MISSION Serving Beyond the Local Community
Mission with Jamaica - See Geoff Forester's Jamaica Mission Video
Mission with Jamaica unites St. Paul’s parishioners with citizens of Chantilly, Jamaica. Our purpose is to promote the education of the children of Chantilly and to improve the health of the citizens of Chantilly, especially the children and elderly.
This relationship is based on mutual respect, shared goals and the desire to encourage and challenge each other to fulfill our mission. St. Paul’s has the talent and resources to give to this small community and we benefit from the wisdom and spiritual devotion of the people of Chantilly.
This is a mission that provides real results, opportunities for learning, and spiritual growth. There has been a mission trip nearly every year since the partnership began, with St. Paul’s youth and adults providing basic health and dental care, education, friendship, fellowship and practical assistance to the people of Chantilly. Through these trips, St. Paul’s youth gain leadership skills and confidence; Chantilly youth experience growth, hope and an understanding of a bigger world.
Some practical projects St. Paul’s has helped with are: building a playground and soccer field, painting the interior of St. Stephen’s Church, and building new bathrooms for the primary school.
St. Paul’s parishioners and friends help fund and staff mission trips and sponsor preschool children’s tuition, uniforms and lunches. They have also provided medicines, glasses, and school supplies. Local physicians, nurses, dental hygienists, PA’s and educators donate talent and time. Chantilly citizens carry on community work and continue to teach and enrich us.
Children ages 3, 4 and 5 attend the preschool in Chantilly. Parents are required to buy the child’s uniform and pay some of the tuition. This small requirement is difficult. Most have no income, no electricity and live off the land. Teachers work for low pay and often work for no pay when the money runs out. Through St. Paul’s sponsorships, tuition and lunch have been provided to every child, every year, since our mission began in 1996.
In July 2011, a group of St. Paul's youth and leaders traveled to Jamaica to provide a week-long Vacation Bible School for the children of Chantilly. CLick here for a letter from one of the adult leaders, describing the experience.
For more information, send an email to Ministry at St. Paul's with "Jamaica" in the subject line.
Mission with Haiti
Immediately following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, St. Paul's began to lay the groundwork for a long-term commitment to helping the country rebuild. As the images of devastation and suffering flooded the media, we turned to a news source closer to hand. Just a few weeks after the earthquake, we welcomed Sister Sarah Randall, SSM to the parish. The Sisters of St. Margaret, an Episcopal women¹s religious order, has been working in Haiti for decades, helping to build and operate vital educational, medical and orphanage facilities. Their convent in Port-au-Prince was destroyed in the earthquake, as were many of their other facilities around the country. Sister Sarah spoke eloquently during the Sunday services, providing a first hand impression of the work the Sisters had accomplished in Haiti and the challenges faced by her Order and the people of Haiti in a recovery that will take decades. St. Paul's responded immediately and generously with a monetary gift to the Sister of St. Margaret to assist their work in the near-term.
Shortly thereafter, parishioner and physical therapist Donna Lannon traveled to Haiti as a member of a "Helping Hand in Haiti" medical team. She returned to us with photographs and stories of her experiences. Because of the extent of the ongoing humanitarian and security issues in the country, it is still too early for parishioners to travel to Haiti unless they possess specialized skills needed in the relief effort. Until we can send more parishioners to help directly, we continue to find ways to assist the country and its people.
For example, we spearheaded a project to provide musical instruments and funding to the Holy Trinity Music School. A beacon of pride and hope known and treasured throughout Haiti, the music school was completely destroyed in the collapse of the Episcopal Cathedral complex in Port-au-Prince. Yet, even in the midst of these worst of times, survivors in ensembles from the school toured the camps for the displaced, performing frequently in support of the nation's healing and recovery.
We are currently running a "Buy-a-Brick" campaign, selling "bricks" for $10 each to help rebuild the Cathedral in Port-au-Prince. If you would like to buy a brick -- or find out more about this project, please send an email to Ministry at St. Paul's with "Haiti" in the subject line.