Church Histories Project
By Julius Ariail
Posted June 27, 2015

Emily Gibson with Padre Nephtaly Dêsir at Iglesia Episcopal San Pablo Apóstol in Jimani. In her left hand, Emily is holding the completed history form for San Pablo Apóstol that Padre Nephtaly had just given her. In her right hand is her iPhone that she often uses to record interviews with clergy and lay leaders. In the background are DDG Executive Director Bill Kunkle, Missionary Karen Carroll, and other members of the DDG-sponsored exploration trip in April, 2015.

For the past several months, Emily Gibson, a longterm volunteer in the Mission Team Support Office of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, has been working to compile histories of the Episcopal churches in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Development Group is sponsoring this project as a way to record the vibrant history of the growth of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, and to assist incoming missioners in becoming more familiar with a particular church and congregation where they will be working. The Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguín, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, has endorsed the project and has been assisting Emily in making contacts with individuals who would be able to help with the history of a certain location.

Emily Gibson discussing local church history with lay leaders of Iglesia Episcopal Jesús Peregrino in Barahona.

Emily, a recent graduate of Clemson University, is fluent in Spanish and has travelled widely throughout the Dominican Republic as she works on this project. She is based in the diocesan office in Santo Domingo and lives at the nearby Episcopal seminary along with Missionaries Karen Carroll and Charlie Nakash. Emily helps out in the Mission Team Support Office, greeting incoming mission teams at the Las Americas airport and often accompanying them during their trip as a translator and general facilitator. She has distributed a form with basic questions about a church’s history and programs to Dominican Episcopal clergy and lay leaders, and has also will be conducting interviews with diocesan leaders, including the Rt. Rev. Telésforo Isaac, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic.

She said this about the project: “I enjoy working on this project because of the opportunities it gives me to get to know many of the different church communities around the country. There are many needs here and I like being able to make these needs more public. There are many small things people can do to help out their brothers and sisters in the Dominican Republic that they may not know about, and I hope to bring these things to light. I also enjoy this project because it doesn’t solely focus on needs, it will also hopefully teach people a little bit about parts of the country and the diverse ways that God is working here.”

Once the history of a particular church is written, specific location information from the DDG-sponsored project to obtain precise GPS coordinates for all of the churches, schools, and other institutions is added along with one or more photographs of the church.

Her first completed history is about Iglesia Episcopal San Tito in Boca de Cachón. The full text is available at the link below:

As soon as additional histories are completed, they will be available in the “Church Histories” section on the Publications page of the DDG’s website, here: