8/25/2012

Rebuilding the Church in Haiti: Keep on keeping on.

There was a time when the over all goals and the actual amount raised by the Rebuild our Church in Haiti went unannounced. Now we have some idea of just how much was raised by the effort "Rebuild our Church in Haiti" begun after the earthquake of January 2010. The following notice went out to the "Friends" of the appeal for Haiti on 8/22/12.

REBUILD OUR CHURCH IN HAITI HAS A NEW HOME.

After 20 months of successful grassroots fundraising, the campaign to rebuild Holy Trinity Cathedral will transition to a new phase and a new home. Beginning September 1st, the appeal will operate out of the newly formed Church Development Office and serve as the first phase in a multi-phase effort to rebuild the largest diocese of the Episcopal Church.

Designed by the Episcopal Church Foundation at the request of Executive Council, Rebuild Our Church in Haiti has raised $2.8 million in gifts and pledges to date, largely from small gifts. An internet-based campaign, it leveraged collaboration among lay and clergy leadership and trained volunteer fundraisers across the Episcopal Church.

With support from 92 dioceses, the project will now transition to a new phase according to ECF president, Donald Romanik. “Internet campaigns rely on a certain economy of scale to be effective. Rebuild Our Church in Haiti has had the dual effect of raising awareness as well as funds. ECF and The Episcopal Church have established a written protocol with the Diocese of Haiti for disbursement of funds, and we hope this work will position the development office to begin the process of securing major gifts.”

Terri Mathes, ECF Program Director, who developed and managed the campaign says, “This campaign has made me enormously proud of the Episcopal Church. There’s nothing like a conference call with dozens of volunteers from across the country all sharing their innovations, swapping success stories, and working together toward a common goal.”

Elizabeth Lowell, Project Manager for Fundraising, considers rebuilding the Diocese of Haiti one of the  office’s primary objectives. “The Episcopal Church is so vital to the spiritual and social stability of Haiti, and the need is so great. We’re grateful to the many generous congregations that have already paved the way for further fundraising.”

Organizations still finishing their fundraisers for Rebuild Our Church in Haiti may send gifts to:

Rebuild Our Church in Haiti
Episcopal Church Development Office
Episcopal Church Center
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Or contact Kim Moore at kmoore@episcopalchurch.org for more information.

Thanks to every individual, congregation, diocese and Episcopal organization that is participating in Rebuild Our Church in Haiti.


We ought to look carefully at this announcement. The effort of the "Rebuild Our Church in Haiti" was directed almost entirely to the rebuilding of the cathedral complex in Port -au -Prince. In itself this was a very worthy cause and it was hoped that the specificity of the target for fundraising would help focus fundraising.  And it did. $2.8 million dollars is quite significant, particularly as it reportedly came from mostly grass roots contributions. 

From the outset the hope of Executive Council was to quickly bring significant funds to bear on the needs of the Diocese of Haiti in its time of greatest need. The need was greater than brick and steel and concrete. The need was to make it possible for the Diocese of Haiti to stand and walk, to get on with its life and gospel hope.  Rebuilding the Cathedral serves that end, but that end is also served by many support and action by many people in addition to the fund being raised. 

It would be difficult but instructive to measure the whole response of Episcopalians to the needs of the church in Haiti. Such a list might cover the following:

  • Funds to particular projects and churches responding to earthquake related concerns.
  • Funds to projects and churches reaching forward to provide ministry in all areas of the country.
  • Groups that have held work camps, provided medical and social services, arranged for visits from Haitian clergy and lay people to US parishes, engaged in special projects supporting parish life in Haiti, held educational events in Haiti, etc.
  • Contributions to Episcopal Relief and Development and United Thank Offering that have been earmarked for work in Haiti.
  • Special budget allotments from The Episcopal Church to support new work, underwrite additional episcopal and other leadership costs.
  • Budget expansion in tight budget times of funds for the Church in Haiti.

The total of The Episcopal Church's efforts is hard to measure, but it would be interesting to get a broad sense of what it is. 

Whatever it is, the reality is that l'Eglise Episcopale d'Haiti is growing and with new clergy and lay leadership being trained, with a new suffragan bishop and the possibility of eventual development of new dioceses, that growth will continue.  

The Diocese of Haiti is a missionary church, not in the old paternalistic context, but as a product of its determination to rise up and walk, and walk carrying the Gospel. It is also doing so in a Haitian way, in which so much takes place in the shade of that great tree which is Haiti to come.  The Church in Haiti is genuinely Haitian, remarkably Anglican, distinct in its history and vision.  

The core sentence in the announcement is this: Beginning September 1st, the appeal will operate out of the newly formed Church Development Office and serve as the first phase in a multi-phase effort to rebuild the largest diocese of the Episcopal Church.

It is a good sign that the Church Development Office will concern itself with support the missionary community that is the Church in Haiti and that its concern will be to "rebuild the largest diocese of the Episcopal Church."  Remembering that what must be build up is the work of the people, it is to be hoped that significant support will go to building a strong program of lay and clergy training for mission.

 


 

1 comment:

Leonard Sackett said...

Thanks for the GREAT post. Finding out any information on this campaign has been like pulling hens teeth. I finally had to write the national church requesting information as treasurer of our parish that contributed $4.5k to the fund and never heard anything....I mean ANYTHING. Nice to see a total listed (by your) I was told by the national church that the total is secret because of "bad people" in Haiti might....

Thanks again. Sorry it took me several months to find your blog.

Len Sackett
St. David's Episcopal Church
Southfield Mi