In November 2013, Saint Paul’s UMC and Soisson Church in Petionville, Haiti, became the first sister church relationship under the renewed Haiti/Florida Conference Covenant.
There has been a long-standing relationship between the United Methodist Church and the Eglise Méthodiste ďHaite (The Methodist Church of Haiti). In 2012, the Methodist Church in Haiti and the Florida Conference revised an existing covenant agreement, and one of the first activities under the revised covenant was the exploration of the creation of sister church relationship.
In March 2013, a mission team from Saint Paul’s visited three potential sister churches in Haiti. After their return, it was learned that the Soisson Church, one of the three churches the Saint Paul’s team had visited, had been built by Tallahassee District mission teams in 1981, 1982 and 1983. Those teams were led by a member of Saint Paul’s, Leroy Irwin. Once it was learned that the Soisson Church was a long lost sister, they were invited to re-connect as a sister church, and they accepted.
Since the formalization of the sister church relationship, we have communicated regularly by email with the lay pastor at Soisson, Baby Geffrard. His grandfather was the pastor at the church when Saint Paul’s helped in its initial construction. We have also sent small visiting teams twice since the creation of the sister church relationship.
Soisson Church is a small church sitting on the steep side of a mountain above Petionville, Haiti. It overlooks Port au Prince, the bay on which Port au Prince sits and the mountain range to the north. The church has approximately 25 communicate members and 50 active adult members. While it serves a farming area, Soisson Church is facing encroachment by upscale neighborhoods being built to escape the heat and the smog of Port au Prince. Activities currently in planning involve sustainable economic activities, including providing agricultural assistance and an effort to employ Haitians to construct pews and other furniture inside the church to replace furniture built over 30 years ago.
A trip to go back to Soisson has tentatively been scheduled for the fall of 2015 or the winter/spring of 2016.
We invite you to support the Soisson church with your prayers. If you would like more information about our Sister church, or are interested in getting involved, contact Liane Schrader or Flo Dickinson.