Readers of Preludium know that considerable attention has been paid here to the ongoing problems within the Anglican Communion. This has mostly concerned the extended effort of those disposed to usurp the place of The Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion by way of a process involving tactics that Machiavelli would be proud of and an untiring campaign to mark the leadership of The Episcopal Church as heretical, anti-biblical and immoral. The need to stay awake in all this is vital and hopefully Preludium will continue to take its part in standing watch. But it has been a bit like swatting flies - useful but not enlivening.
But it is time to lift our gaze from the ecclesial warfare that occupies much of our attention to a wider horizon, one in which the care we have for the whole body exceeds the desire to swat ecclesial flies. The body of The Episcopal Church is hurting, and one major area of suffering is in the Church in Haiti, which IS the Episcopal Church in Haiti. We are bound to Haiti, as flesh to flesh. What they suffer we suffer, but only if we are willing to admit that they ARE us, and we are them.
It has been nine months since the January earthquake. The rubble is still in the streets, thousands are still without permanent shelter, the rebuilding is only just underway. The rebirth of Haiti will take a long time and focused effort. In the public sector the pledged monies from world governments is there to underwrite a large part of the recovery effort. That combined with the amazing work of various relief agencies, including Episcopal Relief and Development, will begin to turn Haiti from ruin to recovery.
|Holy Trinity Tent Cathedral, Easter 2010 (ENS)|
And then there is the Church in Haiti, specifically the Episcopal Church in Haiti, l"Eglise Episcopale en Haiti. Many of its public sector service agencies - hospitals, schools and the like will benefit from general monies for relief and development. But its core life as a diocese of churches in worshipping communities, with clergy and lay leaders, must rely on the rest of the church body for its support. It is we, the members of The Episcopal Church who are the first line of support for our own church, ourselves, in Haiti.
From now until the promised $10 million dollars is made available to the Church in Haiti, a promise which must be delivered on quickly if the Church in Haiti is to complete the first phase of its own recovery and renewal, PRELUDIUM will pledge at least once a week to carry some news or reflection concerning the Church in Haiti. As soon as a funding challenge is made to the whole Church PRELUDIUM will carry links for immediate funding possibilities.
At its October meeting Executive Council will receive a report and recommendations about how to fund the promised funding for $10 million and how to address the longer term recovery effort which will entail a much greater sustained effort. Out of that we can hope that a massive, quick and thunderously generous response can be mounted to provide the Church in Haiti an immediately available source of funding to begin some of the work towards reconstruction and renewal.
Episcopal News Service reported on the events at the House of Bishops meeting on Saturday, September 18. That day,
"Bishops Ian Douglas of Connecticut and Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe shared information about an effort, initiated by the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, on a draft of what an appeal might look like for the rebuilding of the infrastructure of the Diocese of Haiti. This draft is built upon the February 2010 Executive Council resolution which committed $10 million for the initial reconstruction, based on priorities established by the Episcopal Church of Haiti."
It would be immensely helpful if the House of Bishops would affirm this work and commit themselves to fully support an appeal this fall.
It is time to set our hand to the plow. We need to be about plowing - in the US, in Haiti, in every place where we are as a body. And yes, we will still have to swat flies, but we must also plow on.