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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

Last week, I mentioned in my letter that while in India, Mary and I witnessed the large gap between rich and poor that the country has become associated with, rightly or wrongly. And it challenged me to reflect on the growing income disparity in our own country, Canada, and ask what can be done. How do we act?

Then, this week, I learned some amazing news. Our diocesan collective response to human need is FaithWorks. Our FaithWorks program has tallied the results of the 2022 campaign and we managed to raise $1,434,100 – 95.6% of the $1.5 million goal, with an additional $41,800 raised for the Spirit Garden. The campaign certainly held its own against the headwind of post-Covid uncertainties. Praise God! And congratulations to all donors, volunteers and staff. What a blessing this will be to many people.

The FaithWorks theme for 2023 is a quote from The Book of Joy, co-authored by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. Archbishop Tutu writes, “The Dead Sea in the Middle East receives freshwater, but it has no outlet, so it doesn’t pass the water out. It receives beautiful water from the rivers, and the water goes dank. I mean, it just goes bad. And that’s why it is the Dead Sea. It receives and does not give. In the end, generosity is the best way of becoming more, more and more joyful.”

So often we think of helping others as an obligation or the right thing to do. Yet, Archbishop Tutu is leading us beyond duty and righteousness. He is leading us to walk joyfully in the Spirit. God is the source and giver of all; the truly generous One. To give is to be like God and to be with God. We find joy with God, as Psalm 16:11 expresses: “You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Our own hearts leap for joy when we bring a smile to someone else’s face. Generously giving of our time, talent or treasure gives us immeasurable joy. We offer help – and we build relationships.

I urge you to visit the FaithWorks website, where you can watch a video about the work of FaithWorks and how you can support it. You can read about the people FaithWorks helps on the Faces of FaithWorks page and be informed of the latest happenings on the News page.

I urge you to speak to the outreach committee in your parish about their annual campaign to support FaithWorks. Perhaps you can volunteer or offer new ideas.  FaithWorks’ ministry partners are on the front lines of our efforts to offer sustenance, security and hope to the most vulnerable among us. I applaud their hard work and keep them in my prayers. Your prayers and financial gifts help those who struggle with food and housing insecurity, face abandonment or abuse, assist Indigenous peoples, work to find their way as new Canadians, refugees or migrant workers, are returning from the prison system, or are impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Let us give generously, as we can, when we can and where we can. Let us then experience the joy of generosity and being in the presence of God.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto