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.

 

Photos of Haiti, by Haitians

Late last month, a group from Saint James’ spent a week in northern Haiti, mostly in two rural towns.

We went especially to explore the possibility of partnering with an Episcopal school in the area, but the most fulfilling upshot of our trip was that we experienced the love and hospitality of our Episcopalian brothers and sisters, and gained a richer, deeper and more personal understanding of a country so often defined in the minds of foreigners simply by its material poverty.

We will share our experiences on Sunday, December 3rd at 9:00am in the Parish Hall.

Continue reading “Photos of Haiti, by Haitians”

Holy Week 2017 Recap: Photos, Video & Scripture Readings

Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Holy Week so special! So many hands go into every service and every church activity – you can learn more about our clergy, music programs, children’s ministry, ushers, acolytes, altar guild, flower guild and so many other parts of the Saint James’ community throughout our website.

Below you will find photos and video of each service in Holy Week, and Scripture readings for each day of the week. We know that Holy Week can be an overwhelming time, with so many services and so many stories packed into such a short time. We hope that you will reflect on each day, and the power of each moment, at your own pace.

Continue reading “Holy Week 2017 Recap: Photos, Video & Scripture Readings”

Table Talk: Week of January 8, 2017

For the next few weeks, we will be experimenting with our Sunday School organization. Godly Play will encompass 1st-5th grade. Godly Play is designed to be used for all age levels and we have wanted to expand the experience. This desire, combined with the struggle to recruit teachers for this oldest group, persuaded us to try something new. In the lead up to Lent, we will see how having the groups together works and then evaluate how to proceed from there. We’d love to hear feedback from parents and children as the process unfolds.

Holy Baptism

The First Sunday after Epiphany is also known as the Baptism of our Lord. Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into the Church.

We baptize people in the name of the Father…the Son…and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we call the Father the Creator. We call the Son the Redeemer. We call the Holy Spirit the Sustainer. People are baptized at all ages, from babies through the very old. We ask the person about to be baptized questions, or the parents or godparents if they are babies. We say prayers for them.

Continue reading “Table Talk: Week of January 8, 2017”

Softball Wrap-Up

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Thanks to everyone that made it out to the field last night.  Glad that the rain held off as long as it did so that we could play at least one game – then the deluge!

For the history books, the scores were:

Game #1 – St James 17 – Fauquier Comm Child Care 0

Game #2 – Called due to lightning / rain (although St James was ahead at the time  :)

This means that for the first time in several years, St James Episcopal Church ended the season with a WINNING RECORD (3-2)CONGRATS – You are part of the history books!

We were so happy to see some additional new faces join us for last night’s games!  Hailey Place, Maddie Carter, and Joe Irvin all had big hits for us and kept our team moving on the bases.  How about those slides into second by Sam Borgstrom and Brittany Cooper (including taking the shortstop out of that play)?  That’s dedicated!  And a second home run of the season for Jason Cooper – imagine how many he might get with a full season of play?

Your defense made the job for our pitching staff of Mike Lillard and myself easy, keeping most batters to one base at most.  We even had back-to-back innings of 3 pitches / 3 outs before we had to call the games due to the weather.  Wonder how many more innings we could have kept that streak alive if the lightning and rain hadn’t showed up?

Plenty of hits and runs from all corners of our roster – glad to see those bats come alive for so many of our players, even if it was at the end of the season.

Alas, our brief season is coming to a close, as we could not get enough players committed to games on Sunday afternoon due to vacations, injuries, and other commitments.  We can see that the commitment is renewed from our group and others to work on a fledgling ‘league’ for next summer that would allow us a few more games.  More information to follow on that next spring.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on the field this season as well as those that watched us play – we had more than 30 players between our few double headers which was quite a feat!  I’m going to miss thanking a few of you since there were so many, but know that we valued the play, sportsmanship, and fellowship from each and every one of you for the few games we had!

Special thanks to the field crew (Brett Nungesser, Eric Cox, Dorothy Smith, Jeff Loving, Zach and Nate Borgstrom, and others missed) who helped prepare the field, set up bases, and pick them back up again each night!

Coy Ferrell – thanks for the pictures and getting only our ‘good sides’ for Facebook and Instagram!

Can’t forget faithful scorekeeper Sabrina Borgstrom, who has been keeping score for us for several years!

And to my lovely co-captain / co-coach / co-everything Debbi Borgstrom – thanks for keeping us on track and sane this season!

Players – rest up and enjoy the rest of your summer!

PS – Spring Training starts in 192 days!

Softball Scores and Photos

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What a great start to our season last night!  We had an inside the park home run, a double-bobbled catch in the outfield, and several innings of multiple runs scored – congrats!

Final scores for our double headers were:

Game #1 – St James 10 – Oak View 9

Game #2 – Oak View 12 – St James 8

Thank you to all of the players and fans who came out play and enjoy the festivities.  Everyone I talked with had a great time and hopefully this morning, we’re all recovering nicely!

Upcoming schedule (all games at Taylor Middle School):

Tuesday evening, July 28 – Double Header vs Latter Day Saints – 6:15 start – end around 8:15p – Foster’s afterwards

**Just Added**  Tuesday evening, August 4 – Double Header vs Fauquier Community Child Care Staff – 6:15 start – end around 8:15p – Foster’s afterwards

Also, with our turnout from last night and the others who were on vacation and couldn’t make it, it looks like we have enough players to field TWO teams.  We’d like to check the interest on a St James intra-squad game on Sunday afternoon, August 9, from 1-3:30 pm.  This would be a great way to cap off our summer season.  If you are interested and able to play that day, please email us back so we can get a head count.

For those who were out of town or unavailable for last night’s games, next Tuesday is your opportunity; please confirm that you will be there for the July 28th game so we can start planning now.

Have a great week and rest up!

–Colin and Debbi Borgstrom

SC Mission Trip Photos

Our group who traveled to South Carolina last week worked hard through the southern heat to show the love of Christ. The need is great in South Carolina, and there is tremendous need here as well. Thank you to all the youth and adults who made the trip to act as the Body. We are his hands!