Episcopalians Helping Episcopalians: Rebuilding the Church in Haiti

Its been almost a year since the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. During this past year tremendous efforts have been made at recovery in Haiti and Episcopal Relief and Development has played a major part in that work.  The real work of recovery in Haiti has only just begun and it will have to be done by major international contributions, which have been promised but not yet realized, and by a change in Haiti's own national life.  There is an emerging necessity for a national conversation and perhaps conversion, within Haiti, about its viability as a nation state and its ability to become a new Haiti. For a new Haiti is what is needed, the old Haiti is rubble and disaster and dry bones. 

Into this work to find new life the churches of Haiti, and in particular the Episcopal Church in Haiti, have a role to play.  Long engaged in education, health and development concerns, and known for its honoring of Haitian culture, and fully Haitian in leadership both lay and ordained, the Episcopal Church in Haiti can be a significant force in the rebuilding of the nation and the restoration of the people, setting both on a new path.

So it is good news that the Haitian Initiative first proposed at Executive Council in February of last year now be transformed by the needs of the Church in Haiti, as expressed by the Diocese of Haiti, into a church-wide appeal to give for the rebuilding of the Church in Haiti, beginning with the Cathedral complex in Port au Prince, so that the Church will continue to be a focal point for spiritual, social and cultural life of the people as Haiti itself lives into its future.

The Episcopal Church Foundation has just posted a press release on its work in co-ordinating this rebuilding effort. Read it, encourage your diocese to participate, give to the fund and pray, pray daily for the people and church of Haiti. (Click on the "Rebuild our Church in Haiti" button to the right to be taken to the contribution site.)

Here is the release.
Episcopalians Helping Episcopalians: Rebuilding the Soul of a Nation in Haiti

January 3, 2011, New York, NY – When the earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, nearly all the church buildings in the Diocese of Haiti were effectively leveled, including Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince.

The Diocese of Haiti is the largest Diocese in The Episcopal Church, and in addition to the spiritual and pastoral care people expect from the Church, the Diocese of Haiti also provides many of the services generally provided by the government, including healthcare, education, and cultural resources.

The people of The Episcopal Church can rebuild Holy Trinity Cathedral. Home of the famous murals that depicted the Biblical narrative, the Cathedral was a beacon in a land where strength of faith is inversely proportional to economic development. The Cathedral site was also home to Holy Trinity Music School, Holy Trinity Professional School, and the primary and secondary schools.

The Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin, Bishop of Haiti, has asked for help. The Episcopal Church, acting through the Executive Council, is asking all Episcopalians to join in this initial phase of rebuilding the Diocese of Haiti, beginning with Holy Trinity Cathedral. As they say in Haiti, “Men anpil chay pa lou”, or many hands make the load lighter.

The Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) is coordinating this Church-wide appeal, and in January will be providing news, information, and resources so congregations and dioceses throughout The Episcopal Church can join in this fundraising effort. Even before the official launch, several dioceses designated their convention offerings for this effort. Nearly half of the diocesan bishops are in the planning process for work in their diocese. And contributions have already been received from as far away as Brisbane, Australia, and Paris.

In the meantime, individuals can be leaders in rebuilding the central pillar of support that once provided spiritual, educational, and medical care to hundreds of thousands of Haitians. Anyone can participate; just $10 “buys a brick” to rebuild The Episcopal Church in Haiti. For more information and to donate, visit http://www.episcopalchurch.org/haitiappeal/.

“The people of Haiti have lost the cultural symbol of their gathering place for the worship of God,” noted the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, speaking in support of this appeal. “It’s going to take the resources of the entire Episcopal Church to serve the reconstruction needs of the buildings of the Diocese.”

Here are video remarks from the Presiding Bishop on this Appeal:


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