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Bishop Guy Erwin’s 2016 Thanksgiving Message


To the Pastors, Deacons and People of the Southwest California Synod,
Thanksgiving 2016

Grace and peace in Christ!

For many, many years people of the United States have observed an annual day of Thanksgiving every fall, on which they gather together to remember and give thanks for the many blessings of God we enjoy. Most of us will be doing this too, this year: together with friends and families we eat and drink and enjoy each other’s company. I wish you every joy in this rich and traditional holiday.

In our greater Los Angeles area, homelessness remains a very great problem. Many of our congregations are regularly engaged in providing food to those who lack it; Thanksgiving often inspires us to even greater generosity toward neighbors in need. Thank you for all you do. I am grateful to God for the open-handedness of our Lutheran congregations in the face of this great need, and I encourage you to further generosity both today and in the days ahead.

Please also remember this year those encamped at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, who have sacrificed the comforts of home to hold vigil against and resist the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline. They are living in tents on the freezing prairie, dependent on supplies from outside to provide food and warmth. As you thank God this week for your blessings, pray also for these water protectors as they stand up for the earth.

Thanksgiving is a cherished tradition, and one that crosses all ethnic and religious lines to unite Americans of all kinds in giving thanks to God. It is not just a sentimental retelling of stories of Pilgrims and Indians in New England but a living, changing, vibrant tradition of American life. All of us have a stake in our civil society, and Thanksgiving can help us remember how precious it is for a diverse nation like ours to live in peace.

I wish you and yours every blessing of the Thanksgiving feast, safety in travel, and much joy in the companionship of those you love.

+ Bishop Guy