Posted October 11, 2018 in Around the Synod

PW logoThe Presbyterian Women of the Synod of the Trinity have designated the Dominican-American Community Outreach, focusing on both medical and transportation needs, as its international mission project for 2018-19. What follows is a description of the outreach plan:

The mission of the ongoing mission partnership between the eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania Presbyterian churches (Shenango Presbytery) with Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana is to foster medical, educational and social assistance among the people of Sabaneta de Yasica (and surrounding area), Dominican Republic, to those of both Dominican and Haitian descent.

Planning and execution of projects are done collaboratively with Dominican church leaders and reflect service in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In the spirit of collaboration and shared partnership, several Dominican clergy and lay leaders have visited the United States to speak to our churches about the needs and accomplishments of the partnership. They have preached in our churches and spoken to church groups.

In this partnership, we join the Dominican church in taking a long view. Our annual visits are a part of an ongoing partnership with the Dominican people, working together to promote maturation and sustainable improvement to the physical and spiritual health of the community. This work does not end when we leave but is sustained by the continuing efforts of the people of the Dominican Republic. Projects are typically finished and maintained by our Dominican partners. They are the primary stewards of what is accomplished as a community. Americans who return year after year can see the development of the community over time.

Central to the mission of the partnership, medical providers work with Dominican nurses and doctors, seeing patients of all ages, providing medicines and determining follow-up care when necessary. Over the years, we have seen the public health clinic grow in terms of space, availability of medicines and staffing, and the partnership has been able to expand service to needier communities. This grant would directly target women, children and those who have a disability by providing mobility assistance such as adaptive strollers, walkers, crutches and quad-canes. Currently, we are able to provide only one or two wheelchairs a year. Additional funds are needed to expand our reach to the many disabled children who quickly outgrow their wheelchairs.

Although most medical care is provided at the public health clinic and outlying clinics set up in the chapels, medical providers have also made home visits to those who are bedridden or who have mobility or transportation issues. In response to the transportation challenges and in response to our Dominion partner’s request for specialist care we want to establish travel funds for physician specialists (dentist, ophthalmologist, physical therapist) who are already committed to joining this ministry. These requested funds would also enable safe travel for children, the elderly and disabled who are currently unable to attend church services, school and some medical clinics by aiding in the purchasing of a mission bus.

Accountability for this project will be overseen at two levels: local and Dominican. The Rev. Christopher Weichman, senior pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Erie, PA, and the mission director as well as the Rev. Angel Cancu, General Secretary (Bishop) of the Iglesia Evangelica of the Dominion Reputblic.

In education, this partnership has helped build the Christian school, conduct teacher training and provide scholarships to students at the Christian school. Teacher education has given teachers the tools they need to be effective in the classrooms of the Christian school.

In construction, in addition to building the Christian school, new chapels beyond Sabaneta de Yasica have given community members their own spaces for worship and service. Slabs have been poured in homes with earth floors and major repairs have been done to houses in many communities.

In the spiritual health arena, American pastors have attended the General Assembly of the Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana and have led workshops for clergy and lay leaders in Sabaneta, Samaná and Baní. Our team worships with the Sabaneta church community and with the communities in outlying chapels.

The mission project goal is to raise $20,000 to be used for prosthetics and other ambulatory devices, funds for specialist travel and the aiding in the purchase of a bus. The Dominicans and Americans have planned and led outreach to the Sabaneta community for 27 years in medical, construction, educational and spiritual arenas. And we will continue to serve.

Checks must be written to PW Synod of the Trinity and sent to Joyce Johnson, PW Synod Treasurer, 31 W. Main Street, Brookville, PA  15825.