Through prayers, giving, friendship and family, Canadian Anglicans are connected to Haiti, a country devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 12. Already Canadian Anglicans have donated over $600,000 to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), which is working with the ecumenical ACT Alliance to provide food, water, and shelter to Haiti’s most vulnerable.
But the links are deeper than just a response to this tragedy. Canadian Anglicans are connected to Haiti through the work of the national Partnerships Department, which for many years has partnered in God’s mission with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti:
- Volunteers in Mission have served in Haiti, including C.J. James, who provided administrative support to the Sisters of Saint Margaret in the mid-1990s.
- For the past six years, Partnerships grants have assisted the Séminaire de Théologie de l’Église Épiscopale d’Haïti (STEEH) to train men and women for ordained ministry.
- The Rev. Canon Dr. Ogé Beauvoir, a graduate of Montreal Diocesan College, is dean of STEEH. Previously, he served as General Synod missions personnel in the Latin America/Caribbean region and as mission coordinator for Partnerships.
- Partnerships’ Global Relations Coordinator Dr. Andrea Mann visited these Haitian partners in Oct. 2009. (Read her report and view photos here [PDF].)
The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti suffered many losses in the earthquake. Many parishioners were among the displaced, injured, and dead, and many of the diocese’s buildings were destroyed, including Holy Trinity Cathedral, the bishop’s house, the convent of the Sisters of Saint Margaret and the Episcopal university and STEEH.
Partnerships staff have been keeping in touch with Haitian partners as much as possible. Canon Beauvoir and his wife Serette are safe and assisting the Right Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin, diocesan bishop, at a camp for displaced persons on the grounds of an Episcopal elementary school in Port-au-Prince. He is also working with several non-profits to coordinate the arrival of doctors, medical technicians, translators, and prescription medications.
For now, Canadian Anglicans are encouraged to continue to pray and donate to meet Haitians’ immediate needs through PWRDF. These donations can be made online and any funds donated before Feb. 12 will be matched by the federal government.
General Synod does not send personnel or volunteers to assist in immediate relief efforts. However, individuals are asked to prayerfully consider how they can help stand in long-term solidarity with Haitians. The Partnerships Department will be consulting with Bishop Duracin about the diocese’s long-term needs and there may be future opportunities to serve as a Volunteer in Mission, or to contribute to the reconstruction of the diocese’s buildings and ministry.
To seek or share more information about Canadian partnerships with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, contact Global Relations Coordinator Andrea Mann, Volunteers in Mission Coordinator Jill Cruse, or Director of Partnerships Henriette Thompson.
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