Update on Saint James’ Builds

by dorothy smith

Another much-needed Build was accomplished on November 4 and 5. This time the builders rebuilt half a roof, fixed the interior ceiling and did exterior brick, siding and other repairs to the home.

The home owner, Nicky, has two small children (both with special needs) and was very grateful and moved by the outpouring of love and action from Saint James’.

Someone also anonymously donated money to help Nicky meet some of her very pressing needs, which was an incredibly timely and thoughtful gesture.

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Photos from Haiti: October 2017

In late October 2017, a small group from Saint James’ visited North-East Haiti. This was not a mission trip; rather, we traveled there to learn about how Saint James’ could be a long-term partner in the work that Haitians are already doing to improve the educational lives of children.

Our goal was twofold.

First, we went learn about primary education in northern, rural Haiti and to connect with Haitians improving the educational opportunities of children there, especially in an Episcopal context. We were able to board for a week at St Barthelemy Episcopal School in Terrier Rouge, where we gained insight into the potential of an Episcopal school in this region and what a transformative impact it can have on a small town.

Second, we went to seek out and connect with an Episcopal primary school in the area, with the goal of providing long-term financial support and establishing a lasting relationship. We found this in St Luc Episcopal Church & School in Trou du Nord.

Because the largest ministry of Saint James’ is our school, and because Haiti is the largest diocese in the American Episcopal Church, it seems a natural fit that we use our material resources and intimate knowledge of the challenges facing an Episcopal school to do what we can to support a similarly-sized school in Haiti, where the effects of quality education can be absolutely transformative to individuals and to a community. 

These are images from our trip.

PHOTOS BY HAITIAN BOYS

“Each of the following photos was taken by a Haitian boy in Terrier Rouge. Three boys took an especially keen interest in my camera: Jeff, Dervilien and Hermetz. All three are students at Ecole St Barthelemy, and each boy is either nine or ten years old. At various points during the week, I was able to hand my camera to them and they took it from there. I think these are the most valuable images from our trip, because they show what Haiti looks like to Haitian children themselves.” -Coy

Daily Life in Terrier Rouge

Though only about 20 miles from Cap-Haïtian, the second-largest city in Haiti, Terrier Rouge is a quintessentially rural town of 10,000-15,000 residents. We got the distinct sense that everyone in the town knows everyone else. Almost no one lives on the outskirts of the town; to live in an isolated house would mean unacceptable isolation from the life of the community. Most structures in town are made with cinderblock and concrete, the ideal building materials in a place where air-conditioning is almost non-existent and where, despite the rarity of any rain at all, flooding is an ever-present risk from those storms that do make it over the mountains.

Ecole St Barthelemy

Ecole St Barthelemy was founded in 2001 as a preschool with just 30 students. Since then, it has grown into a student body of 1,100 students ranging from preschool all the way through the upper secondary-school grades. From the two graduating classes so far, each of the 40 students has gone on to university, an astonishing feat in a country where only 32% of the population has even some secondary-school education, much less university experience. The school is run by Pere Jean Bruno, a retired Episcopal priest. He also chairs the board of Esperance et Vie, a nonprofit which funds the school, a local medical clinic and community improvement projects. Almost all students at St Barthelemy cannot afford the <$100-per-year tuition and attend through scholarships, funding for which stems mostly from donations by individuals and churches in the United States.

Ecole St Luc

St Luc’s school was founded in the early 2000’s in Trou du Nord, a town somewhat larger than Terrier Rouge and about five miles away. Unlike St Barthelemy, St Luc has not had the blessing of such steady funding or a singular driving force like Pere Bruno to push it forward. Ecole St Luc currently enrolls about 250 students from preschool through the first year of secondary school. This number will greatly reduce by the end of the school year; many families cannot afford the tuition for the entire year, and must pull their kids out early. Of its $40,000 yearly budget, about $15,000 has been funded by an Episcopal Church in Maine, though this source of funding will drop to about $5,000 next year. The priest of Eglise St Luc, Pere Sadoni Leon, has put special focus on improving the quality of education at Ecole St Luc in the two years since he arrived in Trou du Nord. All new teachers graduated at least from secondary school in Cap-Haïtian, where the quality of education is generally much higher than in towns further east.

Eglise St Luc

On Sunday morning, we attended church at Eglise St Luc, the Episcopal church that runs the school. Pere Sadoni invited Fr Ben to give the sermon. Although the service is in Haitian Kreyòl, the primary spoken language in the country, the order of the service is almost identical to an Episcopal service conducted in English – a testament to the multilingual reach of the Book of Common Prayer. There were some marked differences from a typical American Episcopal service; drums formed a musical backdrop for many of the prayers and liturgies. The Prayers of the People, especially, were a vibrant expression of reverence and fervor. While only 20-30 parishioners attended on this particular morning because of some confusion about the time of the service, Pere Sadoni says about 70 people count themselves members of St Luc, most of whom attend every Sunday.

 

Ministry of the Month: Learning Starts Early + Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k

NOVEMBER 2017 MINISTRY OF THE MONTH

On Saturday, November 18, the third-annual Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k & Kids’ Fun Run will wind through the streets of Old Town Warrenton. You can register for the race here.

While the event is an absolute blast, complete with a turkey mascot on a bicycle, it also serves a much more profound purpose: funding efforts to increase access to preschool in Fauquier County through a Saint James’ initiative called Learning Starts Early.

Learning Starts Early (LSE) is an outreach ministry with a simple vision: that each child is a beloved child of God, and that each child should enter kindergarten ready to thrive and grow academically, socially and emotionally.

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2017 SC Youth Missions Trip Recap

Thank you for your prayers and all the ways you supported our mission team while down in Hollywood, South Carolina. Thank you also to all of the adult volunteers (and their families) who volunteered their time and talents, and to our youth who represented Saint James’ so wonderfully. The trip was a transformative experience.

Read blog posts from each day of the missions trip

Please take the time to watch the youth (and our Director of Family Ministries) reflect on their experience, and if you watch the whole service you will even hear them sing and play the ukulele!

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The Next Firewood Ministry Split, Stack and Delivery Day is December 10

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10 | 9-11am | @ WARRENTON COLLECTION SITE

Thank you to Rick Miller, Jody Del Signore, Lynn Ward, and the Borgstrom boys for delivering much needed wood to five families throughout Fauquier County last Saturday!

The Wood Ministry has identified eight families thus far that are in dire need of wood for heating of their homes this winter. We’ve been working hard for several months to split and stack wood for these winter deliveries, and we have depleted the stored wood from the upper site.

We are planning our next big split / stack / delivery date on Saturday morning, December 10 from 9-11 at the Warrenton Collection site.

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Comfort Cases Donation Drive

Hi,

My name is Madisyn and I’m in the 5th grade at SJES.

I’m looking for donations to help provide comfort and support for children who are entering the foster care system, who have been a victim of a crime, who have had to flee to an emergency shelter, or who have lost their home due to fire. I’m helping to gather donations until October 31.

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Flooding in Baton Rouge

A portion of the Outreach money that comes from the special collections at Easter and Christmas is allocated for disaster relief.

The floods in and around the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana have affected over 40,000 homes, according to a statement by the governor of Louisiana.

At the time of writing this the death toll is only at ten, due to the fast evacuation and the available shelters, though assuredly this number will rise. A tremendous number of people are currently displaced and in extreme need. Many have lost just about everything they own. A donation from our Outreach fund will go towards the purchase of gift cards to help those in need.

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