At the October quarterly meeting, members of Heart River Lutheran Church expressed a desire to join others in reaching out to help the people of Haiti. At the following church council meeting, initial plans were made to organize the Heart River "Haiti Christmas Project." This event will take place throughout the seasons of Advent and Christmas. From our position of security and affluence, we at Heart River Lutheran will seek to gather a gift to help ease suffering, aid recovery and promote healing for those who have been devastated by poverty, earthquake and disease.
The Haiti Christmas Project will include an upfront gift by the Heart River congregation followed by special Sunday morning collections during the 4 Sundays of Advent and the 2 Sundays of Christmas. Heart River members, Y.C.C. youth and staff and Sunday school students are all invited to participate. During the opening hymn of each Sunday during those 6 weeks, we will have a processional offering where people will be able to make a contribution. The gift will then be channeled through the ELCA or the Lutheran World Federation into one of their well-established aid projects in Haiti.
Haiti has the highest death rate in the world. 80% of its people live in terrible poverty. A quarter of a million people died in the January 12th earthquake, including Pastor Renee's husband, Ben. One and a half million people were left homeless in the wake of this disaster. A cholera epidemic is now spreading through the country. It has already claimed around 800 lives. It is estimated that at least 200,000 people will develop the disease within the next year. Resources for stopping… or even slowing the epidemic are hard to come by in Haiti. Hurricane Tomas hit Haiti earlier this month and caused more deaths and severe flooding and damage.
Heart River's "Haiti Christmas Project" presents an important opportunity for members to faithfully and compassionately respond to our neighbors' need in time of crisis."