving dinner as a student in the United States at the home of a former missionary to India. I gained a new appreciation that day for the gift of hospitality and the custom of setting aside time to be thankful for God’s bountiful provision.
Even as we give thanks, we cannot ignore the pain the practice of observing Thanksgiving brings to many Native Americans. November is Native American Heritage Month — “an opportunity to grow our understanding of Native culture, traditions, and how historical traumas like colonization and genocide have impacted Native peoples throughout history — and still do today.”
Even as we turn to God in prayer, let us include our indigenous siblings in our prayers of gratitude and concern as we endeavor to recognize the worth all of God’s children through our actions.
As Prema and I celebrate our last Thanksgiving with the beautiful people of God in New England, we thank God for each and every one of you, using the words of St. Paul, who said:
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me …” (Philippians 1: 3-7, NRSV).
As I conclude my ministry with all of you, my litany of thanks is too long to list. Please know that from the bottom of my heart, I am grateful for you: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
In the context of Thanksgiving and in preparation for the observance and celebration of Advent and
Christmas, I give special thanks and salute all of you for your support of the Clergy Respite Fund managed by the United Methodist Foundation of New England.
Since 2019, you have also received my special appeals with grace, love, and support. Your sacrificial giving has allowed us to pay 100 percent of apportioned mission shares without dipping into reserves, to support our conference as we share in the worldwide ministry of our church while giving extra to support our communities and mission locally.
This witness of solidarity through sacrificial giving is part of our covenant to share resources in mission. We can do so much more together than we can by ourselves. Again, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Poverty, homelessness, and other needs are very present in our communities. This year, I know you are facing the additional challenges of inflation and high fuel costs as the effects of the pandemic linger.
Even as we face these struggles, may I appeal to those of you who are able to make a one-time sacrificial donation in addition to what you are already giving to your local church?
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, may we offer this extra support to an amazing ministry that blesses our youth generation after generation: our camps. The conference will use 50 percent of what is received to support our camping and retreat ministries, and the remaining 50 percent to aid a despairing world beset by poverty, natural disaster, and war through our apportionments to the World Service Fund of the general church.
Would you kindly consider giving a special gift of 10 percent of what you spend on your family for Christmas? Or would you sacrifice the cost of a cup of coffee or tea or a bottle of soda for the next 40 days to support our common mission?
You can make your donation online:
or by mailing a check payable to New England Annual Conference with “Thanksgiving Appeal” in the memo line to:
New England Conference
411 Merrimack St., Suite 200
Methuen, MA 01844
Attention: Kerry Patles
Thanks again for prayerfully considering this appeal. Prema and I wish you all and your loved ones a very blessed Thanksgiving.
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar