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Diocesan response more than triples goal in bishop's challenge to help "Rebuild Our Church in Haiti"

The people of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth gave enough money to more than triple Bishop Walllis Ohl's goal of raising $11,000 by Ash Wednesday [March 9] to help in the rebuilding of the Cathedral Center in Haiti. Episcopalians gave $36,000 in less than two months.

Bishop Ohl had reminded the diocese that Haiti is the largest diocese in The Episcopal Church, with more than 100,000 Episcopalians.

"Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin and the people of Haiti have asked for our help," Bishop Ohl said, adding that The Episcopal Church, acting through the church's Executive Council, has asked every Episcopal diocese and congregation to join in this effort.

From the beginning the response to the bishop's challenge was enthusiastic, with the Executive Council voting at that January meeting to give $1,000 out of funds allocated for mission work outside the diocese. More than $7500 was raised at the February 15 Evening of Reflection and Conversation the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church. That money was donated to the effort in honor of the presiding bishop. In addition to the money raised by parishes, one individual pledge was for $10,000.

The Rebuild Our Church in Haiti effort is in addition to, not instead of, the fine work Episcopal Relief and Development is doing in Haiti. The Diocese of Fort Worth has raised nearly $30,000 for ERD's work in Haiti. At the recent Diocesan Convention, Robert W. Radtke, president of ERD, said the Fort Worth Diocese's giving is among the highest per capita giving in The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church Foundation's website reports that "In Haiti many of the services we expect from the government—healthcare, education, culture—are provided by The Episcopal Church. Many governmental agencies and NGOs have rushed to fill these needs in the aftermath of the earthquake. Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Church in Haiti to provide short-term employment, provisional homes, and sanitation systems in addition to other community-focused recovery programs. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund sponsored mobile health clinics, and a United Nations fund has underwritten the clean-up of six neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince.

"But there is one thing no one else can rebuild for The Episcopal Church -- Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Cathedral complex.

"The Cathedral, home of the famous murals that depicted the Biblical narrative, was a beacon in a land where strength of faith is inversely proportional to economic development. As the site of Holy Trinity Music School, the Cathedral trained a touring choir and the nation's only symphony orchestra, providing both cultural development and income. Holy Trinity Professional School and the primary and secondary schools, also located on the Cathedral grounds, all raised up future leaders in an environment of cultural and spiritual grace. In 35 seconds, the earthquake reduced it all to rubble. "

To learn more and to see photos of the destruction of the Cathedral, visit:

Bishop Ohl also asked that all parishes offer prayers for the people of Japan and the Anglican Church in Japan [Nippon Sei Ko Kai] and its primate, Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu as they deal with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

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