Haitian Methodist Leader Assesses Earthquake Damage
New York, NY, Jan. 19, 2010--"Almost every Haitian family has lost a relative, or friend, or close one," the president of the Methodist Church in Haiti reports in an open letter of appreciation to those assisting his country in the wake of the January 12 earthquake.
The Rev. Gesner Paul wrote that people of all walks of life lost their lives across the country of 9 million people--professionals and the destitute alike. Estimates of the number of dead vary significantly, ranging from 50,000 to 100,000. "A lot of people have lost their lives," Paul said.
"Up to now, the main activity in Port-au-Prince," he said, "is the rescuing of people still under debris. Cleaning of streets has started, as well as the disposal of the dead across the city. A few supermarkets have timidly opened their doors. We do not know when life will return to normal."
The relatively small Methodist Church in Haiti is a district of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA) and follows the British Methodist organizational plan. It is organized into seven circuits consisting of 30 to 40 congregations each. Most of these churches are served by lay preachers. There are some 100 Methodist schools with a total enrollment of more than 20,000.
"We thank God that all of our Haitian ministers are in good condition with their immediate family members," President Paul said. "Broadly speaking, the manses where they live have resisted well."
Many church buildings, as well as public structures, did not fair as well. The Haitian Methodist leader wrote:
Speaking for the Methodists of Haiti, President Paul concluded, "We thank you for standing near us at this time of severe difficulty and continue to count on your support, by any means, as we try to recover from this very traumatic disaster."
UMCOR is mobilizing its resources and in cooperation with it's partners is preparing to be on the ground to deliver direct relief to earthquake survivors in Haiti by early next week. Gifts to support UMCOR's Haiti Relief efforts can be made to Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325. Checks can be made to UMCOR with "Advance #418325 - Haiti Emergency" in the memo line. Checks can be put in the church's offering plate or mailed to: UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087.
One hundred percent of gifts made to this Advance project will go to help the people of Haiti.
Date posted: Jan 19, 2010