Earthquake Disaster in Haiti
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to give $500,000 for seeds
of hope in Haiti [4-19-10]
Seeds and tools will help Haitian farmers feed
the country and build the economy
Press release from PC(USA), dated April 19,
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It is rainy season in Haiti.
While that sometimes creates terrible challenges for those whose
homes were destroyed in the earthquake, it is also good news.
The rainy season is the growing season. And for thousands of
farmers, it is both an opportunity for economic recovery and a
chance for them to play an important role in their country’s
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is
partnering with the Presbyterian Hunger Program to provide funds
and staff support for seeds of hope for Haiti. PDA has committed
$500,000 to purchase seeds and tools for farmers who are trying
to feed the hundreds of thousands of displaced Haitians who have
left Port-au-Prince, as well as the communities that are hosting
The rest of the story >>
PDA’s Haiti response tops $500,000
Presbyterians contributing to earthquake response in many ways
Presbyterian News Service reports:
With the transfer of an additional $101,500 to ecumenical
partners in Haiti, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) through
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has now contributed more than a
half-million dollars to immediate emergency relief in the island
nation following the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed hundreds of
For Haiti, A Modest Proposal
George Hunsinger and Michael Kinnamon
is the Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic
Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Kinnamon is
the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.
News release from the National Council of Churches
ricocheted around the Internet this week, requiring no further
comments. It read simply:
"GDP of Haiti:
$8.5 billion. Goldman Sachs bonus pool: $20 billion."
Even before the
recent earthquake alerted us to Haiti’s misery, Goldman Sachs
was uncomfortable about the attention its bonus system was
attracting. Last September Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive
of Goldman Sachs, acknowledged that "Compensation continues to
generate controversy and anger." "In many respects," he added,
"much of it is understandable and appropriate." The New York
Times reported (October 12, 2009) that Goldman Sachs has
considered improving its image by making a sizable charitable
disaster, on the front of every newspaper, has given Goldman
Sachs an unequalled opportunity. A simple act of generosity
could bring it front-page publicity, one that would do much to
allay the controversy on everyone's lips. By donating just half
of their bonuses to Haitian relief, they will outmatch the
Haitian GDP, and improve not only their image but their tax
liability. Church World Service,
an efficient and experienced relief organization, for example,
administering the Goldman Sachs billions, could ensure that
reconstruction is not just a return to pre-earthquake squalor,
but an enduring monument to the bankers' unprecedented
liberality. In this simple way Goldman Sachs alone would surpass
the $100 million that President Obama has pledged to Haiti, by a
monumental factor of 100.
What the Haitians
obviously need most is massive humanitarian relief. They need
food, water, medical supplies. They need shelter and physical
reconstruction. Over the longer term they need renewed and
expanded educational facilities; and not least, indigenous
control over their offshore oil and other mineral riches.
In Haiti 300,000
are feared dead, and 1.5 million are homeless. The death toll
continues to climb. A major fuel shortage is looming, while
people unreached in the countryside fare even worse than those
in the cities. Over half of Haiti's population are children, 15
years old or younger. Many were already hungry and homeless
before the earthquake hit.
Relief for Haiti
needs to come in the form of grants, not loans. The last thing
this stricken nation needs is more debt. According to a report
from The Center for International Policy, "Haiti spent $57.4
million to service its debt [in 2003], while total foreign
assistance for education, health care and other services was a
mere $39.21 million." Haiti needs outright grant money to
rebuild its public sector. It needs the opportunity to stand on
own two feet so that its hard-pressed citizens can receive basic
One last point.
Humanitarian aid must be directed particularly to women,
children and the elderly. As MADRE, an international women's
human rights organization, has observed: "Women are the poorest
of the poor and often have no safety net, leaving them most
exposed to violence, homelessness and hunger in the wake of
disasters." Despite their disproportionate need for assistance,
women "are often overlooked in large-scale aid operations."
The crisis facing
Haiti today goes beyond anything yet thought or imagined. "I
think it is going to be worse than anyone still understands,"
says Richard Dubin, vice president of Haiti shipping lines.
Without a major upgrade in the global response, future
generations may look back with horror. Ten billion dollars could
make an inestimable difference. So could eight billion—half of
the recently scaled-down bonus figure. A golden opportunity is
knocking for Goldman Sachs.
Help Haiti – drop the debt
|This call to action comes from
“Voice” in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern
Avaaz.org is a new global web
movement with a simple democratic mission: to close
the gap between the world we have, and the world
most people everywhere want. Across the world, most
people want stronger protections for the
environment, greater respect for human rights, and
concerted efforts to end poverty, corruption and
war. Yet globalization faces a huge democratic
deficit as international decisions are shaped by
political elites and unaccountable corporations --
not the views and values of the world’s people.
To learn more about the Avaaz
on-line advocacy group,
Even as aid flows in to Haiti's desperate communities, money
flows out to pay off the country's crushing debt of over $1
billion racked up years ago by lenders and governments.
The call for full
cancellation of Haiti's debt is building steam across the world
and has won over some leaders while rich lender countries are
rumored to resist. Time is short: G7 finance ministers could
reach a final decision next week at their summit in Canada.
Let's raise a
massive global call for justice, mercy and common sense for the
people of Haiti in this hour of tragedy. Avaaz and partners will
deliver the call for debt relief directly to the summit.
Click here to sign the petition and pass this email to friends.
Even before the
earthquake, Haiti was one of the world's poorest countries.
After Haitian slaves rose up and won their independence in 1804,
France demanded billions in reparations, launching a spiral of
poverty and unjust debt lasting two centuries.
In recent years,
the tremendous worldwide campaign for debt relief has awakened
the world's conscience. In the last few days, under mounting
public pressure, lenders have begun to say the right things
about erasing Haiti's devastating debt burden.
The devil in the
details? After the 2004 tsunami, the IMF announced relief from
debt payments for stricken countries; the underlying debt went
right on growing. Once public attention faded, the debt payments
were bigger than ever.
The time to
cancel Haiti's debt fully and without conditions and ensure that
disaster aid is made with grants and not loans is now. A victory
now will change lives in Haiti even after the world's attention
has moved on.
Join the call for debt relief and pass this message to those who
feel the same.
Thanks to Ralph Garlin Clingan
CWS campaign: ‘Tithe Wall
Street bonuses for Haiti’
‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’ humanitarian agency
by Jerry L. Van
Marter, Presbyterian News Service, and Lesley Crosson, Church
NEW YORK —
January 27, 2010 — Global humanitarian agency
Church World Service (CWS) today launched a novel
fund-raising campaign for Haiti earthquake relief: calling for
Wall Street’s financial industry leaders to tithe their bonuses
for the reconstruction of Haiti following the disaster that
killed more than 100,000 people and destroyed much of Port au
Prince and the country’s fragile infrastructure.
According to CWS’
Lesley Crosson, “People are already joining the ‘Bonus4Haiti’
tithing call to Wall Street now, signing on to
Cause page, tweeting the campaign to others, and raising the
shoutout volume virally through the Internet, with the message,
‘Tell corporate CEOs that to whom much is given, much is
expected. Please tithe your bonuses to Haiti!’”
“As a relief and
development agency that has worked in Haiti beginning in 1954,
Church World Service has seen the dire challenges, strife and
unremitting, abject poverty that the people of Haiti have
experienced for generation after generation,” said CWS executive
director and CEO the Rev. John L. McCullough.
Haitian hospital approved
for $200,000 from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
News release from General
Assembly Mission Council, PC (USA)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — January 22, 2010 – Hôspital
Sainte Croix (Holy Cross Hospital) and an affiliated nursing
school in Léogâne, Haiti, have been approved to receive a
$200,000 grant from Louisville-based Presbyterian Disaster
The grant request was sent to PDA by email on
Friday, Jan. 22, and the much-needed funds were approved within
two hours. The hospital and nursing school are ministries of the
Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and have been a major focus of
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission in Haiti. Léogâne is near
the epicenter of the Jan. 12 earthquake and both facilities
sustained serious damage.
“We’ve been told by our Episcopal partners in
Haiti that despite the damage, the nursing school began
operating as a makeshift hospital within a half-hour of the
quake,” said Randy Ackley, PDA coordinator. “In addition,
nursing students have established 10 first-aid stations around
the main part of Léogâne. The people on the ground are working
hard to help one another and this grant is one way we can
support their live-saving efforts.”
News media have reported that 80 to 90 percent
of the buildings in the main part of Léogâne were destroyed. The
PDA grant will support electrical power and distribution needs,
water and sanitation facilities, fuel for generators and
vehicles, and salaries for local staff involved in the cleanup.
accepting donations online;
by phone at (800) 872-3283; and by mail: Presbyterian Disaster
Assistance, P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700. To date,
more than $1.2 million has been donated to PDA for relief and
recovery efforts in Haiti.
PDA is a ministry
of the Presbyterian Church
which is comprised of 2.2 million members
in more than 10,000 congregations, answering Christ’s call to
mission and ministry throughout the United States and the world.
New evangelical group calls for Haiti debt cancellation
A newly formed group of
evangelicals led by some well-known figures called for the
cancellation of Haiti’s foreign debt on Friday.
Headed by the Rev. Richard Cizik, former vice
president for governmental affairs at the National Association
of Evangelicals, the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common
Good says Christians are called to have a “spirit of compassion
for the grieving, the injured and the displaced, and to take
action to alleviate their suffering.”
For the full story >>
Stop slandering the people of Haiti
Witherspoon member Tom F.
Driver, who has spent decades focusing on the issues of justice
for Haitians, has sent this note to a wide list of friends,
inviting them to join in signing an open letter to
New York Times columnist David Brooks.
Driver is the Paul Tillich Professor of Theology and Culture
Emeritus at Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Dear friends of Haiti:
The United States has
given Haiti a lot of misguided aid in the past. What it has
never given is respect. This must change.
Three days after the
earthquake, columnist David Brooks published
in The New York Times a slanderous
article about Haiti.
Even if he meant well, he
spent 7 paragraphs spreading one of the oldest and most damaging
myths about Haiti that have circulated ever since the Haitians
freed themselves from French slavery in 1804. He blamed Haiti´s
poverty on its religion and culture. He said that what Haiti
needs now is "intrusive paternalism." That kind of thinking is
the greatest danger now hanging over Haiti's future.
I have joined with my friend
Carl Lindskoog, a scholar studying Haitian-American communities,
to compose an Open Letter to David Brooks that explains how his
views are so misguided and injurious. The letter is attached to
this message. It has already been signed by more than 200
people, including Brian Concannon, Director of the Institute for
Justice and Democracy in Haiti, and Noam Chomsky, Institute
Professor at MIT.
To read the full text of the
open letter >>
To add your name online,
click here to sign open letter to David Brooks.
blog messages about the letter,
click here. The blog is sponsored by the Institute for
Justice and Democracy in Haiti.
have a website, please post our open letter there [or just link
to it here!].
Please circulate this message
The Paul Tillich Professor of Theology and Culture Emeritus,
Union Theological Seminary in New York
Open Letter to David Brooks on Haiti
[posted here 1-19-10]
Dear Mr. Brooks,
In your January 15, 2010 opinion piece in
The New York Times, “The Underlying Tragedy,” you present
what you seem to believe is a bold assessment of the situation
in Haiti and what you certainly know is a provocative
recommendation for Haiti’s future. You also offer some advice to
President Obama. In order to successfully keep his promise to
the people of Haiti that they “will not be forsaken” nor
“forgotten” the President, you say, has to “acknowledge a few
difficult truths.” What follows, however, is so shockingly
ignorant of Haitian history and culture and so saturated with
the language and ideology of cultural imperialism that no
valuable “truths” remain. Please allow us, therefore, to present
you with some more accurate truths.
First, Haiti is not a clear-cut case of the
failure of international aid to achieve poverty reduction. For
almost its entire existence Haiti has been shouldered with a
load of immense international debt. The Haitian people had the
audacity to break their chains and declare independence in 1804
but were later forced by France to re-purchase their freedom for
150 million Francs, a burden that the country has had to carry
throughout the twentieth century.
What’s more, the “aid” Haiti has received from
its powerful neighbor to the North has never been the sort that
would help the country reduce poverty or achieve meaningful
development. In the early-twentieth century the principle “aid”
Haiti received from the United States came in the form of a
brutal military occupation that lasted from 1915 to 1934. After
“Papa Doc” Duvalier ascended to power “aid” meant assistance to
a ruthless (but conveniently anti-communist) dictator. The U.S.
gave Duvalier $40.4 million in his first four years in power,
briefly suspended military and economic assistance to the
dictator in 1963, but resumed shortly thereafter, restoring full
military and economic aid to Duvalier by 1969. In the early
1970s and 1980s when “Baby Doc” Duvalier was at the helm, the
“aid” the United States and other international agencies
contributed failed to reduce poverty but did enrich foreign
investors in the newly constructed assembly industry. Economic
policies that the U.S. forced upon Haiti decimated its
agriculture for the benefit of American farming while driving
Haiti’s peasants into Port-au-Prince and other cities where they
found few jobs and scarce housing. Four years after Baby Doc’s
departure the Haitian people decided to help themselves by
democratically electing a new leader, but the United States
aided Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s domestic opponents in the coup of
1991 and did so again in 2004. It is no wonder then that that
such “aid” from the United States has failed to lift Haiti out
Equally unconvincing is your argument about
“progress-resistant cultural influences,” which brings us to
important truth number two: Haitian culture is not
“progress-resistant” as anyone familiar with the examples you
yourself provide can attest to. If Vodou or “the voodoo
religion” as you put it, “spreads the message that life is
capricious and planning futile,” how do the majority of Haitians
manage to survive on scant resources and less than two
dollars-a-day? How do so many Haitians manage to travel abroad,
find and maintain difficult jobs, and send money back home if
not through careful planning and a fierce defense of precious
life? How do the nationwide customers of Fonkoze, the Haitian
banking operation that teaches literacy and business practices
to curbside marketers to whom it makes small loans, achieve such
strong records of loan repayment? In fact, it might be Haitian
culture itself (and even Vodou) which allows Haitians to
persist. After all, the Vodou spirit Ogou (St. Jacques) is
honored as a clever planner and master of skills. So was the
champion of Haiti’s war of independence, General Toussaint
L’Ouverture, a onetime slave who entered history as a military
and diplomatic genius.
The third important truth we have to offer
(and we hope President Obama is listening as well) is the
opposite of your call for “intrusive paternalism” as the
solution to Haiti’s woes: Haiti does not need nor does it want
the paternalism of the United States. Haiti is literally dying
of cultural imperialism.
Whenever America’s leaders and pundits speak
of subordinate peoples, the ideology of imperialism shines
through. As it does in your words, Mr. Brooks, so it has done
for far too many earlier Americans. President William McKinley,
for example, facing the difficult question of how he was to
govern the newly-conquered Filipinos worried that
left “to themselves
they are unfit for self-government-and they would soon have
anarchy and misrule . . . [So] there was nothing left for us to
do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and
uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do
the very best we could by them.”
Closer to home, those who worried about an
earlier form of “progress-resistant cultural influences” decided
it was better to remove the children of Native American families
than to let them absorb the backwardness of their pagan and
uncivilized parents and community. A common refrain by these
“reformers” was “kill the Indian, save the man.” And now, Mr.
Brooks, you propose to save the Haitians from themselves by
replacing Haitian cultural values and institutions with
“middle-class assumptions, an achievement ethos and tough,
measurable demands.” Imperialism, whether economic or military,
is the primary reason for the conditions that so worsened the
impact of the earthquake on January 12. Haitians need less
imperialism, not more.
During the Vietnam War an American officer
famously stated that “it became necessary to destroy the village
in order to save it.” Today Haiti is virtually destroyed. The
earthquake having done the hard part, Mr. Brooks, you think
“intrusive paternalism” will save it. Lacking a foundational
understanding of Haitian history and culture, and bearing the
familiar colors of American imperialism you and your ilk will do
vastly more harm than good.
Tom F. Driver
Paul Tillich Professor Emeritus of Theology and Culture
Union Theological Seminary
Doctoral Candidate, Dept. of History
The Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York
you're working with Haitians living in the U.S., or with U.S.
citizens seeking to adopt Haitian children, this may be helpful
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) granted to Haitian
immigrants already in the United States
From Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
A PDA-Rapid Information Network communication
was recently sent to advocate for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
for Haitians allowing them to remain in the United States for at
least 18 months as part of a comprehensive response to the
current humanitarian crisis.
This action has been granted. The U.S.
Government has announced Friday that it will allow an estimated
100,000 to 200,000 Haitians living in the United States
illegally to stay and work in the country for 18 months as part
of its response to Tuesday's earthquake.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet
Napolitano said the decision to grant Temporary Protected Status
to illegal immigrants from Haiti who were living in the United
States as of January 12 was a gesture of compassion and an
attempt to ensure that the flow of remittances and economic
support to their devastated homeland continues.
"This is a disaster of historic proportions,"
Napolitano said in a 5 p.m. conference call, "Providing a
temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the
United States and whose personal safety would be ended by
returning to Haiti as part of this administration continue
effort to support Haiti's recovery."
TPS (Temporary Protected Status) Registration Process
Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 10011577
(posted Jan. 15, 2010)"
Jonathan Nelson, an elder of Fifth Avenue
Presbyterian Church, New York City, has shared this
statement, from the American Immigration Lawyers Association
website, with the Presbyterians for Just Immigration
Network, on 1-18-10:
In a telephonic briefing on 1/15/10, USCIS
Director Mayorkas indicated that the registration process for
TPS for Haitian nationals will begin upon publication in the
Federal Register. The agency’s goal is to have it published next
The registration period will run for 180 days,
and TPS eligibility will be for 18 months. Fees will be required
for the I-821, the biometrics, and the I-765 if a work
authorization is desired and the I-131 if advance parole (travel
permission) is sought. Applicants may apply for fee waivers.
Community organizations participating in the briefing emphasized
the need for generosity in fee waivers.
As proof of nationality, USCIS is looking
primarily for a passport (an expired one is acceptable) or birth
certificates. Community organizations participating in the
briefing noted the problems with obtaining this documentation in
the best of circumstances, and USCIS indicated that secondary
evidence would be considered. The organizations emphasized the
need to be generous in allowing such documentation.
On the subject of orphans, USCIS noted that,
if adopting parents were in the Haiti at the time of the
earthquake, they may go to the U.S. embassy to complete the
adoption process, and the government of Haiti will waive the
exit visa requirement. DHS and DOS are still working on the
issues related to adoptions by parents not in Haiti. They urge
parents not to travel to Haiti at this time.
More about Pat Robertson on Haiti's "pact to the devil"
A devil’s-eye view of Pat Robertson on
Minneapolis Star-Tribune published the following “letter
to the editor,” which was apparently submitted on behalf of
Satan by a "ghost writer" named Lily Coyle.
Dear Pat Robertson,
I know that you know
that all press is good press, so I appreciate the
shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully
who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over
that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact
with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil
incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it,
making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and
impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike
bargains with people, they first get something here on
earth – glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a
golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean
nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you
seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"? If I had a thing
going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers,
SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox – that kind of thing.
An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing
against it – I'm just saying: Not how I roll. You're
doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your
wings – just, come on, you're making me look bad. And
not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's
working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need
to renegotiate your own contract.
LORD, WHEN WAS IT THAT WE SAW YOU?
from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
[posted here 1-14-10]
On January 12, a powerful earthquake hit approximately ten miles
from the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. An earthquake of this
magnitude would be devastating to any city, but in one of the
poorest countries in the Western hemisphere its effects are
catastrophic. Millions of people have been affected by this
disaster and tens of thousands—possibly hundreds of
thousands—are feared dead. With many of the established sources
of safety and security demolished—churches, schools, hospitals
and government buildings—survivors are searching for signs of
hope and help.
Church (U.S.A.) is responding through Presbyterian Disaster
Assistance (PDA). PDA is rushing an initial $100,000 from One
Great Hour of Sharing and designated funds to provide immediate
emergency relief to the affected people. Funds are being sent
through our ecumenical and local partners working in Haiti.
Presbyterian World Mission is gathering information on
safety and status of our mission personnel and ecumenical
partners in the area. For updates on the earthquake and the
church’s response, please visit
the PDA Web site.
Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to
Gifts can also be made by phone at (800) 872-3283,
weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (EST), and checks can be
mailed to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, P.O. Box 643700,
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.
What you can
As God’s people, we are called to stand in the
“GAP”— GIVE, ACT, PRAY.
Give – Financial support for relief
can be made online and designated to DR000064. Your gifts,
combined with those of others, provide a visible and tangible
demonstration of God’s care in the midst of this tragedy.
Recovery will be a difficult and long process, but Presbyterian
Disaster Assistance has time and time again modeled a faithful
response over the long haul.
Act – Congregations and individuals can
put together hygiene kits and baby kits to be distributed
through Church World Service. For information,
visit the PDA Web site.
Pray – Join with others in lifting up
the people of Haiti and those seeking to provide aid in this
critical time. As the eyes of the world turn to Haiti, let us
join our hearts in prayer.
PC(USA) missionaries, mission groups in Haiti reported safe
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance responding
to earthquake tragedy
Presbyterian News Service reports:
Two Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) missionaries in Haiti and
mission teams from three PC(USA) congregations that were in the
country when the devastating earthquake struck Tuesday (Jan. 12)
have been accounted for.
The Haitian Red Cross estimated today (Jan. 14) that between
45,000 and 50,000 died in the late-afternoon 7.3-magnitude
temblor that struck near the Haitian capital of Port au Prince.
Much of the country, particularly areas around Port au Prince
are totally destroyed.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has dispatched $100,000 from
One Great Hour of Sharing offering funds and issued a special
appeal to support ongoing relief efforts. The crisis response
team of Presbyterian World Mission is meeting at the
Presbyterian Center here virtually around-the-clock.
Haiti's "pact with the devil" myth
How Pat Robertson turned a country's origin myth into a cheap
invocation of Satanism
We posted a note
yesterday about evangelist Rev. Pat Robertson’s latest
astonishing statement, in saying that Haiti’s terrible suffering
has come upon them because they long ago made a pact with the
devil. Someone sent us a commenting: “Will Pat Robertson live
forever to spread his hate-filled notions??????”
Thomas Rogers, an associate editor at Salon, has interviewed a
professor of history and anthropology at UCLA about Haiti's
voodoo traditions, and concludes that “this is hate speech.”
One of the most callous reactions to the
Haiti disaster thus far has come from televangelist Pat
Robertson, who told viewers of his Christian
Broadcasting Network on Wednesday morning that he knew
the real reason for the quake: The country's
long-standing pact with Satan. ...
But is it a true story? We spoke with Andrew Apter, professor of
history and anthropology at UCLA, about Haiti's voodoo
traditions, the ignorance behind the evangelical community's
distortions and the real cause of suffering in the third-world
any truth to what Pat Robertson is saying?
Of course not! Haitians are Christians. Pat Robertson's language
is the reductio ad absurdum of the Christian right. It's so
absurd it's almost funny. This notion of a pact with the devil
is basically an echo of an old colonial response to the
successes of the 1790s Haitian revolution.
What is this pact he's talking about?
We pray for Haiti
Brothers and Sisters in
As the eyes of the world turn to Haiti, let us join our hearts
God of compassion
Please watch over the people of Haiti,
And weave out of these terrible happenings
wonders of goodness and grace.
Surround those who have been affected by tragedy
With a sense of your present love,
And hold them in faith.
Though they are lost in grief,
May they find you and be comforted;
Guide us as a church
To find ways of providing assistance
that heals wounds and provides hope
Help us to remember that when one of your children suffer
We all suffer
Through Jesus Christ who was dead, but lives
and rules this world with you. Amen.
