An article for the Cathedral Times
by Dean Sam Candler
For many years now, I have been honored to know the work of a great organization named “Episcopal Relief and Development.” Episcopal Relief and Development calls itself “the compassionate response of The Episcopal Church to human suffering in the world.” Their mission statement includes these words: “Hearing God's call to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being, Episcopal Relief and Development serves to bring together the generosity of Episcopalians and others with the needs of the world.”
Episcopal Relief and Development raises money from all sorts of places, and especially from individuals, congregations, and dioceses across the Church. With those resources, Episcopal Relief and Development “provides relief in times of disaster and promotes sustainable development by identifying and addressing the root causes of suffering.”
Its mandate comes from the words of Jesus found in Matthew 25: “Lord, when was it that
We saw you hungry and gave you food?
We saw you thirsty and gave you something to drink?
We saw you a stranger and welcomed you?
We saw you sick and took care of you?
We saw you in prison and visited you?”
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
—Matthew 25:37-40 (NRSV)
Episcopal Relief and Development works in collaboration with church partners and other local organizations to facilitate healthier, more fulfilling lives in communities that are struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster, and disease. They also work around the world and here in the U.S. responding to and rebuilding after disasters, and their programs impact the lives of over 3 million people annually.
I am honored to have received an invitation from Gay Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, and Rob Radtke, President and CEO of Episcopal Relief and Development, to witness firsthand some of ERD’s exciting work. In the next ten days, I will be visiting Zambia with them. We will be reviewing, especially the work of the Zambian Anglican Council Outreach Program. Please pray for us!
Here is their description of ZACOP: The Zambian Anglican Council Outreach Program is the development arm of the Zambian Anglican Church, coordinating development work and resources in the five dioceses of Zambia. Through its partnership with Episcopal Relief and Development, a national development office was established to support integrated community development in the dioceses. By the end of 2007, ZACOP was fully staffed with visible achievements in the area of health specifically in malaria, as one of the first it was the pilot countries for NetsforLife®. The Early Childhood Development Program that is currently being implemented in the five dioceses is a largely volunteer driven program that integrates previous intervention in the areas of maternal health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition and sanitation in holistically addressing the developmental needs of children under six years of age and their caregivers.
It is always a great honor to represent The Cathedral of St. Philip around God’s kingdom, and this mission trip is no different. Through ERD, the Cathedral really does serve the world, and I am eager to benefit from the witness of fellow Christians in Zambia. But, again, do pray for us!
The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip