Since the devastating earthquake of January 11th, 2010 Haiti has been in our thoughts and prayers. As members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, people in the Diocese of New Westminste are naturally curious and have questions about the church in Haiti. We are grateful to Dr. Andrea Mann who supplied the following information and a brief update.
The Episcopal Church in Haiti is the largest diocese of The Episcopal Church (USA), Province 2, with over 100,000 members. Currently there are 40 priests and deacons, active and retired. The ministry of laity is crucial as ordained leaders are few in number, the country is large and terrain difficult to travel. 26 parishes are comprised of multiple (6-7) smaller congregations surrounding a town or city.
The diocese's primary social ministry is education. There are 200+ schools ranging from pre-school day care centres, primary and elementary schools, on secondary and one tertiary school (prior to January 2010).
The diocese is presently working hard to organize schooling for children in Port au Prince and surrounding areas, where many schools were destroyed by the earthquake, and for children who left Port au Prince with their families seeking safe housing, food and water in home villages. The population of villages has swelled far beyond the capacities of schools to acccommodate additional children. It is the church, not government that people turn to for schooling...and most other social services.
The diocese continues to serve other survivors of the earthquake with relief tent camps within Port au Prince and Leogane. Fewer numbers are now residing in the camps, but many still seek refuge at night, or food and medical supplies. The rainy season in coming so tents will soon be insufficient. Sturdier temporary housing is urgently needed.
Andrea spoke with Canon Oge Beauvoir, Canadian priest of Haitian roots and Dean of the Seminary on February 25th, 2010. He sends his deep thanks to all Canadian Anglicans, for holding Haiti and the Episcopal church in their prayers, and generously giving financial assistance. 'It is so important at a time like this to know we are remembered, prayed for, accompanied by other Anglicans.
We cannot do it alone. '
Global Relations Coordinator
Partnerships, Anglican Church of Canada
(o) (00)1 604 827-5924
(00)1 416 924-9199 ext. 265