Giving Thanks for the Heroes and Saints

People often ask me what working with Episcopal Relief & Development means in the day to day. Sometimes, it comes down to things that may appear small, but speak volumes.

Here’s an example: Each month, Episcopal Relief & Development receives one crisp $20 bill in a white envelope, with no note, nothing else. Just a crisp $20 bill, and this has been going on for years.  Each month, our Donor Services staff eagerly await the arrival of the envelope, knowing there is a person, or an estate, or a community behind this sacrificial gift.  But it touches us… the anonymity of it, the mystery, the widow’s mite… but more than anything the trust.  The trust breaks us open.  We often write our program reports for that anonymous person…giving of their abundance.

On this day of Thanksgiving, I am particularly grateful for the people I like to call the “heroes and saints,” the people engaged with and transformed by Christ’s call to serve others.  You are the faces I believe are watching and supporting us all: the Communion of Saints, colleagues, ancestors, dragon slayers and friends.  You are the ones who support, strengthen, pray for and fund our work in reducing poverty and transforming lives around the world.

On behalf of Episcopal Relief & Development, thank you for being there with us. Into a broken world desperate for healing, God sends us. We walk two by two—never alone—with a staff, and sandals.  But with much more—with our neighbors and friends to carry us forward.  We go out vulnerable, we go in power.  We go.


Abagail Nelson is Senior Vice President for Programs.

In the photo: Lillian, a hero and saint, now departed, working with orphans and vulnerable children at Holy Cross Hospice in Gabarone, Botswana.