An open window in an empty room, where San Gabriel Church in Consuela dreams of having a vocational school.
I am accustomed to discovering and casting vision and yet I was humbled in travelling around the Diocese of the Dominican Republic yesterday. At every turn there was another pastor caring for two or three churches and a school or two. Yet, none were anywhere close to being satisfied with the present level of service to their communities, much less present attendance in worship.
We could see vision that had reached fruition in former classroom space no longer needed since a new larger school had been built nearby, so it was turned into a medical rehabilitation ward attached to their medical clinic. Then at Buen Pastor we saw how a group of Churches in Tampa, Florida had come back year after year to help build and furnish the church, surrounded by the school expanding downward into preschool and hoping to get into day care for even younger kids. At both Santa Cruz Church in Santa Fe and San Gabriel Church in Consuelo, the congregations dream of creating vocational schools to add to their ministry. By adding short-term programs, they hope to help get unemployed people in their towns back in the work force, or even better, newly there after school so that they can save money to go to a university.
One disappointment was that the only road into a growing Haitian community was closed by road work and so we could not see for ourselves the need. But we could read on their pastor's heart his concerns for expanding capacity in a poor sugar cane growing area for the Haitians there.
This brief report doesn't begin to scratch the surface of the amazing vision that Dominicans have for what The Episcopal Church can do for the communities it serves. I am humbled by their quiet confidence that God will provide a way forward.
A medical rehabilitation area at San Esteban Church in San Pedro, using what was three former school classrooms, connected through knocking doorways in the concrete walls.
Labels: The Dominican Republic