October 21-26, 2015: The DDG Board in the Diocese of Western Louisiana
By Julius Ariail
Posted November 5, 2015
Members of the Board of Directors of the Dominican Development Group were in the Louisiana cities of Sulphur, Lake Charles, and Lafayette from October 21-26, 2015, to represent the DDG at the annual convention of the Diocese of Western Louisiana, to speak at area Episcopal churches, and to attend their semi-annual board meeting. The Diocese of Western Louisiana is one of the dioceses with a companion relationship with the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, and the DDG holds one of its semi-annual board meetings in one of those companion dioceses. The other semi-annual meeting is held in the Dominican Republic in conjunction with the annual convention of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. Dr. Richard Campbell, a veteran missioner and DDG board member for Western Louisiana, facilitated the logistical arrangements for this October 2015 meeting.
Board members began arriving on Wednesday and Thursday, October 21-22, and checked into the Holiday Inn in Sulphur, LA, the site of the Western Louisiana convention. Those present at the time held an informal discussion of several projects on the afternoon of October 22, including a initiative to collaborate with another non-profit organization, Food for the Poor, in funding a construction project for one hundred houses. Other projects discussed were the conclusion of the initiative to obtain precise GPS map locations for all of the churches, schools, and other facilities of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic and a pilot project to develop procedures for the construction of latrines in the Dominican Republic following the plans established by another organization, Water Mission. The Rev. Tar Drazdowski (Diocese of Nebraska) announced that she was recruiting for a multi-diocesan mission team to build the first latrines from April 14-20, 2016. The board members also discussed speaking assignments for the church visits on Sunday, October 25th. Dr. Harriet Green, a veteran missioner from Lake Charles, LA, hosted a supper in her home on the evening of October 22, and the board members enjoyed visiting with her and two of her grandsons who also had DR mission experience.
The annual convention of the Diocese of Western Louisiana began Friday morning, October 24th, in the West-Cal Arena and Events Center in Sulphur, LA. The DDG set up an exhibit table with a slide show of various DDG-sponsored projects, printed information about the DDG, and Dominican coffee. During the opening session of the convention, the representatives of the DDG were introduced by the Rt. Rev. Jake Owensby, Bishop of Western Louisiana. Bishop Owensby highlighted the presence of both the Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguin, Bishop of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, and of the Rev. Moisés Quezada, Bishop Coadjutor-Elect of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. Bishop Holguin served as the co-consecrator at the evening’s Eucharist service, which was followed by a festive supper in the convention facility.
On Saturday, October 25th, the convention held its second session. The DDG board members were once again seated throughout the delegate tables and enjoyed visiting with them, telling the story of their work in the Dominican Republic, and hearing about the work of the Diocese of Western Louisiana. Other visiting took place at the DDG’s exhibit table in the hallway outside the convention meeting room before the convention adjourned on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday evening, the DDG board members met for supper at the Harlequin Steaks and Seafood restaurant in Lake Charles and made final plans for the visit to area churches on Sunday.
On Sunday, October 26th, the area church assignments were as follows: Bishop Holguin, Padre Quezada, David Morrow, and Julius Ariail to St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Lake Charles; Mother Drazdowski, Deacon Romero, and Julia Ariail to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Sulphur; and Deacon Drew, Karen Carroll, and Bill Kunkle to St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church, Lafayette. Following the church services that day, the DDG board members gathered at 6 p.m. at St. Michael’s for a “Dominican Night” supper hosted by the congregation of St. Michael’s and coordinated by Dr. Harriet Green and Paul White, a veteran missioner and lay chaplain for the Canterbury Club at the nearby McNeese State University. During the course of the evening, the board members introduced themselves to the congregation and spoke briefly about their mission trips and other experiences in the Dominican Republic. They also enjoyed hearing about the DR mission trips sponsored by St. Michael’s, and the congregation’s sponsorship of school scholarships in Dominican Episcopal schools.
The formal board meeting was held in the parish hall of St. Michael’s on Monday, October 26th. For an informal summary of that meeting, click here. Following the meeting, the board members gathered for supper at a local restaurant, Steamboat Bill’s On the Lake, and then departed on Tuesday, October 27.