Celebrating 25 Years of Partnership
Pictured L-R: Miles Barkley, Père Madoche Vil, Père Valdema, Suzanne McCord, Gerry McCord, Père Ricot
Last Thursday night at the Country Club of Charleston, over 150 people gathered together in fellowship to celebrate 25 years of mission and ministry service on the island of La Gonâve in Haiti. Our “Friends of Haiti” sponsors and guests, who so graciously supported the event, viewed photos, heard stories and testimonials, sang songs, and celebrated the many blessings of St. Jean Baptiste’s sister-church relationship over the years with St. Philip’s Church, Haitian American Partnership Program, Inc. (HAPPI), Haitian Island Ministries (HIM), and La Gonâve Haiti Partners.
It was my privilege and pleasure to be a part of a wonderful and informative program that included devoted longtime leader and St. Philippian Gerry McCord; his wife Suzanne; Père Valdema, the original priest in charge on La Gonâve 25 years ago when the mission was founded; Clay Hershey, Jr., who provided his youthful perspective from his 2019 trip; Claire Barry, President of La Gonâve Haiti Partners; and Père Madoche Vil and Père Ricot, the current priests in charge of 10 churches on La Gonâve. The crowd celebrated as the stories, experiences, and perspectives highlighted the evening.
Père Vil and Père Ricot gave a special mention and a plaque in appreciation of St. Philip’s Church for answering God’s call 25 years ago and establishing the church relationship with St. Jean Baptiste, which sits in the hills of La Gonâve in the community of Plaine Mapou. This church relationship has since grown and now includes a school, healthcare, clean water, goat projects, microfinance and more. What blessings!
The Rev. Brian McGreevy and the Rev. Andrew O'Dell
The priests in charge gave another special tribute and plaque in appreciation of Gerry, who answered his own call many years ago, and who under the guidance of the good Lord, along with Suzanne and their many sheep, tirelessly have worked over the years with their Haitian brothers and sisters to help them build and live a better life while helping them to help themselves.
Yes, it was a great night celebrating 25 years of Haitian Island mission and ministry. You could feel the love and appreciation all around. Through the trips and over the years, many of us have been blessed to see that there is a better life to be had, no matter where you start from or how desperate things may seem––if the right foundation is there, solid ground so to speak, and if we all just take the time to help each other and love one another. And as we grow in relationship, anything is possible––things can get better. It may be inch by inch, year by year, generation by generation, but if you experience it enough, you will see the change.
Special thanks again to all of our Friends of Haiti who joined us to celebrate and to those who could not attend but continue to support. And special recognition goes out to the HIM Celebration Event Committee, consisting of Gerry and Suzanne McCord, Miles and Neyse Barkley, Clarke Wallace, Carol and Sam Robinson, Justin Ray, and John and Ashkia Harman, all of whom worked hard to put on a great event.
Please keep our sister church, St. Jean Baptiste, and this ministry, Haitian Island Ministries, in your prayers and in your hearts. If we are to build on this 25-year foundation of success, we must continue to fund the present needs and provide for the future commitments of the partnership, and for the needs of the community on La Gonâve. We will continue to educate you and to ask for your support. Please consider how you can support this mission and keep it alive, in whatever manner that is appropriate for you.
Our 2020 Feast Day Mission dates are June 24 to June 29. Is God calling you?
Bondye bon! God is good! Merci!