Arise and Shine! A Letter from the President & CEO
As the year comes to a close, President and CEO of Episcopal Relief & Development Rob Radtke looks back on another year of the organization. Retracing his steps throughout 2018 takes him from the US to Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
“Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”
Dear Friends in Christ,
Over thirty years ago when my wife and I were graduate students and had only just met, I invited her to join me for an Advent Lessons and Carols Service. The service started in darkness and as the choir of men and boys processed in by candle light, they gradually illuminated the chapel. It was a holy moment and brought to mind Isaiah’s words, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”
In the northern hemisphere, the daylight hours are getting fewer and darkness descends around us. Throughout the year and especially during this time, I seek out opportunities to awaken my faith by bringing light into my life and the lives of those I love.
It is my great good fortune to come to work every day at a place that is focused on bringing light and hope into dark and difficult places so that the glory of the Lord will rise up. With friends and supporters like you and our program partners around the world, we are working together for lasting change.
Over the past year, I’ve seen this vividly when I traveled to Liberia to hear the testimonies of faith leaders and women whose communities are coming together to address violence against women and girls. These women are arising and shining and the glory of the Lord is risen upon them.
Women and girls participating in a Faith Leader Toolkit Training in Liberia; taken by Vanessa Pizer, Senior Program Officer
I’ve seen it in Zambia as I visited communities dedicating themselves to improving the lives of the most vulnerable children among them with health and developmental support to ensure that each child will achieve their God-given potential and arise and shine so that the glory of the Lord will rise upon them.
I’ve seen it in Jordan when I visited a program supporting handicapped Syrian children in refugee camps. With the support provided through our local partner, these children are arising and shining so that the glory of the Lord will rise upon them.
Rob Radtke at a men’s association training centre, in the Church of the Province of Myanmar
This December, my wife and I returned to the chapel where we first attended Advent Lessons and Carols together over 30 years ago. It gave us an opportunity to reflect on how God has blessed our lives together.
This year, in gratitude for God’s many blessings and to share God’s bounty, my wife and I are making a multi-year commitment to support Episcopal Relief & Development. For us this is not simply a year-end charitable gift. It is an act of faith that will enable us and others to arise and shine and let the glory of the Lord shine.
I ask you to join us. This holiday season, share the bounty God has entrusted to you by supporting Episcopal Relief & Development as generously as you can.
Have a peaceful Advent, blessed Christmas and joyful New Year!
Your friend in Christ,
Rob Radtke is the President & CEO at Episcopal Relief & Development.
Feature Image: Rob Radtke on a trip to China