St. John’s Church has been joined in partnership with Eglise St Esprit (Church of the Holy Spirit) in Lascahobas for more than 25 years, when we became one of the first churches in the U.S. to participate in this program initiated by the Diocese of Haiti. In 1988 the first team went from St. John's and the Church of the Holy Cross in Troy to Lascahobas to meet our partners and establish our relationship.
Although the Diocese of Haiti and the Diocese of Albany are in the same Episcopal province, the conditions in Haiti present challenges unknown to the Albany area that test the faith and determination of the people there. They have continued to inspire us by their hard work not only to survive but to improve their situation, and by their deep faith in God. Despite political disruptions and violence that have temporarily curtailed our visits, we have made many return trips to offer friendship, structural building and repairs, medical help and support of the school with funds for teachers' salaries, classroom supplies and equipment. In recent years, both before and after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010, some 45 miles away in Port au Prince, teams from St. John's have installed solar panels on the school roof and worked on improving the water system.
The "Partnership of Episcopal Schools" has continued to widen its scope, coordinating country-wide initiatives in education, economic development, and health care. In the Albany Diocese the Empire Haiti Coalition now links several Capital Region Episcopal churches with mission churches served by the rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit (Eglise St Esprit) in the central plateau of Haiti.
As St. John's tries constantly to re-envigorate our pioneering partnership, we note that the most fruitful connections have been the personal ones: visits by successive St Esprit rectors to St. John's and St. John's rectors to St. Esprit, letters and pictures exchanged between our children, the loving hospitality extended to our teams when they visit Lascahobas. Both congregations regularly pray for each other and St. John's has been inspired by the faith and encouragement of our partners and friends at St Esprit. For more information, contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.