Primate urges Canadian Anglicans to help Haiti

Artwork in Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, Port au Prince Haiti, which was destroyed by the earthquake on Jan. 12.
Artwork in Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, Port au Prince Haiti, which was destroyed by the earthquake on Jan. 12.
By on January 13, 2010

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has released an initial grant of $15,000 to assist victims of a major earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, Jan. 12.

“Hundreds, maybe thousands of people were buried alive” by the magnitude 7.0 quake, according to Action by Churches Together (ACT), a global coalition of church-based agencies working in emergencies worldwide, of which PWRDF is a member.  It was the most powerful quake to hit Haiti in more than 200 years, according to the U.S. geological survey. PWRDF, the relief and development arm of the Anglican Church of Canada, issued the grant through ACT’s Rapid Response Program, which is already in place in Port-au-Prince.

The primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, has urged Canadian Anglicans to pray for the people of Haiti and the Canadian Haitian community, and to “give generously” to the relief efforts. “The people in Haiti have suffered so much in the past 10 years. Hurricane Jeanne ripped through the island in 2004 and in 2008, tropical storms took a huge toll. Now, a new disaster,” he said.

Archbishop Hiltz noted that the church, particularly the diocese of Montreal, has had a long history of relationship with the Anglican Church of Haiti. He said that relationship has been personalized by Canon Oge Beauvoir, a graduate of Montreal Diocesan College, who went to Haiti in 1991 as a Volunteer in Mission. A Canadian Haitian, he served the church’s national office as a regional mission co-ordinator for Africa and the Middle East. Canon Beauvoir and his wife, Serette, who returned to Haiti in 2004, are both safe, the primate reported.

ACT reported that two of its staff are missing and some are still in shock after surviving the disaster. It said that many offices, hotels, houses, shops and even the UN headquarters had collapsed. “People were screaming, ‘Jesus, Jesus,’ not knowing where to run,” ACT reported on its website. Many churches were also destroyed, and even the Presidential Palace, home to Haiti’s first family, lay in ruins. The office of ACT member Christian Aid was also destroyed, but staff were unharmed and have been responding to the emergency.

The earthquake wreaked “massive destruction,” said ACT. It left the city without electricity and nearly all communication networks down.

PWRDF said it welcomes donations for the response. Contributions can be made by calling PWRDF staff, Jennifer Brown, (416) 924-9192, ext. 320, or 1-866-308-7973. Cheques can be made payable to PWRDF-Haiti Earthquake, and mailed to PWRDF, Anglican Church of Canada, 80 Hayden St., Toronto, ON, M4Y 3G2. Donations can also be made online at the CanadaHelps website.

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