Annual Report of the Companion Diocese Committee for 2015
Diocese of Southwest Florida
Posted September 11, 2015
The Companion Diocese programs for the Diocese of Southwest Florida had yet another busy year in 2015. The leaders of the various mission programs who make up the Companion Diocese Committee meet once a month from September through May at DaySpring.
The many mission programs within the Diocese of Southwest Florida have continued to effect real change in our companion diocese of the Dominican Republic. More than 100 missionaries participated on various teams and thousands supported from across our Diocese. Here are a few of the highlights of the relational programs administered through our companion programs.
The Tampa Deanery sent three teams with 51 missionaries who returned to Santa Fe for the 4th consecutive year to complete work on the Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) church, power wash and paint the vicarage, and work on the new Santa Cruz Vocational School being built by the Dominican Episcopal Church.
Additionally for the first time the Tampa Deanery team hosted a VBS for 150 students from the Santa Cruz and nearly San Pedro Apóstol primary schools.
The Clearwater Deanery sent one team with 12 missionaries to build a new kitchen and cafeteria at Jesús Peregrino School in Barahona. The team also worked at the neighboring La Redención primary school repainting the common areas and classrooms.
The Venice project was to build a new kitchen and modify the parish hall to become the cafeteria at the Todos Los Santos School in La Romana. The Venice Deanery supplied financial resources and was joined by St. John’s Episcopal Church in Clearwater who sent a team of 6 missionaries to work with local workers and volunteers from the community. The team also repainted the sanctuary of the church.
The Naples Deanery has continued to support the Buen Samaritano children’s shelter, providing lifesaving help to many children in Santiago.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Naples
St. John’s Episcopal Church (Naples) has continued to support the construction of the Iglesia Espíritu Consolador church in Dajabon. They also provided much needed surgery for Louis Alfredo Blanco, a child with severely crossed eyes. The surgery went well and Luis is recovering well.
Church of the Redeemer (Sarasota)
The Church of the Redeemer (Sarasota) sent a 27-person team in June to Puerto Plata. They made much needed repairs to the Nido de Amor preschool and Iglesia Cristo Rey. They also held a VBS and worked on the construction of the new Iglesia San Simón Apóstol in San Marcos.
St. Peter’s Cathedral
St. Peter’s Cathedral sent one team which provided VBS for hundreds of children at Iglesia San Lucas in Santiago and La Anunciación in Tamboril.
ECW of the Diocese of Southwest Florida
The Episcopal Church Women of our Diocese have continued to support the Santo Tomás children’s nutritional program. This program began as a Saturday morning Bible study for the children of the community. The local church women quickly realized that many of these children did not have food at home and began to cook a hot meal to go along with the Bible study. Over the years the program has expanded and now feeds over 95 children each Saturday. They have started a homework helper program for the children attending the local public schools. Each afternoon volunteer teachers come and tutor the children. The ECW also collected children’s undergarments at churches across the Diocese on designated “Undie Sundays.” The ECW also collects for scholarships for children attending Episcopal schools in the DR.
Many individuals and churches have also contributed to children’s education by providing scholarships to attend the Episcopal schools in the DR and other mission programs operated in the Dominican Republic. We also sent 2 containers full of donations from across the Diocese to assist our companion churches in the DR.
Kathy Gilpin, Companion Diocese Committee Chair
Bill Kunkle, DDG Executive Director