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Thursday, 14 January 2010

Haiti


For 10 years I worked very closely with the Haitian Church when I was the Mission Co-ordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Anglican Church of Canada, and visited many times. I have many friends in L’Église Épiscopale d’Haïti, which is the largest in population of all the dioceses of the Episcopal Church, serving about 150,000 people, in about 170 congregations. The work of our Church there has been impressive, with over 250 schools, a hospital, medical clinics, a symphony orchestra, the country’s only school for handicapped children, agricultural and micro-economic projects, a “Desmond Tutu” Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, and more.

A close friend, the Very Revd Ogé Beauvoir (above), is the dean of the seminary in Port-au-Prince. I tried in vain to contact them him, but there are no telephone lines operating. The head offices of the Canadian Anglican Church (Père Ogé, born in Haïti, was ordained in the diocese of Montreal) and the Episcopal Church, USA had no news. I heard late tonight that Ogé and his wife Serette are safe and have taken refuge in the university football field with hundreds of others. Bishop Zaché Duracin and his wife are also safe. However, according to reports the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Port-au-Prince (pictured below) has been destroyed, along with adjacent Holy Trinity School, St Vincent’s school for the handicapped and the convent of St Margaret (the Anglican Sisters of Saint Margaret have had a presence in Haïti for decades). Among the thousands killed is the Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot.

The scale of destruction and the loss of life in what is already the poorest country in the Americas is enormous. It is a country where day to day survival has been difficult enough without the catastrophe that this earthquake has brought. There is a Haitian Créole proverb: Dèyè mòn, gin mòn, which means roughly, After one sorrow, more sorrows...

Pray for those who have died, for those who are injured, for those who have lost loved ones, and for those who work to bring relief.

Loving God of creation, at this time of devastation
we hold before you the people of Haiti.
When the damage is unimaginable,
and the suffering seems overwhelming,
remind us that every person affected
is loved, honoured and precious in your sight.
We remember all those who have been hurt;
all who have lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones,
and those who have died.
Work through us to bring healing to broken and distorted lives,
peace to those who have been thrown into despair,
light to those in darkness, and hope to those who fear.
We ask this in the name of Jesus
in whom all life and grace is found. Amen
Christian Aid has an appeal for Haiti here.



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