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Thanksgiving Day
Dear brothers and sisters, I hope you had a blessed Feast of Christ the King earlier this week. I also want to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day has an interesting history in our country. Thanksgiving became an official holiday in the United States in 1863 under President Lincoln. Days of thanksgiving were called sporadically since the first European settlers came to what’s now the United States, often around the time of harvest. One of the most well known examples was when the governor of the Plymouth Colony appointed a day for praise and thanksgiving for the Pilgrims in 1621.

Before those settlers had reached our shores, days of thanksgiving along with days of fasting had been called in England since the Reformation. If the country was facing something like a war then a day of fasting may be called, if there was some wonderful national event like peace, a day of thanksgiving would be called.

It’s good to have a set day in our national calendar, but we must remember the adage from Jaroslav Pelikan that “tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” Many Americans have turned away from church, but they still see Thanksgiving as a time for turkey dinner, or pilgrim decorations, or football games. There’s nothing bad about those things individually, but there is a problem when a day dedicated to give thanks to God, a day centered around a living faith, gives way to a traditionalism of familiar customs with no actual thanksgiving.

We’re facing a difficult Thanksgiving not being able to gather with family or eat the foods we normally have, but it’s my hope that in having to forgo so many of those customs, we can focus more on the original meaning and purpose of Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving isn’t about a turkey, Thanksgiving is about reflecting on the year you’ve had, looking for the blessings and the ways God has worked in your life, and turning to him and expressing your gratitude for his role in your life.

If we do that we’ll have the Thanksgiving we truly need this year. Many of us have struggled with fears, anxieties, and stress since the pandemic started. It’s easy to look at and focus on all of our concerns and our failings, especially this year. What Thanksgiving forces us to do is look at the ways God has been with us through all of that. We may have drifted from Him, but He’s been there with us through all of 2020. God has been working in ways we can’t truly know to support us and strengthen us in everything we’ve faced. Too often in our lives we take the blessings he gives us for granted. We have much to give thanks for this year. Please spend some time both individually and with your families reflecting on this. If ever there’s been a time in our lives when this country has needed a true day of Thanksgiving it’s this one.

I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving Day! 

Bishop Menees

Most merciful Father, we humbly thank you for all your gifts so freely bestowed upon us: for life and health and safety, for strength to work and leisure to rest, for all that is beautiful in creation and in human life; but above all we thank you for our spiritual mercies in Christ Jesus our Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
San Joaquin Anglican
November 25-27

November 26
Thanksgiving Day

November 29
Bishop @ Holy Cross

November 29
First Sunday of Advent

December 8
Rural Deans Meeting

December 9
Diocesan Clergy Zoom Meeting

December 12
Commission on Ministry Meeting

December 13
Bishop @ Epiphany

December 15
Northern Deanery and Central Deanery Clericuses

December 19
Standing Committee Meeting

December 20
Bishop @ Holy Cross

December 23
East West Deanery Clericus

December  24-28

December  25

December 27
Bishop @ Christ Church, Reno

December 30
Diocesan Clergy Zoom Meeting

December 31 - January 1

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Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin · 1300 East Shaw Avenue #123 · Fresno, CA 93710 · USA

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