From the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori:
My sisters and brothers in Christ,
As Haiti prepares to mark the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in 2010, I urge all Episcopalians to pray and give in solidarity with our largest and fastest-growing diocese. I ask for your generosity in a special offering on Sunday, January 12, 2014 to aid the Diocese of Haiti in rebuilding Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince.
The Episcopal Church in Haiti for more than 150 years has taught, healed, and cared for Haitian people in body, mind, and spirit. Today the diocesan ministry includes more than 170 congregations and 250 schools, a dozen clinics and two hospitals, serving thousands of people across the nation every day. Yet the spiritual heart of the church’s ministry centers on Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince.
The cathedral building destroyed in the 2010 earthquake housed religious art that was a national treasure. The music school at the cathedral hosts the only philharmonic orchestra in the nation, as well as internationally noted choirs. The Haitian people give glory to God through many art forms, music, dance, and liturgy, which the cathedral continues to bless and celebrate. Rebuilding the cathedral offers hope not only to Episcopalians but to the nation as a whole – a sign that God is present, that God continues to create out of dust, and that God abides in the spirit of his people.
A Holiness Church bishop and missionary in Haiti speaks of the spiritual role this cathedral plays in the lives of all Haitians:
“As one who actually lives and ministers here in Haiti amongst the Haitian people, I can assure you that the Episcopal Church of Haiti is working closely with the people through education, medical missions, community development, and church ministry. Unfortunately some fail to understand that by having a central focal point where all can unite, pray, praise, and glorify God together is an important part of our culture here. Knowing that people outside of Haiti love us enough to make a sacrifice of this magnitude so that this part of our lives can be touched as well gives hope and encouragement beyond the daily provision of the things we need. Please don’t feel that it is sinful to give something special to the poor. We know that we are poor and needy, we don’t need to be reminded – we see it every day. What we do need is to know that we are loved above and beyond pity, and that we have something that we can be proud of that represents our faith in our God who loves us so much that He would inspire someone to do such a wonderful thing in His name and on our behalf in our midst!”
— Allan Chabot-Stahls, Bishop, Independent Holiness Church of Canada
I ask that you share your blessings with the Haitian people on January 12, and offer your gift in the spirit of the Diocese of Cuba immediately following the earthquake: “We give not out of our abundance, but out of our poverty.” All we are and have is a gift, and it is in knowing our poverty that we become rich in spirit.
May God bless and strengthen our bonds, one to another, in the Body of Christ
Your servant in Christ,
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Gifts to The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society may be sent to the Development Office, 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and annotated for Holy Trinity Cathedral.
For more information about the work of the Episcopal Church in Haiti, contact Elizabeth Lowell at the Development Office of the Episcopal Church: (212) 716-6041; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spanish bulletin inserts are available on the Sermones que Iluminan website.