Completed any miracles lately?

On All Saints Sunday, Jesus is clearly asking us to finish the miracle he began in bringing Lazarus back from death.

So the question I have for each of us is this:

Completed any miracles lately?

The video of my sermon at St. Matthew’s, Sterling, Va., is below.


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Telling tales, sharing strength

From Port au Prince:

Today, seven weeks after the earthquake, the clergy of the Diocese came together to tell stories and draw strength from each other. There was laughter, there was drama, there were prayers and stories and singing. It is amazing to listen to and watch these dedicated clergy work so hard, even as so many, including Bishop Duracin, still live in tents, still struggle with their own difficulties.

Ever since I began serving in Haiti, I have been filled with awe at the miracles the Church does in God’s name here, where truly the Scriptures are fulfilled in your hearing. Post-quake, the miracles only grow larger, for through sheer determination, the hungry are fed, the thirsty are given water, the sick are cured. Daily, against all odds, people in real need are helped, because the people of the Church REFUSE to give up. They say, over and over again, that God has saved them for a purpose, and that purpose is to delight in God’s will and walk in God’s ways to the glory of God’s name.

Already, plans are being made for how to go forward from this point. Engineers are surveying our sites to determine the safety of each. Community development workers are assessing each community to determine the needs. Priests and lay leaders are making plans to continue educating and caring for our children. I know to some outside Haiti, it seems that relief and recovery efforts are going slowly, but in reality, there is a determination: First, we feed and care for the people. Then we build again, in the best, and safest manner.

Bishop Duracin keeps saying: We have been baptized into new life, and in this new life, we will make things better. After listening to our clergy today, it is clear that the Church is leading the way to this new creation.

It is still frustrating, trying to get things done. It is still hard to get the supplies, to move those supplies to the right people in the right places at the right times. Some days, the traffic alone is enough to drive you crazy. But then something wonderful will happen and the frustrations fall away, forgotten if only for the moment, and that moment gives you the strength to move on.

For me, that happened when I was reunited with yet another friend. Frantzy, my artist friend, called this morning. Could he come see me? Alas, I was already at the office. But later, I told him. I had already had a joyful reunion with his brother, Tony. But I hadn’t seen Feantzy yet vi called him back in the afternoon: Could he come pick me up at the office on his motorcycle? When he pulled up an hour later, he jumped off the bike and we twirled around in the street, hugging and laughing and crying. A tap-tap driver who was parking nearby leaned out his window: Hey! What’s going on? (Apparently, it is not the norm for a white woman in clericals to hug and kiss a young black Haitian on the street. Who knew? Or cared?) We told h: We haven’t seen each other since the quake. Ah, the tap-tap driver said knowingly. Now it made sense.

Frantzy took me to a local sandwich shop, where I bought us sandwiches and drinks. As we drove (OK, as we wove through traffic rapidly), he brought me up-to-date on his family. He, his wife and their three children – ages 10, 3 and 8 months – were living on the street. No, they didn’t have a tent, just some plastic sheeting. Their home was too damaged to live in. When we parted half an hour later, Frntzy took with him sheets, a new sleeping pad and a new, small tent. I had brought the supplies for myself but found I didn’t need them, for my apartment is safe. Now a family in need, friends of mine, have a shelter. It’s small, but it will be home for a while.

The tent and pad and sheets ate not really from me. They are from those who have given me money to help in ministry here. So many have given so much, with instructions to help those in need. Today, those who gave helped that family in need. I simply was blessed to be the instrument of the giving.

Frantzy, from whom I commissioned eight pieces of art in December, also took with him three Duduza dolls, knitted dolls made by women at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., with notes made by third-graders at Sherwood Forest Elementary School there, in Mrs. Kelly Ballard’s class. The women made the dolls and gave them for the children in Haiti. The children made a heart-shaped message of love for each doll, all 180+ of them. Frantzy’s children, who have lost so much, will, I hope, find some comfort in the beautiful expressions of love.

From prayers to laughter to hymns to raucous reunions and small knitted dolls, we draw the strength we need to go on each day in these days that truly try a person’s soul. Overall, it seems that life is impossible here. But ask any Haitian and she or he will tell you: Nothing is impossible with God.