(Adapted from Book of Common Worship)
Reyes-Chow, Gradye Parsons and Linda Valentine
The Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) is responding to this earthquake through
Assistance and its partners. Presbyterian World Mission is
gathering information on the safety and status of our mission
personnel and ecumenical partners in the area. For updates on
the earthquake and the church’s response, please continue to
visit PDA. Initial reports indicate a large number of casualties
and widespread damage especially in the capital city of
You, too, can be part of
God’s answer to prayer for those affected by this disaster.
Information on the situation and prayers and worship resources
will soon be available. Funds from One Great Hour of Sharing are
already helping with the initial response. You can give to the
ongoing relief through
PDA account number DR000064.
Some other ways to respond to the crisis in Haiti
suggests two good
Give to Doctors Without Borders / Medicins
Doctors Without Borders — a group CREDO members support with
their phone bills — operates one of the only free trauma
centers in Port-au-Prince as well as an emergency hospital
in the capital for pregnant women, new mothers, and newborn
children. All three of its primary medical centers have
collapsed, but DWB/MSF has already set up temporary shelters
and is offering emergency care on the ground. For more info
on their work in Haiti
To make a donation
Tell Obama: Grant temporary protected
status to Haitians living in the U.S
President Obama must order his Department of Homeland
Security to immediately halt all forcible deportations to
the disaster zone and grant temporary protected status to
undocumented Haitian refugees in the U.S. To refuse to do so
would be irresponsible and immoral. To take action,
Friends Committee on National Legislation also encourages
contacting the President and your people in Congress to support
Temporary Protected Status for Haitians living in the U.S.
In Haiti, There is Anguish
In response to the disaster in Haiti,
Gillette has written a hymn, which she has shared with
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and has kindly shared with us
as well. She offers it freely for use by anyone, or any
church, which supports PDA.
ST. CHRISTOPHER 22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 (“Beneath the
Cross of Jesus”)
In Haiti, there is anguish that seems too much
A land so used to sorrow now knows even more
From city streets, the cries of grief rise up
to hills above;
In all the sorrow, pain and death, where are
you, God of love?
A woman sifts through rubble, a man has lost
A hungry, orphaned toddler sobs, for she is
Where are you, Lord, when thousands die—the
rich, the poorest poor?
Were you the very first to cry for all that is
O God, you love your children; you hear each
May all who suffer in that land know you are
In moments of compassion shown, in simple acts
May those in pain find healing balm, and know
your love’s embrace.
Where are you in the anguish? Lord, may we
That anywhere your world cries out, you’re
there-- and suffering, too.
And may we see, in others’ pain, the cross
we’re called to bear;
Send out your church in Jesus’ name to pray,
to serve, to share.
Tune: Frederick Charles Maker, 1881
Text: Text: Copyright © 2010 by Carolyn
Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Permission is given for
use by those who support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
visited Haiti on a mission trip when she was a Lebanon
Valley College student. Other hymns by Carolyn that
might be helpful for churches responding to this
disaster that are posted on the PDA web site include
Who is My Neighbor,
a hymn inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan,
and God We've Known Such Grief and Anger,
Winfrey Gillette is the author of
Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor
Room Books, 2009)
Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship
(Geneva Press, 2000) and the
Limestone Presbyterian Church
in Wilmington, Delaware.
For more news reports from Haiti:
TruthOut is providing a "live blog" on the Haiti earthquake,
carrying news from a variety of sources.
For a (really really) different view of the
preacher Pat Robertson says Haiti made a pact with the devil
US evangelical preacher Pat Robertson levied
blame Wednesday for the devastating earthquake in Haiti on
Haitians themselves, saying that the country "swore a pact to
the devil" at its creation. "Something happened a long time ago
in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it," Robertson
said on his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 Club."
Well, it takes all kinds. But some
are pretty hard to fathom.
Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
politics, culture, travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New
York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive
New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the
Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian
Church in Flushing, NY.
John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive
A Presbyterian minister, currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!
Plan now for our 2010 Ghost Ranch
GHOST RANCH SEMINAR
July 26-August 1, 2010
WE’RE ALL IN
CONFRONTING THE STRUCTURES OF INJUSTICE
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