Grace and peace. Before a few weeks ago, I had not visited St. Etienne since 2013. That is way too long. Let me tell you that there have been many improvements since then and many of them are thanks to our long-established partnership. St. Patrick’s and St. Etienne’s have been working together since 1979. Over the years, we have helped them build, provide sustenance, and educate their community. They have helped us through their spirit, resilience, and their love and faithfulness as companions. Last year, we contributed nearly $90,000 to Haiti. This year, we plan to do about the same. The money helps with structures, teacher salaries, and school lunches. It provides an economic jump start to a community in great need.
Since my last visit, St. Etienne’s has built a classroom, installed solar panels, added over 100 students to the school, and extended the school through high school. The opportunities for the Haitians in this community are much higher as a result of the hard work of their Vestry and our leaders and donors. I want to thank especially our current Haiti Committee chairs Marilyn Nowalk and Mary Beth James for their tireless efforts to maintain this important partnership.
This June, I will join Marilyn, long-time traveler and retired Day School teacher Marcy Ference, and eight St. Patrick’s youth on a Haiti mission trip. In 2017 and 2018, we have taken a few of our Day School students to Haiti, but this is the first trip focused on youth in a very long time. I hope that you will be at St. Patrick’s for Haiti Sunday this weekend. At both the 9am and 10:30am service, we will share our recent experiences in Haiti and at St. Etienne.
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