Sharing God’s Love with the World
St. Thomas has a rich history of mission and outreach, coupled with a tradition of seeking opportunities for members of all ages to help others in need. In order to realize the mission potential of our parish, we strive to provide opportunities for both monetary and hands-on help at levels both large and small, with a balanced local, diocesan, national, and world focus. We recognize the importance of helping and serving others; when we reach out in service and love to others we strengthen our relationship to God.
Ascension Church, Beraud, Haiti
St. Thomas has a partnership with Ascension Church in Beraud, a rural town in southern Haiti.
For a number of years, we sent a small group of adults and older teens to lead a Vacation Bible Camp for the children of Ascension Church. The camp is held at the Business and Technology Institute, formerly the Bishop Tharp Institute, (BTI) in Les Cayes. The St. Thomas missioners partner with parishioners from two Episcopal Churches in Mississippi – All Saints in Grenada and Mediator in Meridian. We receive valuable leadership support from college students at BTI. In addition to traveling to Haiti, St. Thomas helped to build and provides annual support to Ascension School, located adjacent to Ascension Church, by paying tuition for the children, teacher salaries, and classroom supplies.
Summer 2019 Update
Political unrest has meant that we have been unable to travel to Haiti since 2017. In 2018 we were able to financially support a summer VBS program. In 2019, we were able to send both supplies and financial support. We’ve received the photos and videos below of the summer VBS program and have been asked to share them with the congregation.
History of the Haiti Mission
We first traveled to Haiti in 2011. The Rev. Stephen Edmondson and a small group of St. Thomas’ parishioners traveled to Haiti to explore forming a relationship with Ascension Church and BTI. Pere Kesner Ajax was our host for the trip. Pere Ajax directs the Partnership program for the Diocese of Haiti. He is also the Director of BTI, a four year college focusing on business and technology. Plus, he is the Rector of Ascension Church in Beraud. BTI is located in Les Cayes, the third largest city in Haiti. Beraud is a small village about 30 minutes outside of Les Cayes. A full description of our first trip can be found here, including our reflections on the experience. Our yearly trips to Haiti have provided wonderful opportunities for us to share in Jesus’ love and enjoy the community we have formed together.
Other International Missions & Outreach
In past years, St. Thomas parishioners have engaged in other international missions & outreach as well:
- Santiago, Dominican Republic – Several parisioshers joined another Northern Virginia Episcopal Church on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. They performed construction work and led Vacation Bible School.
- South Sudan – Parishioners have worked with the Episcopal Church in South Sudan to bring essential goods and services to the people there.