Dear St John’s Community,
With all the bad news in the world to digest, you may or may not be aware of the news from Haiti. If you are interested, the New York Times has had an excellent series, outlining the past and current challenges in this island nation, just 600 miles from Miami. In a nutshell, the past two years in Haiti have been catastrophic. Their president was assassinated, and the leadership vacuum has been filled by violent gangs, who are in effect ruling the country through intimidation, shootings, kidnappings, and roadblocks. The National Highway from Port au Prince to the west of Haiti is controlled by gangs, making travel dangerous and causing a shortage of gasoline, food, and other goods. One of the many communities who are suffering is Gressier, home of St John’s partner parish and school, St Philippe et St Jacques.
And yet, despite all the struggle and uncertainty, last year 360 children from preschool through tenth grade were educated at St Philippe et St Jacques. The teachers showed up every school day, and every month they received their salaries. Every dollar of those salaries was donated by us, the parishioners at St John’s. We made it possible for children to learn in a safe environment and for teachers to be able to support their families. We provided some light in the darkness.
Every year, in August and September, we start asking for your donations, so, when the children and teachers return to school in September, we have at least the first few months of teacher salaries ready to send. This year we have had a designated donation to start eleventh grade, and there are already ten students enrolled in that class. Imagine if St Philippe et St Jacques can someday provide education right through graduation! What a blessing for those students and what a contribution to the country of Haiti! We don’t know how Haiti will solve its current problems, but we can be sure that educated young people will be part of the solution.
Every Sunday in August and September, members of the Haiti Committee will be in the gathering space to accept your donations. Any amount, large or small, is welcome. Other ways to donate are to put a check in the offering plate, with Haiti in the memo line, or to donate online here.
Thank you in advance for your generosity. If you have any questions, or are interested in joining the Haiti Committee, speak with me or one of the members of the committee.
Kari Slade, Ginny Jacobson, Vicki Madsen, Barb Risken, JoAnn Blatchley