Dear Friends, I'm happy to report that Holy Cross survived the first serious storm of the season, Alex, and is safe and sound - thanks be to God!! We're always a little on edge from June to November and certainly appreciate your prayers. As we heave a sigh of relief, we're back to work with two volunteer teams (St. Paul's School for Girls in Baltimore, MD and St. Dustan's in Dover, MA) continuing work on the new bathroom facility. We look forward to a busy and productive summer with mission groups, Vacation Bible Schools and plenty of construction!!
Please take a few minutes to read the following expert from an article written by Reid Joyner (Diocese of North Carolina). He visited Belize in May as part of Episcopal Relief and Development's annual meeting. We were fortunate that he spent some time at Holy Cross. Many thanks to Reid and all of you who share the amazing story of Holy Cross Anglican School. Blessings, Francis
Episcopal Relief & Development in Belize
Episcopal Relief & Development’s network of diocesan and seminarian coordinators meets each spring to reconnect, share best practices and hear the latest about ERD’s programs and plans. For the first time our annual meeting, held over the Memorial Day weekend, occurred outside our borders in Belize City, Belize. The location was chosen because the Belizean diocese, supported by Episcopal Relief & Development, could “provide Diocesan Coordinators an opportunity to witness our partners’ life-saving work firsthand and to help them tell the story of our work more effectively,” in the words of Network Coordinator Luke Fodor. Field trips were planned to allow us to see the ERD-provided HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum in elementary schools and to see recipients of ERD-funded microfinance loans.
Parishes in our diocese have participated for years in mission trips to Belize and in recent years to Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro. That connection led to my having the good fortune of being invited by the Rev. Jan Lamb, Deacon at St. Luke’s, Durham, and Holy Cross volunteer, to visit the school as her guest prior to the annual meeting’s start.
And what good fortune it was. Holy Cross, located in San Mateo, an underserved area of San Pedro, is an elementary school educating just over 500 children from Kindergarten through 8th grade. During my short visit I sat in on 2nd grade and 6th grade classes where I saw evidence of the HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum and listened to oral testing for end-of-term exams; I experienced a donated computer lab; I walked to school with a beautiful 2nd grader named Aaliyah; I ate lunch with the children and sat in on their weekly chapel services (separate services for the youngest, middle and oldest children); and I walked with Jan through the San Mateo neighborhood.
What I found was a school of happy children delighted to be in the school environment and eager to learn in spite of their challenging circumstances. Teachers were effective and students knew their subject matter. Younger students were variously attentive and older students were quickly responsive to the oral testing. In a positive way, the Holy Cross visit gave me a foundation against which to compare the field trip schools. A visit to the Holy Cross School web site will be time well spent.