Haiti is situated on the western part of the island of Hispaniola, discovered by Columbus in 1492. The indigenous people were exterminated by the Spanish, who ceded the territory to the French in 1697. A century later, the slaves imported from Africa to work on sugar plantations rebelled and finally defeated the French army. In 1804 Haiti became the first nation of the world which liberated itself from slavery and colonial power. But the independence resulted in depletion of the economy and natural resources, political instability and social violence. The hopes for change and development raised by the election of Jean Bertrand Aristide in 1990 were crushed after a few years. Lack of political and economic governance, generalized violence, and a devastated environment contribute to make Haiti one of the poorest countries in the world. Civil society groups, churches and political parties are trying to break the spiral of violence and impoverishment. Traditionally Haiti has been Catholic. Voodoo, the Afro-Haitian cult, has a strong hold on the people. Protestant missions started working in the 19th century. In the 20th century Pentecostal and charismatic groups developed very rapidly. The Protestant Federation of Haiti cooperates with other groups for the renewal of society and a new "social contract". The Council of Evangelical Churches of Haiti, which is an observer member of the Federation, is affiliated with the WEA. The Anglicans are part of the Episcopal Church in the USA, and the Methodists of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, both WCC member churches.
Ecumenical response to the January 2010 earthquake
Open letter from WCC general secretary
WCC press release: Haiti urgent needs require worldwide ecumenical support
WCC press release: Haitians rebuild their churches, look towards the future with hope
WCC press release: Ecumenical delegation expresses solidarity towards Haitians
WCC press release: WCC commends G7 relief of Haiti's debt, asks IMF to follow suit
NCC press release: Clarification about Baptists arrested in Haiti
WCC press release: WCC calls for Haiti's foreign debt to be cancelled
WCC feature article: The reconstruction of Haiti must be based on justice
WCC press release: Churches mobilize support for Haiti quake victims
Statement on the urgent need to cancel Haiti’s foreign debt
Pastoral letter by the WCC general secretary to the Caribbean Conference of Churches following the 12 January 2010 earthquake
More about the Haiti earthquake can be read on the website of ACT Alliance, a global ecumenical grouping of churches and related agencies working on emergency relief and development and a partner organization of the WCC.
More on Haiti:
Ecumenical solidarity visit to Haiti
An international ecumenical team of church representatives, so called "Living Letters", paid a solidarity visit to churches and ecumenical organizations in Haiti from 24 to 28 November 2008. Read more about the visit to Haiti...