The impact of COVID-19 is threatening many of our Church’s most vulnerable members! I’m facing an unprecedented upswing in pleas for help. Only with your help have I any chance of avoiding cuts in the next couple of weeks.
I never thought I’d have to write something like this... This also might be the last letter I can get out to you if post offices close down.
First of all, I hope you, your family, and your friends are all doing well and rejoicing in the Lord - despite everything.
Right now, for the first time in our history, it looks like we might not be able to keep up with the level of requests for help from clergy and missions. Our staff is working around the clock to prevent this.
I’m sure you’ll agree that our Church is facing tough times again. From my 11 years at the Fund for Assistance, I know we are about to be inundated with requests for help. In fact, they are already coming in. I’ll explain in a minute.
What I need to say is that my team is going to make decisions I never imagined we would ever face. Decisions that are sure to affect our Church.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having unimaginable impact on our vulnerable Church members, but also on FFA’s services to them, and our ability to raise funds. Whether you are concerned about the pandemic, or think it’s a conspiracy (it sure feels like it sometimes!), it’s impossible to ignore the fact that our Church is affected.
You might be thinking: who in ROCOR is suffering from Covid-19 but for the inconvenience?
Here’s what I already know: all the clergy who lost their jobs are suffering… They aren’t getting anything from their parishes, either. As you know, most parishes are closed for quarantine.
It means they lost all income they usually get from candles, weekly donations, treby, etc.
Since most faithful cannot attend services, overall donations to ROCOR have fallen drastically.
I pray to the Lord, to the Holy Theotokos, and to St Panteleimon, that you, your family, and your friends are as safe as possible… That you have everything you need… May our Lord God, His Holy Mother, and all the saints keep you safe from harm and give you peace.
And I thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I really need your help. I know you care deeply for our Church, because you have generously supported FFA’s work to help our Church in the past. Thank you.
I’ve already mentioned our clergy… But yesterday I found out that several mission members are gravely ill in Mexico and Pakistan. I don’t know if it’s COVID yet. But they missions have already asked for more support.
Fr Nektariy told me that Mexico is underprepared for what’s going on. And he’s already working all day and night (literally) offering free services to the suffering.
Because if the virus spreads even more, a lot of our clergy will lose their source of income… Many already have. Especially those who work as truck drivers, delivery personnel, construction workers… With the quarantine in full force and the churches closed in many states, many of our fathers are out of a job and all revenue.
The same goes for our missions. They will suffer from the virus, and the financial consequences…
Even if a cure is found rapidly, they will still need your help. Because our Church cannot go on without your help. Our Lord told us to take care of our Church, and our clergy.
Not just because of this amazing opportunity to double your gift. But also because of the astounding benefits of charity described by St Abba Dorotheos:
“The very goodness of alms-giving, its very grace, is so great that it can even forgive sins, as the Prophet says, A man's own wealth is the ransom of his life (Prov. 13:8). And again in another place it says, Atone for thy sins by alms (Dan. 4:24).”
Now is the time to help your Church as much as you can.
Your gift of $25 will be doubled by matching funds to $50
If you can give $35, that’s$70 to do so much more for our Church!
Fortunately, because of our commitment to give away 100% of the gifts you send, we do not have any expenses not directly related to our continued ability to provide service to our Church.
But without extra income, I can see this won’t be enough. I need to raise $50K before April 30th.
I know this seems like a lot – and it is – but my experience is that the best chance I have of reaching this target is with donations of $25, $35, or $50.
I have an important meeting with the Fund for Assistance Board and key staff on April 30th. In that meeting we are going to have a good, hard look at our income, our funding strategy, and our financial position.
The question of this new reality is: how long will Church members who need help will be able to last? Just think for a moment. How do you choose whom to turn away when requests for help come in? The wave of pleas for help has already started.
I promise that I will do everything possible not to have to turn away those who deserve help. But however this situation unfolds: whether the quarantine is lifted tomorrow, or it lasts until Pentecost, we have to be prepared for the outcome. And I need your help for that.
I need donations by April 30th. However, if you intend to make a gift, but won’t be able to meet this date, then please let me know you will be sending one later by calling (917)817-2925 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can tell the team your donation will be coming a little later.
With our Church being in so much growing need because of the pandemic, there is no donation that is too small right now. Especially when any gift you give will be matched until we reach $17,000.
Thank you so much for reading this. On behalf of all of us at the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR, I wish you well, and we all send our love and gratitude.
I’m also glad to remind you that you and every single FFA donor are being prayed for – in Mexico by Fr Nektariy, and here in the U.S.A. by Fr Nectarios Yanson – in front of the myrrh streaming Hawaiian Iveron icon of the Theotokos.
With love in Christ and prayers for your health and salvation,
FFA Fundraising Manager
P.S. Please, I’ve never had to write a letter quite like this before. As I write it, I still can’t believe the situation we’re in. It’s possible that we won’t be in church for Pascha! At the April 30th meeting my colleagues and I may have to make the toughest decisions of our lives.
But with your help, those decisions could be much easier, and the outcome much better for our Church.
Normally, I’d ask you to help us raise the money needed by donating now. Any gift will be doubled by matching funds!
P.P.S. Many people are home alone for longer than usual. If you’re looking for something thought-provoking and spiritual to look at, check out our show Faces of ROCOR on YouTube or Facebook. You’ll see many beloved ROCOR members from long ago and today.
If you’d like to just talk to someone you can call us at (917)817-2925 just to talk about your experiences. I really encourage you to give us a call if you’ve been alone a while.