National Spiritual Council of Haitian Churches (CONASPEH)
May 27, 2007
National Spiritual Council of Haitian Churches (CONASPEH)
May 27, 2007
Karen School of Nursing and Assistants
The school was founded November 19, 2006, as the activity center of the National Spiritual Council of Haitian Churches, #15 Octobre Blvd. Tabarre IV, Impasse Eden #1, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The school’s fundamental objective is to re-enforce or consolidate the work of the assemblies, to serve the communities where those responsible are not present and to carry hope where there is none.
It is directed by a team of licensed nurses under the supervision of the organization. The team finds solidarity with the sisters specializing in the subject based in Canada, the U.S., and Cuba.
The Karen School of Nurses and Assistants is named after Reverend Karen Yount, a Disciples of Christ pastor from Kansas City, who has worked extensively in Haiti; a courageous person who loves the Haitian people.
This school was started to serve the young people of the assemblies and the communities of the ten departments of the country. It was started for young people who, for the most part, have no financial resources to follow their university studies. Also, it is a living response of solidarity to the distant regions which are deprived of all resources in health matters. After their studies, the students serve their own communities.
This project costs about 50,000.00 gourdes per month which pays only for the professors, employees, and the director.
If it weren’t for Global Ministries, which we thank infinitely, this vision would not be seen today.
ANDREW THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Established in February 2003 by the legal recognition of the Minister of Culture under the direction of two Global Ministries missionaries, Carlos and Ruth Wallace, who have their master degree in theology. Today, this movement is the educational organ of the national churches. The seminary is equipped with more than 20,000 books donated by a church in Tampa, Florida. Haitian and foreign professors and a competent administrative team make up the staff.
Our assemblies suffer greatly in education and in the information field. The leaders have an extraordinary desire to serve their communities and the nation, but are deprived of the knowledge and the means to be able to accomplish these goals. The Andrew Theological Seminary was founded to resolve these great problems to the end that the assemblies can play an important role in Haitian society and contribute to the opportunities of the Haitian people.
There are more than 100 people per year who frequent the seminary, coming from every corner of the country: pastors, lay people, young people, and women. This seminary functions due to the solidarity of Global Ministries and the participation of the students. Cost is estimated at 75,000.00 gourdes per month to pay the professors, staff, and employees.
It functions in several groups:
From Monday – Thursday
Saturday – all day
One week per month – for those who come from long distances and don’t have anyone in the capital.
There is a certificate for those who have taken the 30 hour course; a continuing education diploma for those who have already gotten a diploma; then a license for those who pass the preceding steps.
The organization is facing numerous unforeseen issues: traffic accidents, illnesses which require rapid action, natural and political disasters, and cases of death. Many are pastors, members of churches who don’t have a salary to be able to handle normal economic activities and respond to their daily needs, let alone the unexpected. Every year there are dozens touched by such a situation. CONASPEH is obliged to find a solution to this problem, in spite of its weak financial means. In this vein, three such cases have been dealt with this year. A pastor, living in Kenscoff, had to have an emergency operation, without which could have caused his premature death.
The second case was that of a mason who had his foot broken in a car accident. He was accompanied by his three grievously injured sons.
The third was the funeral of the wife of a pastor, who died from tuberculosis. She courageously withstood this illness that did not give her the chance to return to a normal life. Usually, this type of case is due to malnutrition or transmission.
In its educational vision, CONASPEH put into place in September 2006, a network reuniting the schools which are found in member churches of the organization. Its purpose is to unify and consolidate these schools through the seminaries, and through the account distribution of the program of National Education. A chronogram of the activities will be distributed to the schools, then some school materials, benches, and desks, etc. Organization and construction of the physical space.
ECONOMIE: ESPWA LAKAY (House of Hope Cooperative)
This is a lending cooperative initiated 10 years ago by CONASPEH. This movement allows members of the church, especially women, to run economic activities; products of basic needs, in borrowing 1,500 – 15,000 gourdes from ESPWA Lakay. Priority is given to people living in the distant provinces and zones of the country.
Fifty families per year have been touched by this project.
The criteria are based on the confirmation of the woman as a member of a church, identified and supported by the pastor. She signs as a member of the movement by giving 100 gourdes, then makes her request in a presentation of her small project. She will be visited before she receives the money, which she will then receive monthly for a period of 10 months.
She will have the chance to increase her loan if she respects the conditions imposed by the institution and if she makes progress with her project.
People of the middle class can only survive with such projects: agriculture, raising animals, etc.
EDUCATION: STUDY GRANTS AND SPONSORSHIP
For the past 10 years CONASPEH has sponsored the studies of several students in different fields: classic, professional, and university. They come from the churches of poor parents in the provincial cities and the capital.
A study grant encourages the parents, and the young people themselves, to resist participation in dishonest and violent activities.
Education has an important place in our society. It is the active, peaceful weapon of a person living in such an unjust and unsettled atmosphere as the one in Haiti.
