Haiti Connection 2013 – the “Best Ever” Will Continue To Impact People, Partnerships, and Institutions for Years to Come

Haiti Conference Closting Sermon - April 17, 2013

The “best” Haiti Connection in the words of Bishop Duracin, and clearly the largest ever, took place in Port-au-Prince Haiti April 10-12, 2013. If you attended, you won’t soon forget those few packed days in Haiti.

More than 270 people attended the opening night’s banquet keynoted by the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, CEO of the Episcopal Church. Two groups of children from St. Vincent’s Centre for Handicapped Children performed. The bell choir, comprised of blind children, played two remarkably precise and beautiful songs followed by a deaf choir and dance troop which signed and danced to a recorded version of Amazing Grace.

Earlier a group of musicians from the Holy Trinity Music School preformed during the reception held on the terrace of the former Montana as the sun set over Port-au-Prince harbor.

On Wednesday morning, prior to the official opening of the conference, a group of nearly 100 people (in four buses) toured downtown Port-au-Prince visiting Haiti Episcopal University, St. Vincent’s Centre for Handicapped Children, Holy Trinity Cathedral, the national Haiti Museum, and College St. Pierre (the Episcopal High School). All except the museum are housed in temporary quarters as a result of the 2010 earthquake. Heads of the institutions greeted the visitors and explained the mission and status of each entity. The diocese held a luncheon for the group as the four buses, on different schedules, converged on the grounds of College St. Pierre as their final stop.

Registration neared 220 people who attended the plenary sessions on Thursday and Friday mornings. Among the speakers: the Rt. Rev. Jean Zache Duracin, Bishop of the Diocese, Sikhumbuzo Vundla, CEO of the Diocese of Haiti, Elizabeth Boe, Global Relations Office for the Episcopal Church, and  Pierre Richard Casimir, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Country of Haiti.

Breakout sessions on Thursday afternoon focused on Health Care, Education (Partnerships), Community Development, and Partnerships of the North (of Haiti). On Friday morning the group heard from five different types of partnerships and participated in a final Eucharist. A young adult choir from Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral filled the room with sound, singing a song about rejoicing. The Rev. Roger Bowen, engaged in Haiti for many years, preached. (See link to a copy of his sermon on this website). Bishop Duracin celebrated.

Registrants came from 25 different states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Haiti.