Church Response in Haiti
Greetings from Rosedale United – this brief message is to offer you some information on the United Church responses to the tragic earthquake in Haiti this week.
While I expect that many of you will have already found ways, through trusted aid agencies, to make contributions toward the overwhelming needs of the relief effort that is underway, I’ll give some links here to the specific agencies with whom the United Church is in partnership. Our national office has made an initial 20,000 dollar donation to our partner agencies in Haiti, and has set up an Emergency Response Fund.
We will, on Sunday, join together in lament for this loss, and prayers for those surviving and rebuilding. As with any such massive tragedy, even when we are at a distance and not directly connected, we will experience grief and sadness, and I hope you will allow yourself some time to feel this, to grieve, and to be aware of the heightened sensitivity of those around you. Almost everything around us here will carry on as if all is normal – commerce and day to day busyness and humour, and it can be unsettling to feel the tragic while pretending all is normal. This is not a fully human response, and you may want to seek a quiet place for some reflection (the sanctuary is open), or ask your children or friends how they are feeling, and make allowances for an ‘unsettled’ factor.
There are no easy spiritual answers (though before long there will no doubt be some simplistic ideas circulating – there always are). Jesus acknowledged that ‘the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and the sun shines on the good and on the bad’ – a startling understanding of the random-ness and risk of life, but then he was unfailingly and constantly offering himself to the healing of suffering and to the comfort of the broken-hearted. May we live in the same way.
Some quick info links :
Our partner agency in Haiti (ACT – Action by Churches Together. This agency, which was already in place in Haiti, has lost some staff in the earthquake, with others missing, but is moving resources in to provide water, healthcare, and psycho-social care)
United Church Moderator Mardi Tindal posted these comments on her blog :
As we witness unimaginable pain and suffering in Haiti, we join with others crying this question and, through our tears, we hear an answer. God is in the most painful moments, the most painful places, weeping with every child, with every mother and father, with every person suffering through this tragedy.
I recently heard Barbara Rossing of the Lutheran World Federation speak about how we need to reconsider the so-called “woes” of Revelation. These are not God’s curse but rather God’s lament. God laments for the earth’s pain; God laments for the earth’s poor and struggling; God laments over suffering today in Haiti.
God loves the whole earth as much as God loves every child in Haiti today. It’s an enormous love – one which we know through Christ and which we do our best to reflect through our prayers and actions. Please join me in supporting relief and reconstruction efforts. To join in the response of people of The United Church of Canada, as we work in partnership with those on the ground in Haiti today, watch for updates on The United Church of Canada website.
United Church Emergency Response
Haiti Earthquake Appeal
January 13, 2010
In response to the humanitarian crisis provoked in Haiti by the serious earthquake on Tuesday, January 12, The United Church of Canada is appealing for donations to support relief and reconstruction efforts. The church has already committed $20,000 to relief efforts by partners in the region.
Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people were buried alive when a major earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, the capital of impoverished Haiti on Tuesday. The magnitude 7.0 quake sent panic-stricken people into the streets. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said he fears more than 100,000 have been killed.
Members of ACT Alliance ACT Alliance (the network of churches and Christian aid agencies that enables global responses to emergencies) are already in place, assisting those affected by the earthquake. The ACT Secretariat in Geneva is coordinating the relief operations of its members, and more details will follow in the coming days.
In response to the disaster, Canada has pledged $5 million in humanitarian aid to Haiti and deployed a reconnaissance team to the region to determine whether to send the military’s Disaster Assistance Response Team, known as DART.
United Church Partners Affected
In recent decades, The United Church of Canada has worked with two partners in Haiti:
- Karl Lévêque Cultural Institute (ICKL)
- The Methodist Church of Haiti (a district of the regional Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas)
How United Church People Can Help
- Pray: From the General Council Office, our thoughts and prayers go out to our sisters and brothers who have been affected by the earthquake. United Church members across Canada are urged also to pray for the people who live in affected communities. (See the prayer suggestion, below.)
- Donate: You may make a donation in either of two ways:
- Support the Emergency Response Fund of The United Church of Canada.
- Designate a gift for the “Haiti Appeal.” Funds collected will be shared directly with networks in the region. Cheques and online donations should be made payable to The United Church of Canada and marked “Haiti Appeal.” The funds will be treated as “designated gifts.” Please note: Designated gifts cannot be counted as M&S Fund credits. However, they are eligible for tax receipts. Congregational treasurers may receive and receipt individual cheques and then forward one congregational cheque to the United Church.
A Prayer Suggestion
Let us call upon our churches to pray and to respond to this devastation, to bow and unite our hearts, praying for
- those who lost loved ones
- those who are missing
- those who lost their homes, church buildings, and businesses
- first responders, rescue workers, relief agencies, church aid workers
- hospitals, doctors, nurses
- all those evacuated
We extend our love and prayers to our sisters and brothers of the affected areas, and our solidarity with them for the facing of this hour.
Gracious God, extend your loving kindness, mercy and compassion upon all, we pray. Thank you for aid workers, first responders, churches, communities and families who are extending a loving, helping hand to one another. Grant us Your grace that we may respond in love, with kind and determined action, and with fervent prayer: mourning with those who have loss, labouring with those who seek to rebuild, and aiding those who seek to prepare for the next storm. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Rev. Neal D. Presa, Convenor/Chair of the Caribbean and North American Area Council (Canacom ) of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and pastor of Middlesex Presbyterian Church in Middlesex, New Jersey, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
For further information, contact:
- Jim Hodgson
Caribbean/Central America Regional Program Coordinator
Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit (JGER)
Tel: 416-231-5931 ext. 4013
Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 4013
E-mail: Jim Hodgson