Press Release: October 2010
The Dečani Monastery Relief Fund USA
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you all know, the United States and, indeed, most of the world has fallen on hard times these last few years. People everywhere have had to tighten their belts and make-do with less. Many have lost jobs and have seen hard-won careers stall or evaporate. People who rightfully took pride in their personal and professional achievements have suffered the humiliation of being forced to accept work well beneath their capabilities or have even been reduced to subsisting on charity while finding no employment at all. Young people have been forced to remain at home with parents because the lack of job opportunities prevent them from launching careers upon graduation from high school or college; many have also had to set aside personal goals or put marriage plans on hold. Older workers have been pushed prematurely into retirement for which they were not yet fully prepared. Entire families struggle financially as some members sacrifice to support and sustain unemployed parents, children, siblings or other relatives who now must rely entirely on the generosity of others. In short, the recent economic collapse has affected nearly all of us in painful and costly ways.
Nonetheless, the majority of North Americans and Europeans are still pretty comfortable compared to those the Dečani Fund attempts to assist.
Charitable donations have declined along with the economy in recent months and this is certainly not surprising. However, let’s be honest and admit that most of us still seem to find enough change in our pockets to spring for a latte at Starbucks, a movie rental, a lottery ticket, or –dare I say it—a six-pack of Bud when we want it! We are not, most of us, living in cardboard boxes under some overpass. Most of us are not lining up for lunch at the Rescue Mission. Nor are we picking through dumpsters to find scrap metal to sell to a recycler for a few spendable coins. This recession has been hard on many of us but those of us who are old enough to have heard Depression stories from our parents know that things could indeed be a lot worse. We also should know that in some parts of the world today, things ARE a lot worse.
The Dečani Monastery Relief Fund has tried for years now to address the appalling conditions of poverty and need visited on Kosovo’s remaining Serbian Christians as a consequence of the Albanian conquest and takeover of the province. The passage of time is erasing the outside world’s awareness of the continuing conflicts and ongoing human rights violations that persist within the region. More immediate concerns have eroded our ability to care about situations and people far outside the arena in which we live our own lives and pursue our own interests.
But Christ commanded us to “love our neighbor.” He did not say “love your next-door neighbor.” He left it to us to figure out who the neighbor is.
Hard times bring out both the best and worst in people. Today we are seeing the emergence of some attitudes and policies that definitely do not show human nature at its best! There is a real danger that in this current social and political climate, we Americans will enshrine self-interest as a virtue, transforming ourselves into an insular and mean-spirited people. This is contrary to the Gospel of Christ. It is also a contradiction of all that has been great about America and Americans.
Many people in Kosovo remain desperate for the most basic necessities of life—food, shelter, clothing sufficient to withstand the cold Balkan winter, medical care, even personal safety. The Fund now supports six soup kitchens and hundreds of school children. Yet numerous families still shiver in inadequately heated homes. People of all ages have been reduced to near-beggar status from which there seems no escape. The youth have had to abandon their dreams of higher education leading to decent jobs and lifelong careers; their talents are wasted and much potential is being lost.
The need for YOUR help is still great. Do you have more than they have? Would you forego that latte to provide a meal for a hungry child? If you are NOT living on unemployment, welfare, or your more fortunate relatives; if you are not expecting to have today’s meal at the local Rescue Mission… Christian, step up to the plate and do your bit to make life just a little easier for a needy brother or sister in Christ! Just a little from each of us can keep a family warm this winter, a child fed while he or she attends elementary school, a college student at his or her studies a while longer. Remember, for better or for worse, we all share the same future, both in this world and in the next.
Please send whatever much or little you can spare to the address below.
As always, your donations are fully tax deductible.
Dečani Monastery Relief Fund
C/O Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
2618 West Bannock Street
Boise, Idaho 83702
May our Radiant, Risen Lord Jesus Christ bless you and yours; may He continue to provide you with everything you need and more!
+ Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
President of the Dečani Monastery Relief Fund USA
Who humbly prays for you!
Eastern Orthodox Missionary Publications