Two weeks ago, on world Communion Sunday, WRPC dramatized The Kite Story. In this allegory children use kites to communicate with their friends who live on the other side of a tall wall, built to divide their village. As the story goes, the kites represent “A one-thousand colour friendship covering the sky, higher than the grey walls, the angers and the conflicts.” I knew a little about the kite-flying traditions in the Middle East, but I did not know that kites also have special meaning and power in the Caribbean..until this week. It turns out that in Haiti, kite making and flying is part of a Holy Week tradition. The Creole word for kite is kap, and it means to lift up. Starting on Good Friday, Haitians send these handmade, elaborate, brightly colored kites made of all kinds of things high into the Caribbean sky symbolizing hope. These same skies were ripped apart last week by Hurricane Matthew, the same hurricane that ripped through Carolina skies. We are connected.
The waters have yet to crest in Eastern Carolina. The death toll continues to rise in Haiti were some communities are experiencing a 90% loss. WRPC has a special connection to our brothers and sisters in Haiti through the friendships we have forged in partnership with Hearts with Haiti. We have a special connection to our brothers and sisters in Easter Carolina through our sister churches in the Coastal Carolina Presbytery. We are connected. We are connected to the students and teachers at Vernon Malone College and Career Academy where Ashlie Thompson serves as Principle and Shanora Kingberry is the Dean of Students. VMCCA remains closed because of flooding. We are connected to WRPC members and friends who have been displaced because of downed trees. We are connected.
There are several opportunities to connect with our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors who have been worst hit by Matthew. Hearts with Haiti has opened a Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund (click here to read more or give now). The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and North Carolina Disaster Assistance are already on the scene, working with churches in the Eastern reaches of the New Hope Presbytery as well Coastal Carolina Presbytery. You can give directly to these efforts through the New Hope Presbytery website (click here). They are also calling for supply donations – see the list below. There will be more opportunities to serve in the coming days and months. We are connected.
We will continue to fly the kites in our sanctuary as a visual reminder that we are connected – to our brothers and sisters in Haiti, in flood damaged Easter Carolina, as well as to those in Raleigh. We will fly the kites in our sanctuary as a visual reminder that no matter how hard the wind blows and no matter how high the water rises, the power of God will carry us through the storm. We stake our claim in the promise. We are connected.
List of what is needed:
3) Special items for babies and elderly - diapers, wipes and adult and children
6) Toys, books, games
7) Moving crews - this is almost complete for evacuation but folks may need help moving back
8) Food – non-perishable packaged or canned food/juice
9) Non-electric can openers
10) Hygiene items/moisture wipes/toiletries
Please bring them to the Vanderbilt door entrance back hallway.
More opportunities to assist will be coming in the week to come.
GOOD NEWS! West Raleigh has recently been notified of two grant awards for the March 24-26, 2017 Dare to Dream: Ecumenical Educational Conference on Peace and Justice in the Middle East (featuring Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb). See the Save the Date flyer here.
We were notified by the New Hope Peacemaking Committee of the first grant on September 10, 2016 and have been awarded $2,000 from the Peacemaking Offering Fund.
Notification for the second grant came in a letter dated September 26, 2016 from The Presbytery of New Hope. We were awarded a Passion Driven Ministries (PDM) Grant in the amount of $5,000. Criteria used for the PDM Grant included:
· Partnering with others
· Catalyzing people for mission
· Sustainability and making real impacts on the lives of people and communities
We are honored to be entrusted with these monies to underwrite this exciting conference. As we work out details for this weekend, we will share them with you. Please mark your calendars!