Your Presence is the Greatest Gift

Thursday, December 22, 2022 

Dear Friends,  

I write to you today as we join together across the boundaries of faith & nation in celebration of Christmas, Hanukkah, & Kwanza with the promise of a New Year to come. I do so from IPM’s headquarters in Cleveland, where we are gradually moving beyond the global pandemic of the past three years toward the promise of renewed partnerships & in-person Immersion Experience Programs. Millions of families around the globe will gather-together around the table, often for the first time in three years, to celebrate this season of hope & joy, light & love.  

As I wrote last year, in my tradition the season known as Advent is a month-long reminder of the core values of our faith. A time to reaffirm our shared commitment to embody hope, peace, joy, and love in our own lives while offering those same gifts to our neighbors near & far. For our Jewish brothers & sisters commemorating Hanukkah, for our many friends around the world who marked the Winter Solstice earlier this week, and for those working to ensure the well-being of the world this Kwanzaa, the call is similar: to bring light to times of darkness and love to a world that is broken & hurting.  

For almost five decades, IPM has been doing just that! Your partnership with us—whether as a Project Partner, colleague, donor, virtual program participant, student, &/or volunteer—makes everything we do possible. You are the light required during the darkest days, the hope that sees us through despair, the joy we see on the faces of each & every woman, child, and community where the IPM Family continues to nurture and transform.  

We live in tumultuous times. No matter our respective faith tradition &/or spiritual practice our response as dedicated members of the IPM Family must be just extraordinary. It is not enough tim simply write, as our recent 48th Anniversary International General assembly reaffirmed, that: the promotion of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice through accompaniment, solidarity, and love, has been at the very heart of IPM as we were created to bridge the borders, identities, and realities that so oven divide our global community & natural world. We must be be willing to accompany those others would cast aside as “strangers,”  live in solidarity with those on the margins of our respective societies, and reaffirm daily that love is the hope for our world. 

Each of you “set the table” for the rest of us. You open your homes to others in the service of “love and connection”.  Your humanity and sacrificial giving makes our mission possible. This Holiday Season once again, through the generosity of three committed IPM families, each gift post-marked on or before January 15, will be matched up to $50,000 as a prelude to our upcoming 50th Anniversary in 2024. I trust that you will thoughtfully consider your response . All of us at IPM remain profoundly grateful for your continued generosity. 

Never doubt that your consistent presence is the greatest gift  you can offer the IPM Family. What you make possible is the greatest gift we can offer the world in the coming New Year.  

May the light and love of this Season be with you and all those whom you hold dear.  

Faithfully yours, Joe