Friday, January 15, 2010

Brethren disaster and mission leaders to go to Haiti, first contacts are received from Haitian Brethren.

A group representing the Church of the Brethren has scheduled a flight to Haiti with Mission Flights International. The group will include Ludovic St. Fleur, coordinator of the Church of the Brethren mission in Haiti and pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla.; Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries; Jeff Boshart, coordinator of the church’s disaster rebuilding project in Haiti; and Klebert Exceus, consultant for the Haiti rebuilding program.

The group will travel to Haiti on Monday, Jan. 18, barring unforeseen circumstances.

"We will further assess the situation of the Brethren members and likely set up a base camp at the new church built in the mountains about 40 miles north of Port-au-Prince," reported Winter. He added that Brethren Disaster Ministries and the church’s Material Resources program also may work with Mission Flights International to get supplies to Haiti in the short-term, until containers can be transported.

A report has been received from one of the three Port-au-Prince congregations of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (Church of the Brethren in Haiti). "Good news from Sister Marie in Croix des Bouquets," reports Boshart. "Her house is fine and so is the immediate neighborhood and the church members are well also."

The denominational staff is still waiting for confirmation of the wellbeing of the congregation’s pastor, Jean Bily, who also serves as general secretary of the Haitian Church of the Brethren.

In other news from Brethren in the Dominican Republic, the amount of $5,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund grants for Haiti relief efforts (see story below) has been delivered to Servicios Sociales de Las Iglesias Dominicanas (SSID) to assist in local relief efforts coming from the Dominican Republic. SSID also is a partner organization of Church World Service.

The money was delivered by Irvin Heishman, a Church of the Brethren mission coordinator in the Dominican Republic along with his wife, Nancy.

"Lorenzo Mota King, SSID executive director, expressed profound gratitude," reported Heishman, "and said the funds will help support the following goals for the first two weeks of response: continued support for a team of rescue workers in Port-au-Prince; mobilizing a network of Haitian partners and churches for distribution of humanitarian aid; establishing medical and food services in the border towns of Jimini and Ford Parisien, where many of the wounded are congregating--this includes putting in place a mobile kitchen for preparation of food and opening a temporary medical clinic in a school; finalizing arrangements with the Dominican customs department for the efficient movement of containers of relief supplies through the Dominican Republic to Haiti."

The Heishmans are working on other response activities with the Dominican Brethren, reporting that Brethren there want to do what they can to help out. An additional amount of $2,000 has been sent to the Dominican Church of the Brethren to support the effort. Heishman reported that the board of the DR church is meeting today and tomorrow.

Source: 1/15/2010 Newsline Special

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