“Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:33-34)
In obedience to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ to give alms and help those who are in need and much less fortunate than ourselves, the Diocese of California of the Assyrian Church of the East hosted a special fundraising dinner for the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization (ACERO).
The event, on 21 January, was attended by well over 400 people from different parishes and organizations who filled the beautifully decorated Mar Zaia Cathedral parish hall.
The program began promptly at 6:00 pm with an hors d’oeuvres hour, followed by the official dinner reception and program. The dinner opened with a prayer by His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod, and a member of the trustees committee of ACERO; the diocesan clergy were also in attendance.
Following the dinner, which was accompanied by songs from the youth choir, His Grace gave a brief talk on the importance of supporting ACERO as it aids in the alleviation of the sufferings and material needs of our Assyrian people in the Middle East, and elsewhere as the need of our faithful arises. His Grace also outlined the amount of monetary help which has been raised by the Church in California in the past three years. During the years 2009 to 2011, the Diocese of California donated over $80,000 to the ACERO fund.
Later in the evening, the guest speaker Andy Darmoo of Kent, England (secretary of ACERO) gave a more complete talk on the mission and work of ACERO in the Middle East. Both talks were accompanied by a slide presentation of photos depicting the practical work that ACERO achieves for the aid of our Assyrian people. Finally, at the end of the fundraising banquet, the winners of the silent auction items and raffles were announced and received their prizes. The special diocesan fundraising committee made the gala evening a success, coupled with the commendable work of the diocesan youth association in serving during the evening and the clean-up afterwards.
The Diocese of California offered a special thanks to major sponsors John Zia Ismael from Uno’s Chicago Grill and Alis Youkanna from Flowers by Alis. Finally, a general vote of thanks was offered to all donors, sponsors, fundraising committee members and the attendees for their continued support of ACERO and the Church’s efforts.