Dear People of St John’s
I’m sure that all of you have heard about the assassination of Haiti’s President, Jovenal Moise, on July 7. Another national trauma in a country still recovering from the disastrous earthquake of 2010, multiple hurricanes, and political instability. We have been in touch with Markendy Jean, the priest in charge of our partner parish, St. Philippe et St. Jacques, Michel Elissaint, the school principal, and Dr. Frantz Codio, the Country Director of Haiti Companions. They all tell us that things are calm around the towns of Gressier and Leogane, but there are dangerous gangs on the National Road that connects those towns with the capital, Port au Prince. This has caused a shortage of food and other goods in the markets in Gressier, and also a generalized anxiety among the population.
But, amid all the chaos, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti Partnership Program is alive and well. Schools will reopen on September 6, and schools with US partners will welcome students whether or not their parents can afford to pay tuition. Last year at St Philippe et St Jacques, over 360 children received a quality education without paying tuition, because the generous members of St John’s raised $22,000 to pay all the teacher salaries. This came from individual donations and half of Christmas and Easter offerings. What an incomparable gift, for children living in poverty and chaos to experience the wonders of learning! Education is the key to escaping extreme poverty, but many children in Haiti are denied this experience.
Once again, we are hoping to raise enough to pay the teacher salaries at St. Philippe et St. Jacques. Besides giving the gift of education to many children, we will provide their dedicated teachers with income to support their families. Every Sunday from August 15 through September 26, members of the Haiti Committee will be available in the Gathering Space during coffee hour to happily accept your donations. Donations can also be made online, placed in the collection plate, or mailed to the church. Checks should be written to St. John’s, with Haiti in the memo line.
Haiti is a country with many challenges. It has a complex history and has endured many political issues and natural disasters that have made life difficult, but with better education, we have hope that the next generation will be able to solve many of Haiti’s problems. St John’s has been supporting education at one school, St Philippe et St Jacques, since 2006. Hundreds of children have the chance of a better future because they have an education. During this particularly difficult year in Haiti, let’s show our partners that we still care. This past year has shown us the reality of our local and global struggles, and how critical it is to be in supportive relationship with each other. Please give generously to help provide stability and to stand in solidarity with our Haitian partners during this challenging time.
Chair, Haiti Committee
On Saturday, August 14, there was a 7.1 earthquake in Haiti. Thankfully, there was no damage in Gressier and our partners are all safe.
It has come to our attention that some in the congregation are concerned that, because of the political turmoil in Haiti, our donations may not be delivered safely to our partners. I wrote to Rev Kesner Ajax, the Coordinator of the Partnership Program and he sent this reassuring reply (see below). If you have any other questions or concerns, please speak to Dianne Pizey.
Do not worry about the arrival of checks and correspondence in Haiti. Agape Flights is the best way to receive checks and correspondence. Also Pere Makendy receives the money you send on a regular basis. The money arrived in the church account in Gressier and Pere Makendy will not have to travel to Port au Prince to pick up the money, Leogane is very close and has all the bank branches.
Thank you again for your support of Pere Markendy’s ministry in Gressier.
My best to you.