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Methodism has been in Haiti for 200 years!

The following article appeared in the recent newsletter of ‘World Church News’, produced by the Methodist Church. Since Haiti is now the chosen beneficiary of the Circuit’s Second Mile project, we felt that we should share the news.

“In a letter dated 18 July 1815, President Alexander Pétion invited the Methodist Church to “bring teaching of Christian doctrine” to Haiti. The country only had primary schools at the time, so President Pétion also asked the Methodists to help establish secondary education. The Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in London responded positively and John Brown and James Catts arrived in Haiti on 7 February 1817.

Eglise Méthodiste d’Haiti (EMH) leads the eight districts of the Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA) in terms of church growth, and has been a leading contributor to development in Haiti. EMH has provided elementary education in over 100 communities, teacher training, professional schools, agricultural and rural skills training, microcredit groups and health initiatives through clinics and community health education. The Revd Ormonde McConnell, who later became the first Chairman of the District for EMH, established a formal written Haitian Creole and this led to EMH publishing the first ever journal in Creole, Zetwal Metodis (Methodist Star). EMH provided an important training for democratic citizenship, in the time following the end of dictatorship in 1986.

EMH is looking to the future, wanting to become self-sufficient. This will involve training church members in stewardship and equipping them to pass on the gospel message to bring other souls to Christ. The Church also provides training in disaster preparedness and seeks to improve its ability to respond to natural catastrophes such as Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti last year.

Representatives from the leadership of MCCA were present at celebrations recognising the 200 years of Methodist presence in Haiti. On Sunday 5 February, there was a service to commemorate the arrival of Methodism in Haiti; on 7 February, each of the 11 circuits held a thanksgiving service.”Please continue to pray for all members of EMH, the communities around Haiti that the Church seeks to serve and for strength and wisdom for the leadership who guide the Church through the huge challenges it faces. You will find information and prayers on day 13 of the Methodist Prayer Handbook to inform your prayers.

Rev Phil

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