NEW YORK – 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.”