Haiti: 2 years later

Two years after the earthquake leveled much of Port-au-Prince and other parts of Haiti- many still live in tents – awaiting promised aid. The Episcopal Church, through the Episcopal Church Foundation is trying to rebuild the Cathedral as a center for renewal of life. Episcopal Relief and Development is supporting people to rebuild their lives.

As the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti is marked on January 12, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reflected, “We are all diminished by the reality of the situation in Haiti.”

The Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake devastated the Caribbean island country. Leveled were churches and diocesan facilities, including Holy Trinity Cathedral in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is the largest in the Episcopal Church.

Since that time, the Episcopal Church has undertaken a focused effort on rebuilding the cathedral complex.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued a statement, and Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin of the Diocese of Haiti narrates a powerful video (see below) depicting the damage still evident in Port-Au-Prince as well as images of rebuilding.

Letter received today from Bishop Duracin (below):

January 12, 2012

Port au Prince, Haiti

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Haiti in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we transition from Advent season and welcome 2012, it is an apt time to remark new beginnings. We are pleased to be celebrating many new beginnings in the Diocese of Haiti. This year we do this while evaluating progress in light of the two-year anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The earthquake of 2010 will be fixed in our national consciousness for decades to come and has thus been integrated into the national vernacular. When referring to events, Haitians almost always specify whether it occurred ‘before or after the Twelfth’.

We are thankful this year, and always, to be a part of the World Wide Anglican Communion. The support within our Church continues to gain momentum even while the catastrophe fades out of international consideration.

On behalf of the Diocese of Haiti, I thank you for supporting the rebuilding of the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The Cathedral is the center of worship for Diocese of Haiti. We are pleased to state that the Request for Proposals to rebuild the Cathedral has been issued and the international team charged with rebuilding Holy Trinity will soon choose among the proposals a firm to design and build the new house of worship. We count on continued support to complete the project. The rebuilding of the Cathedral will be a victory for the Anglican Communion and the downtown Port au Prince renaissance. We appreciate all of you who participate.

Thank you also for your steadfast support of the Diocese of Haiti’s diverse ministries. Individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds met us in Haiti and offered their gifts, talents, and resources. Many more offer their significant support from their homes. Thank you for giving of yourselves for the benefit of your brothers and sisters in Haiti. Despite the continued challenges of insecurity, limited access to clean water, and inflated prices, all Diocesan institutions are functioning albeit in temporary structures made mostly of plywood and corrugated metal. We look forward to moving all of these institutions into permanent appropriate structures. We look forward also to increasing the community development programs of the Diocese such as micro-credit loans and technical education to insure ourselves for the challenges to come. Together we are moving from the relief stage of recovery into a steady pace striding into a better future.

In March, the Diocese of Haiti welcomed a Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Sikhumbuzo Vundla. Mr. Vundla works closely with Diocesan leadership to facilitate the reconstruction process. The Diocese benefits from his knowledge and experience.

This Fall, the Diocese of Haiti elected Rev. Canon, Ogé Beauvoir as Bishop Suffragan to serve in the North. This is an important step in a plan to decentralize and reorganize. The Bishop Suffragan will share leadership duties with the Diocesan Bishop increasing the capacities of all Diocesan ministries.

The potential of what has begun in 2011 adds fuel to the fires of hope and resilience. We are elated to realize tangible advancements. We have many positive things to celebrate ‘after the twelfth’. Our joy multiplies knowing that it is shared with so many brothers and sisters around the world.

God’s Peace to you and your families at the commencement of a new year. Please know that each one of you is remembered in the prayers of your Haitian friends. May God bless each and every one of you in all of your endeavors this year.

In Christ,

The Right Reverend J. Zaché Duracin

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti

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