From my porch perch in Petion Ville, sitting in the dark and typing on my iPhone, I bid you God’s peace and my peace, God’s love and my love, and ask your continued prayers for God’s beloved children here and around the world.


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Coming home to a miracle

Dear Friends:

Today, I have come home to a miracle. Bishop’s driver picked me up and brought me straight to St. James the Just in Petion Ville, where you see damage in one spot and absolutely no damage in others.

In Place Ste. Pierre, across from my church and home, there are hundreds of tents with thousands of people living there.

At the church, we pounded on the gate and suddenly, at the other end of the corridor stood my friend, my tutor, Michelet Pierre. As his huge grin split his face, a huge grin split mine and my heart surged with joy while my eyes began to fill with tears. I had been told at the beginning of the month, on my visit with the Presiding Bishop, that Michelet was alive and well. But to lay eyes on him and wrap my arms around him was astounding. In the midst of this tragedy, I have found joy.

Then he took me upstairs to the third floor, where my apartment is. And lo and behold, it is fine! Things fell during the quake, but Michelet has been caring for it, even putting the art back on the walls. Both he and bishop assure me it is as safe to be here as it is anywhere, so I shall sleep here, they say. I will keep the tent, just in case, but so far, so good.

I have found all my belongings, and I must say, I am astonished and overjoyed. I had thought that perhaps all or at least part was gone, damaged, lost … but no. I am in awe.

And then there is the absolute joy of the walking down the street on which I live, where so many of my missing friends work. At the Kinam, Raul Charles, the head waiter whose two children I sponsor At the music school here at St. James, erupts with joy at seeing me. James, another waiter, is there as well. The guard recognizes me and welcomes me home.

I walk a little farther and find Anil, an art vendor, and Hercule, another vendor. They are at their corner, busy selling art to all the aid workers. We hug and dance with joy. Their families are all fine. I turn the corner again and there is Sadwa and Enil, and Enil (the other). We practically leap into each other’s arms. All are well. Some of their homes have been damaged or destroyed, but injuries are minor.

Where, I ask, are Tony and Frantzy Fleresca, my brothers who take such good care of me? Frantzi, I am told, is now driving a motorcycle for people. Tony is out on his. No one knows if he will be back today. Ernest, I ask? (He is a sweet and gentle old man, Anil’s father, who sells stone carvings but never pushes. I buy from him to make sure he has food to eat, and give him medicine for his arthritis.) He is OK, but no longer working.

The message is the same from so many: we are OK. We have been praying for you, trying to reach you. Our homes are damaged, but we are doing OK. We will rebuild. Haiti will rebuild.

The Christian Brothers School is now a clinic for Doctors Without Borders. There are many, many “blan” here, and they come out on the street to buy snacks, drinks, art. I meet two nurses outside the school and we begin to chat. Suddenly, I am grabbed from behind and nearly lifted off my feet. It is Tony! He was driving by when Anil spotted him, flagged him down, told him I was home, and ran up the street to bring Tony to me.

We dance and hug and cry, asking over and over, “Are you well? How is your family? I have been trying to call you, to text you, but could not get through.”

The two American women watch with joy on their faces. I explain that I was in the US during the quake, that I have been working there, that this is the first time we have been able to see each other. They laugh with delight, and leave us to visit.

For nearly seven weeks, I have been praying for this moment, fearing that it might not happen. Those I feared were lost have been found. Not all of them, no yet.

But slowly, one person at a time, I am finding joy in Haiti.

I know so many have been lost, so many are hurt. I k ow that not all my friends survived.

But some of the flock, some of my people, they are here and we have touched and hugged and laughed and wept with relief, and for that I give great thanks to God.

I will take pictures and write more. I will laugh more and, I know, cry more.

But I will never forget the miracle of my homecoming today.

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti, for this beloved land where there is so much to be done, where the need is so great. Please continue to tell our story, to share from the beauty and bounty of your hearts. And tonight, please give thanks for the small miracles I have been part of today.

Blessings and peace,


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