Dear In Communion reader,
Four times a year, after editing In Communion, I write an accompanying letter. Normally the letter is chiefly devoted to some article in the journal. This time I realize I should focus on our financial needs. I hope you don't mind.
The main work of Orthodox Peace Fellowship is to help each of us become better peacemakers. After all, the call to be a peacemaker is one of the Beatitudes. It's meant to be an integral part of every Christian life. We experience Christ's peace week by week in the Liturgy, but once out the church door we quickly find ourselves in the powerful currents produced by the many conflicts, local and distant, underway in the world. We're tempted to take sides and become combatants in the battles, if not to initiate new conflicts. We are no less vulnerable to the constant propaganda that rains down on us daily than anyone else.
The Orthodox Peace Fellowship has several channels for doing its work: first there is our journal. Then there is OPF web site, which we see being widely used. OPF has played a role in theological research and publication. In addition there are our occasional conferences. (Sheri San Chirico and Joe May are preparing a peacemaking training program to be held in Ohio while John Olivier is at work on an OPF conference to be held next year in Palestine.) The OPF List provides a channel of dialogue and news-sharing via the internet for those OPF members who wish to take part. OPF work also involves lots of correspondence.
To carry on our work we have two part-time staff members, myself and Sheri San Chico, plus a number of volunteers. The two salaried staff are paid very little for our time, but OPF's present income doesn't justify more adequate payment. In fact our salaries have gone down because OPF income is down.
Why is it down? There are two main factors. I'm hit by a kidney illness that requires my being at the hospital three times a week for dialysis (the artificial filtering of blood now that the kidneys cannot do this). This prevents me from going on the OPF lecture trips which in past years were a major source of OPF income. The other factor affecting us is that our income is chiefly in dollars, though more than half of our expenses are in euros. The decline of the dollar's value the last few years has had significant impact on us.
More than ever we need the help of our members and friends to keep OPF going.
If you are one of those who makes regular donations, thank you! You have been a God-send! If you aren't, please consider becoming part of that community of committed donors.
If you can't manage a monthly or quarterly donation but can make an occasional special donation, please do so. Thank you!
We hope our supporters will make at least one donation annually, but without those who give more than once a year, and give more than the minimum, we would have to call it a day.
Happily, we're still carrying on our work, but it has not been easy.
In Christ's peace,
Jim Forest, OPF co-secretary