2021 Mission Sunday Encyclical

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To the Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics, and the Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the United States:

Greetings in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Despite the anxieties, disruption, loss and grief imposed by the pandemic of these past, long months, we know that in our Savior and Healer we have no need to fear. Indeed, proclaiming this Good News is as important, if not more important, now than ever. The Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States are committed to this mission, and one means we do so beyond our borders is our support of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) on which we specially focus on Mission Sunday, March 14 of this year.

Our world faces great tempests, the pandemic being but one. Yet we are called to courageously face these storms in the great hope of our deliverance through and in our Lord, just as when He walks on the water to his fearful disciples cowering in their boat during a fierce storm (Matthew 14). He calls to them, “Take courage, it is I, fear not.” While Peter kept his focus on Christ, he was able to walk on water, but when he focused on the storm he started to sink. We must keep an unwavering focus on Christ and His Church, the means of our rescue and protection from the storms that rage around us. Others will see our faith and turn to Christ. Like the disciples who watched Peter walk on the water, they will proclaim Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and they too will be saved.

This is the holy work that OCMC accomplishes on your behalf and with your support. By praying for OCMC, financially supporting its ministries, serving as a missionary, or volunteering for a short-term mission team, you are helping reach the more than one billion people worldwide who have never heard the Gospel and hunger and thirst for salvation in Jesus Christ. You are also impacting our local communities by being shining beacons of Christ’s Good News. Visit ocmc.org to learn more about the ministry of our Mission Center and support the work that they accomplish throughout the world.

We pray that you have a blessed Lenten journey with your gaze constantly fixed on Christ Jesus to rise above life’s storms. And may your life in the Resurrected Christ be freely offered to strengthen your sisters and brothers during these challenging times.

With Blessings in Christ,

Bishop Demetrios
Episcopal Liaison to OCMC

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