The Episcopal Church in Haiti

From the Episcopal Church’s gallery for the Diocese of Haiti

The Rev. Canon Mark Harris writes on his weblog, Preludium, about the Episcopal Church of Haiti and a long history of oversight:

The question now is this: 100 years later, does TEC still feel that the church in Haiti is not ready or able to be self-governing and self-propagating? Put another way and more positively, is Haiti able to be “an autonomous Province in the Anglican Communion”? Is it time for Haiti to become its own Province, relying of course on partners for program support, but on itself for basic functions as a church (support of clergy and maintenance of congregational community and churches.)

In these 100 years, 60 were years with bishops elected by the House of Bishops, not by the Diocese. They were all white. They were missionary bishops paid directly as DFMS employees. They were elected and then appointed by the Presiding Bishop. There was no “consent” of the governed involved. When they came to Haiti they were a “given.”

In the past 40 years there have been two diocesan bishops and one suffragan bishop elected by the clergy and laity of the diocese. In this period bishops were no longer considered missionaries of TEC, but rather bishops of a jurisdiction elected from within those jurisdictions, and of course later confirmed in election by General Convention or by Bishops and Standing Committees of all the dioceses. Clergy likewise were not longer “hired in the field” workers, but from the late 1980’s employees of the Diocese. They were the clergy of the diocese, not agents of the missionary society.

ECH has become increasingly self-governing. Now it would be considered quite strange, and very regressive, for the Standing Committee or Bishop give over their authority to the DFMS on matters of governance, election, and accountability.

What would happen, then, if the ECH were to decide that it was ready to transition into a province of its own?

Read the rest.


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