The world is in search of knowledge and understanding. It gives strength where it is found. Knowledge has no color nor race; it is the universal language.
True solidarity gives life. The example is given by the churches of Massachusetts, Cleveland, and the Greater Kansas City area, which safeguards the lives of 141 children in Haiti. These children receive $25 per month as study grants.
This program was put into effect for pastors and their families. One hundred gourdes per month will give them the right to 25% or more of the total they would have to pay in cases of accident, operations, fire, etc.
We believe this first step could give them hope at a critical moment. Because several of these cases have already been revealed and people don’t know to whom they can call for help. Many have been abandoned by their own parents and congregations.
Therefore, such a project facilitates the task of the organization which, in many cases, has not had the means to respond to such frustrating and shameful problems. The pastors, who are not paid, serving the communities all their lives, are at least given this gesture of solidarity.
National Spiritual Council of Haitian Churches (CONASPEH)
Founded on May 8, 1986, this organization of churches, associations, and protestant missions is engaged in confronting the problems in Haiti, from which congregations are not exempt.
We will not cease fighting against social, economic, political, and religious problems. To consolidate the ministries of the national leaders, represent them, publicize their work on a national level, as well as an international level, contribute to the formation of churches, facilitate dialogue and respect among them, and promote unity and equality among the social classes and institutions.
It is directed by a national committee of departmental coordinators and coordinators representing the communes.
The National Committee is made up of Reverend Patrick Villier, President; Francoise St. Vil Villier, General Secretary; Mario Depestre, Counselor & Director of Health Projects; Guy Romeus, Public Relations; Raymond Duracin, General Coordinator; Sister Bathelemy, Counselor; and Rodrique Pascal, Public Relations.
We also do this for education, which we consider an urgent priority in our society, particularly in our assemblies.
It is the means by which one can live in peace and justice and where one can know real development and the integration of the poorest. CONASPEH is joined by several organizations and churches from overseas: Global Ministries (a common witness of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ), Church World Service, World Council of Churches, the Wisconsin Conference, the Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ, the Pentecostal Churches of Venezuela, the University of Costa Rica, the University of Cuba, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Kansas City, Tampa, Florida, the World Council of Handicapped People.
Thanks to these contributors and partners, CONASPEH has been able to set up and maintain these projects and activities.
The Real CONASPEH
Today we are 5,000 congregations across the country, more than 3,000 primary, secondary, and professional schools.
Our congregations are, for the most part, made up of poor people and peasants, mostly women and young people. In spite of their limited means, they help orphans, welcoming them and feeding them daily. Certain ones find help from our American, Canadian, and French brothers and sisters, as well as from their own national efforts.
CONASPEH has been recognized by the State of Haiti for the past 10 years and it participates in numerous state activities: Alphabetization (teaching reading and writing); the Mixed Commission and the State Church, etc.
St. Andrew School
This is a classic school of the highest ranking. It has five program options: kindergarten, preschool, primary, secondary, and professional. This school was founded on October 12, 1999, and has approximately 600 students. It is the most expensive of CONASPEH’s projects. The professional section has: computer science, plumbing, electricity, fashion, and refrigeration. The students come from almost everywhere. The school is composed of girls and boys from 3 to 20 years of age. Of the 600 students, 150 are scholarship students. They are financed by the First Church of Long Meadow, Massachusetts, (Global Ministries).
This school has 40 very good teachers, a staff of 7 and 3 volunteers.
The children of St. Andrew’s school not only receive the educative program of the Ministry of National Education, but also, contribute to their spiritual, moral, cultural, and intellectual development; theater, dance, cinema, etc.
A library of 10,000 books enriches their knowledge. A modern school in their old world.
The Bethany Guest House
At the center of activities of CONASPEH will soon be an apartment for our sisters and brothers of the U.S. and Canada, etc. This space includes three big bedrooms, dining room, three baths, kitchen, terrace, and a small balcony.
Our visitors and seminary students who come from far away won’t have to worry because Bethany, a place of rest, will welcome them with joy.
The guest will be met by a mixed team – foreigners and Haitians – with the goal of meeting all of their needs.
We are also planning to resolve the problem of transportation to CONASPEH by providing the guest with one or two buses which will travel to St. Andrew’s School, the guest house, and St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary.
This is the most solid and certain partner that we have with CONASPEH. This organization, a common witness of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the United Church of Christ. Reverend Patrick Villier is a member of Common Global Ministries Board of Global Ministries. They are united in the foreign mission. It is a Christian mission, which has an extraordinary vision and spirituality. Since the foundation of CONASPEH, it has continued to give its support in every manner: spiritual, physical, moral, and financial.
It always responds to the problems of the churches, in good times and bad.
CONASPEH has started to make friends, thanks to these marvelous institutions. May the Lord, in His infinite love, protect them and shower them with all His blessings.
