Making Our Mark
- The Rev. Bob Dannals
- Jun 15, 2017
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On the island of Hispanola near the Haitian border, a team of professors and physicians waited in a grass hut by an airstrip for their plane to be prepared for a flight to Miami. As the passengers were boarding, a poor peasant woman approached one of the physicians with a bag in her hand and an awkward smile on her face. Without a word she thrust the bag into his hands.
As the physician opened the bag and pushed the tissue paper back, he discovered to his horror that there in the bottom of the bag was a baby. Its stomach was bloated, its arms hung limp, and its black hair had become yellowish color -- all signs of severe malnutrition. "Please sir," she said in broken English, "take my baby! He will die here; maybe he might live if you take him."
A thousand ethical, psycho-social and geo-political questions raced through our heads. The bottom line: we couldn't rescue the baby who was sure to die.
How does the gospel of Jesus Christ relate to that mother and baby on the dirt airstrip in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? What responsibilities do we have for children like this?
Many years ago, Holy Innocents' Church and School began to address these questions with ministries to the "holy Innocents'" of our day, including outreach to an important school in Matthieu, Haiti. And to this day we continue to reach out in the name of the compassionate Christ to the least, the lost, and the last children of our society.
Most recently, our parish has taken up ministries to children in this county who die without families. We are engaged in foster care, school enrichment programs, and summer camps for low-income children. The tried and true ministries of Community Assistance Center and the various ministries of the diocese continue to get our attention regarding volunteers and financial support. The Missional Core -- the outreach leadership team -- continues to meet regularly on various Monday evenings, and they seek greater participation from members of our congregation.
For several years, our parish was encouraged to make generous donations to outreach at Christmas and Easter. Those donations were allocated here and there and some of the funds were escrowed for the dreaming and planning of a large, sustainable community outreach project. While that did not come to fruition, what is now available is a sizable fund to be allocated in the coming months. Thanks to the Missional Core, they are forming a small "planning and allocations" process to make recommendations to the Vestry for the dispersement of these funds. This process will be complete during the fall, 2017. We look forward to the exciting allocations that will happen in the months ahead.
In the meantime, vulnerable children do not go away during the summer, nor do their needs. Should you have extra time, energy and resources available during these summer months, consider participation in one of the many ways this parish reaches out to the "holy Innocents'" of our day.
Note: By the way, the Ventulett Gallery continues to supply a consistent stream of outreach revenue by the selling of artists' work. At a recent meeting with the Gallery Committee, the decision was made that for the foreseeable future, the outreach portion of their proceeds will go evenly between the school at Matthieu, Episcopal Relief and Development, and the Community Assistance Center (CAC). Visit the Gallery and consider making a purchase.