The Ruminations of an Episcopal Cleric

Friday, June 13, 2014

Usually on our mission trips, Fridays are light with the afternoon off so that the team could relax or to buy gifts for their family and friends before returning home. However, this was not be the case. It would be a fun day for the children at the Anglican School in light of what we had in store for them. The construction team also knew they needed to complete their work at the School and the Child Care Center. Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, June 12, 2014

DSC05195 (2) (1024x768)We began the day, as usual, at 6:30 a.m. with worshiping God, giving thanks to Him for His wonderful blessings of the past day and looking forward to His guidance and strength for yet another day of hard but rewarding work.

The team journeyed to the Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center to present two computers to the Director, Mrs. Hortence Kelly-Augustin, and to meet Dorothy Menzies herself. We had received a call the previous day that she wanted to meet us. Mrs. Menzies is also the Chair of the Board of the Child Care Center. It was a pleasure meeting her and she expressed her appreciation and thanks for all that we were doing for the Center and the gifts we had presented the previous day and for the computers. Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DSC05013 (2) (800x600)Today, we celebrated the Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle and Martyr, during the Eucharist in the courtyard of the DSC05020 (2) (800x600)hotel. Barnabas (Son of Encouragement) and Paul were companions on several missionary trips until a dispute ensued between the two of them as to whether John Mark should come with them. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark, but Paul did not, as he had left them on the former journey (Acts 15:37-38). The result was that Paul took Silas as his companion to Syria and Cilicia, and Barnabas took John Mark to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-41).
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DSC04953 (2) (800x600)DSC04951 (2) (800x600)Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The day started with the Eucharist at 6:30 a.m. Father Jon Robbins was the celebrant while I gave a reflection to the team. Sonia Blake read the first lesson while Linda Schlepp-Gray and Rose Skeete led the psalm and the Prayers of the People respectively.

Immediately following breakfast we were off to the Anglican School at Queen’s Square for morning assembly with the teachers and children. We have a wonderful, reliable bus driver named Thomas Card, who owns a bus company in Belize City. He is personally taking the team to their various locations.
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DSC04890 (800x600)Today, Monday, June 9, was our first day of missionary work.  The Eucharist took place outside ofDSC04882 (2) (800x600) the hotel under a small pavilion. It is a beautiful setting in the center of the hotel campus. The hotel staff at Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza has been extremely gracious and hospitable to us. They provided a table as an altar and chairs under a pavilion. Being among God’s creation is truly a breath-taking experience to worship and pray. I celebrated the Mass while Father Robbins read the gospel and preached. Philip McKay read the first lesson, while Rosel Facey and Rose Skeete led the psalm and the prayers of the people respectively.
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St. John's Cathedral, Belize CityWith a wake call at 6:00 a.m., our day started with preparation for Mass at St. John’s Cathedral, the oldest church in Central America. Before leaving the hotel, we had a wonderful breakfast in the bar area of the hotel. The Rev. Lynda Moguel, presided at the Eucharist, which began at 8:30 a.m.
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DSC04720 (2) (800x401)As I arrived at Holy Sacrament Episcopal Church, Pembroke Pines, Florida, just after 6:00 a.m., I was a profound moment to see the missionaries gathered in their beautiful yellow polo shirts and black slacks for their inaugural mission trip to Belize. The team included six (6) missionaries from St. Paul’s Church, Vero Beach, Florida, and a few missionaries from other churches and religions. A number of members of the parish along with family members and friends were at the church to send us off. Praying for the team was Archdeacon Bryan Hobbs, former Rector of Holy Sacrament and the brainchild of the mission trips, which started over 25 years. Read the rest of this entry »

Holy Sacrament Episcopal Church, and our mission organization, Friends Reaching Friends, are preparing for its inaugural mission trip to Belize City, Belize, Central America, from June 7-14, 2014. For over 25 years, we have been committed to helping people, particularly children, internationally and locally. Having served as missionaries in Haiti, Panama, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic (the past 15 years in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic), the desire to be involved in Belize Map mission work in Belize grew out of our belief that God is calling us to serve in another part of His vineyard.

At the invitation of the Right Reverend Philip Wright, Bishop of the Anglican (Episcopal) Diocese of Belize, two members of our Church, Dr. Patricia Rowe-King, Philip McKay (a Belizean), and I made an exploratory trip to Belize from October 18-21, 2013. The purpose of the trip was to explore how we could engage in mission and ministry there. Accompanied by Bishop Wright, a contemporary of mine in seminary at Codrington College, Barbados, and Sue Harris, Coordinator of the Companion Relations Committee, we visited the following places: the Anglican School at Queen’s Square, Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center, the Diocesan Center and St. John’s Cathedral, at which I preached on Sunday, October 20, 2013, the Belize Inspiration Center, founded by the First Lady of Belize, Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, wife of Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, and the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), the main hospital in the country.

We are partnering with the Diocese of Belize and will be sharing with the Belizean community in:
- Pediatric Health Care
– Construction
– Vacation Bible School (VBS)
– Workshops/Seminars on health and spirituality (This component is a new addition to the work of the team).

Led by our Team Leader, Erna Rappaport, thirty-eight (38) missionaries are preparing to leave for Belize in another 3-and-a-half weeks. Although the missionaries are mainly members of Holy Sacrament, there are a number of friends who are members of other churches and religions. Preparations and orientation sessions have been going well, and the Diocese of Belize is looking forward to our visit.???????????????????????????????

We will be working primarily at the Anglican School at Queen’s Square, one of the 24 schools of the Diocese. This school has just over 700 children, ranging from ages 5 to 14 years, and a staff of over 30 teachers.

DSC04368acThe second place we will focus our missionary year this year is at the Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center (DMCCC)a residential childcare facility which houses abused, neglected, and dependent children, both boys and girls, between the ages of 3 years and 18 years of age. The Centre has an average of 50 children, although this number can fluctuate. The Mission Team will engage in the four components of ministry as outlined above in both of these places.

Your thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated as we engage in God’s work in another place. I will be posting blogs on the mission each day so that our families, friends, and church members will be kept up-to-date as to what we are doing while on the mission trip.

DR Mission – Day 8

It’s Saturday, and once again it is homeward bound from the Dominican Republic to South Florida. Before leaving the hotel, Father Vicente took me to bless the newborn son of Davis and Judith Santana. It was wonderful to see her again and to see their new baby.
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???????????????????????????????A knock at the door at 6:00 a.m. by our Team Leader, Karen Eddy, was the indicator that we were once again to prepare ourselves for going out into the mission field. With the customary??????????????????????????????? Eucharist in the morning, we were blessed by the beautiful playing of the saxophone by Hashan Bhim. At the conclusion of the Mass, we journeyed to another part of the Bonao area named Boca de Yuboa to engage in a half-day mission. Dr. Pat Rowe-King treated 55 children, concluding just after 2:00 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »


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