What has already been done
CONASPEH set up its first office in Port-au-Prince, thanks to a donation from the First United Church of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a member of Global Ministries. Since then, Global Ministries and the churches of Greater Kansas City and Tennessee have continued to invest in this building.
CONASPEH heard the cries of brothers and sisters after cyclone Gordon and was able to construct 15 apartments, providing lodging for over 109 people. It has also gotten involved in Jacmel, where 7 small homes have been built, then at Fond-Verrette, where 240 people were helped. At Gonaives, 120 families were able to regain their basic support which had been lost during the disaster. At Catherine, more than 300 were provided some assistance through our cooperative program. The financial support for the various fields of study for 500 young people covers university, classic, or professional studies. Some pastors have been helped in situations of all sorts – disasters, political situations, and traffic accidents.
Homes, schools, and churches have been built around the country.
Mediators have been provided to settle conflicts among churches, pastors, and families. Some seminars have been given on topics of morals, ethics, professional, medical, and classics.
Food, clothing, medicines, school supplies, and brochures have been distributed.
Seeds and agricultural materials have been provided, as well as assistance with animal reproductive centers, pork, goats, etc. in more than 18 regions of the country. The project, “Mange pou Apran’n” (Food for Learning) feeds 180 kids at the St. Andrew School. This project has been financed by One Great Hour of Sharing and, for two years, by the Christian Church Bread for Life, Kansas City.
Our Religious Activities
We organize a gathering every two years where all the coordinators of the country participate. This meeting allows the organization to do training to motivate and publicize its strategies and plans to the churches.
Also, each group organizes its own monthly meeting. The departmental meetings are held annually under the control of the National Committee and the department in question.
CONASPEH is the head of organization of the managerial staff of the churches. It gives them a legal and civil blanket. We are the institution through which the State of Haiti can meet the churches to execute its plans.
At CONASPEH one finds the archives of church activities. It is the reference of the national leaders and the churches.
National Archive of Churches
Copies of marriage licenses, birth certificates, and records of funerals of church members are stored at the head office of the organization.
These documents are organized by department and in alphabetical order. Therefore, it is easy to locate a member pastor through the workings of CONASPEH.
Last year, CONASPEH distributed phones to 10 departments, more precisely to the coordinators, so that communication could be quick and certain between coordinators and the central office.
CONASPEH signs 1000 marriage certificates per year and 2000 death certificates and presentations to the church; 300 new pastors have become members, and 250 have been ordained.
An organization of young people has been started – AJESUCO. The members come from member churches of CONASPEH and are focused on the main objective of the intellectual and social flowering of youth.
This association also promotes handicrafts. Young people who create handicrafts as a profession, as artists, can receive loans from CONASPEH to be able to put their work into national and international markets.
Already, they are identified by their pastors, who send them, not only to become members of the movement, but to participate in the craft projects. This movement will soon be presented at an exposition of Christian artists of AJESUCO.
It is a long-term movement at CONASPEH where women are the founders of the cooperative movement. They come from all the churches of CONASPEH where some are students of Andrew Theological Seminary and some are actually pastors of assemblies.
The women of CONASPEH, a living testament of the power of God, are showing our churches and our society that God excludes no one. They contribute enormously to the development of the vision of CONASPEH and contribute to the transformation of pastors who regard them with respect and recognize their ministries. They are the engines in society and the churches.
CONASPEH – Offices and Transportation (Perspective)
CONASPEH has set up activity centers in Artibonite and Jacmel. Each center will be like the one in Port-au-Prince and will develop the same activities; cooperative, classic school, medical clinic, meeting auditorium, theology, and a nursing and auxiliary school. Our goal is to touch all 10 geographical departments of the country.
Also, a cooperative movement has been developed for the purpose of providing each department with a transport bus. This bus will be entrusted to the coordinator who will facilitate the church’s activities when the bus needs to be used. Each coordinator will receive a list of the assemblies that are participating. The National Committee will decide the priority of the zones by the number signed up.
Transportation remains one of the major deficiencies of the Haitian population.
BUDGET – 2006
Salary: Nursing School 120,000.00 or $16,326.00
Theology 84,000.00 or $11,428.00
St. Andrew School 280,000.00 or $38,095.00
Materials: Theology, St. Andrew School, Nursing
10,000.00 + 3,000.00 + 1,500.00 14,500.00 or $ 1,972.00
Various: Gas, generating services, car expenses, paint, etc.
4,576.00 + 3,000.00 + 3,307.00 + 2,200.00 13,083.00 or $ 1,780.00
Projects: Cooperative 25,000.00 or $ 3,401.00
Emergency: 10,000.00 or $ 1,360.00
Study Scholarships: 57,330.00 or $ 7,800.00
Artists: 11,700.00 or $ 1,500.00
Food for Learning: 53,650.00 or $ 7,250.00
Total: 601,933.00 or $128,515.00