Presiding Bishop's Lent message

Jefferts Schori calls for focus on Millennium Development Goals

Posted Feb 16, 2012

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori invites a focus on the Millennium Development Goals for Lent 2012.

“I invite you to use the Millennium Development Goals as your focus for Lenten study and discipline and prayer and fasting this year,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said.  “The Millennium Development Goals are truly reflective of several of the Five Marks of Mission.”

An audio of her 2012 Lenten message is available here:  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/presiding-bishop

The text of her 2012 Lenten message follows.

Lent Message 2012

 I greet you at the beginning of Lent.

In this year I’m going to invite you to think about the ancient traditions of preparing in solidarity with candidates for baptism, to think about the old disciplines of prayer and fasting and alms-giving and study, through the focus on those beyond our communities, in the developing world, who live in abject poverty.

I invite you to use the Millennium Development Goals as your focus for Lenten study and discipline and prayer and fasting this year.  I’m going to remind you that the Millennium Development Goals are about healing the worst of the world’s hunger. They’re about seeing that all children get access to primary education.  They’re about empowering women. They’re about attending to issues of maternal health and child mortality. They’re about attending to issues of communicable disease like AIDS and malaria and tuberculosis. They’re about environmentally sustainable development, seeing that people have access to clean water and sanitation and that the conditions in slums are alleviated.  And finally, they are about aid, foreign aid.  They’re about trade relationships, and they’re about building partnerships for sustainable development in this world.

As you pray through the forty days of Lent, I encourage you to attend to the needs of those with the least around the world.  I would invite you to study, both about how human beings live in other parts of the world and our own responsibility as Christians.

What the Bible says more often than anything else is to tend to the needs of the widows and orphans, those without.  Jesus himself says, “Care for the least of these.”

I invite you to consider your alms-giving discipline this Lent and remember those in the developing world who go without.

I wish you a blessed Lent and a joyful resurrection at the end of it that may be shared with others around the world.

God bless you.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church


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Comments (7)

  1. I continue to be puzzled re the apparent absence of effective family planning education. Without birth control, hunger and poverty will continue.

  2. Robert Lundy says:

    A vital line separates the post-Christian humanism of the global ethic from a genuine and complete Christian humanism driven by salvation in Christ and promoted by the Church. ….I believe the Presiding Bishop has truly crossed that vital line in to post-Christian humanism.

    1. Dan Sloan says:

      The Roman Catholic Church, ELCA, UMC and Orthodox have all endorsed the MDGs. The Vatican observer to the UN even called achieving them a crucial moral imperative.

      http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/achieving_millennium_development_goals_is_a_crucial_moral_obligation_says_archbishop/

  3. Fr Tom McHenry says:

    Somehow, the idea of thinking about ‘trade relationships’ in the same breath as ‘Remember, O thou man, that dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return’ seems unbelievably shallow and secular.

    1. Jim Graham says:

      Dear Fr. McHenry,
      I have to disagree about trade relationships being shallow and secular. These folks are dying in squalor because there is no local income to speak of. Their economies are too feeble to provide a decent way of life. When we allow free trade with these folks, we empower them through the economic principle of comparative advantage to have a shot at growing their economies and feeding and clothing themselves, and circumventing the greed of their governments who often divert or skim foreign aid. To me, the Presiding Bishop’s message highlights another way we can empower our suffering brethren. Commerce supports the life of every community on earth. Without it, we perish. It is a question of keeping things in balance, and the Third World needs a boost. It’s not just “Teach a man or woman to fish, and you feed him or her for a lifetime.” Sometimes you have to allow folks to join you at the the riverbank to have fair access to the fish.

  4. Robert Childress says:

    This unusual Lenten Message gives a laundry list of goals as outlined by the UN Millennium Development Goals. The UN MDG list obfuscates a much more sinister objective. The MDGs are a means to an end. They are a failed and corrupt statist approach to some of the most agonizing problems facing the world. Also, the MDGs are just another stepping stone for the collectivist dream of UN world governance with their goals of forced wealth redistribution through a world taxation mandate.
    The MDG list references “sustainable development”. Interestingly this has its roots in late 19th century Germany. It was further popularized under National Socialism (1933-1946) as lebensraum.
    I’m going to concentrate on the Gospel for Lent rather than the MDGs.

  5. What a lightweight lenten message – the biblical and sacramental imperatives of the lenten season should have been proclaimed.

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