Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

The month of April has been declared Child Abuse Awareness Month in our nation, reminding us of the importance of taking care of children in a healthy and proper manner. Our Church has long been aware of the importance of treating children properly ever since our Lord said to His disciples, “But whoever causes one of these little ones (children) who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he was thrown into the sea!” (Mark 9:42)

It is a sad fact that in our country in 2005, child protection agencies received an estimated 3.3 million allegations of child abuse and neglect and that 1,371 children died as a result of abuse or neglect. However large these numbers may be does not diminish our responsibility as individuals and as a Church to work to prevent child abuse.  Not only should we work hard at preventing child abuse, but we must also address the needs of children who have already become victims of abuse.  The numbers may seem overwhelming and our task daunting, but there is good news.  Within our Metropolis the ministry of Trinity Children’s Foundation addresses prevention of child abuse and meets the needs of abused, neglected and abandoned children.

Since 1966 Trinity has helped over 50,000 children from infants to 18 years of age, and currently cares for more than 1,000 children everyday, helping abused and neglected boys and girls to lead productive and healthy lives. Trinity is the largest, private Greek Orthodox provider of licensed and accredited residential, foster care, and special education programs in the United States.

The ministry of Trinity, to help children, continues the tradition of the Church to follow Christ’s call to action:  “I was naked and you clothed Me.  I was sick and you visited Me.  I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matt. 25:36).  During the month of April and throughout the year, Trinity Children’s Foundation provides resources for learning as much as we can about the prevention of child abuse, such as their Speaker’s Bureau and their many informational publications, and how we can help this unique Greek Orthodox ministry continue to care for children everyday.

I encourage our parishes to help children suffering from abuse and to become more proactive in the prevention of child abuse. You may visit Trinity’s website at www.trinitychildrensfoundation... or call 800-543-7730.

May the Lord direct us in both prayer and action to protect the virtue and innocence of all God’s children.

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco