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Brothers and sisters, 
 
You are invited to participate in the 2021 Bishop’s Missionary Appeal which is dedicated to our diocesan communications and social media initiatives.  During my election process as the Fourth Bishop of West Tennessee, many people expressed a desire for enhanced communications between the diocese and our congregations.  Over the past year and a half, the diocesan leadership team has made communications a top priority.  In January 2020, we hired Emily Austin as our Minister of Communications.  Emily serves Church of the Holy Communion and the diocese in this capacity.  When Emily came on board, we had no idea that a global pandemic would develop within a matter of months.  Having an outstanding communications staff person has been invaluable during this crisis.
 
Emily dispatches the weekly Diocesan Communicator e-news each Wednesday to more than 1,300 subscribers, keeping our diocese informed of major events and opportunities to learn and serve.  She maintains our diocesan social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Emily serves as my videographer for speaking engagements within the diocese and in the wider church.  She has also produced several inspiring videos including the Nicene Creed video, which premiered during the 2020 Diocesan Convention.  Her most recent initiative is overseeing the launch of our new diocesan website, which you can visit at EDWTN.org.
 
Jeff Hulett is the other valued member of our communications team.  As a public relations consultant, Jeff’s contacts have generated positive media coverage of the Diocese of West Tennessee and our affiliate ministries over the past year, including pieces in The Daily Memphian, The Memphis Business Journal, The Commercial Appeal, Action News 5 and FOX 13 News.  Last October, Emily and Jeff spearheaded the launch of Faithfully Memphis, our weekly radio show, which airs every Thursday morning on WYXR 91.7 FM and can be accessed wherever you listen to podcasts. Faithfully Memphis has become a rich forum for people of faith to connect, as well as a powerful evangelism tool.
 
The diocese has enhanced our communications capacity by allocating funds for Emily’s salary, Jeff’s consulting fees, additional equipment, and the cost of redesigning the diocesan website. We anticipate dedicating additional resources for communications, including the launch of a quarterly diocesan newsletter with in-depth coverage of the ministries and people of the Diocese of West Tennessee.
 
Over the last year, we have been reminded of the critical role of technology in ministry.  While we look forward to re-introducing physical presence in our interactions, we are grateful for the lessons learned as we worshiped, prayed, and served together virtually. These practices will continue to help us share the Good News throughout West Tennessee. Your donation will enable us to improve upon the good work that has already begun.
 
Traditionally, a contribution of at least $1,000 has been requested for Bishop’s Missionaries.  If you are able to give at that level, please do so.  However, no amount is too small; any gift is greatly appreciated. You can give safely and securely on our website as well.
 
There are other ways of donating including gifts of appreciated stock.  The diocese has a brokerage account to which these gifts can be made, so please call our office for that information and let us know the security you intend to give as well as the approximate amount of that gift.  Individuals who are currently over the age of 70.5 can make gifts from your IRA required minimum distribution.  Before choosing either of these options, PLEASE check with your tax or financial advisor to be sure these methods of giving are appropriate for your current financial situation. 
 
Thank you for considering a donation to this year’s Bishop’s Missionary Appeal.  We continue to explore new ways of remaining connected as a diocesan family, and communications is an important aspect of achieving this goal.  

Peace, 

The Rt. Rev. Phoebe A. Roaf

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