The Diocese of the Virgin Islands has elected a Bishop Provisional. During the First Special Meeting of the 65 th Diocesan Convention, held virtually on Saturday, March 5th, clergy and lay delegates overwhelmingly elected The Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase to the position. The former Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia has agreed to serve for six months initially with a provision for extension. He is expected to begin his first official visit on April 6th , accompanied by his wife, Kelly Jones Benhase, and will spend two weeks out of every month in the diocese while being available virtually the remainder of the time. Bp. Benhase has pledged to make every effort to visit all fourteen of the congregations in the diocese, which are spread over five islands in two different countries.
The Diocese of the Virgin Islands has been without a Bishop since May 2021 when The Rt. Rev. E. Ambrose Gumbs retired as Bishop Diocesan.
Your prayers are requested for the Diocese and its newly-elected Bishop Provisional.
To Love a Child is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit registered in the state of New York which provides humanitarian assistance to impoverished children in Haiti & Zimbabwe as well as our local community.
October 27, 2021
Where do we begin? First, we managed to get provisions to the southwest part of the country within a week after the devastating earthquake which left 130,000 houses, over 1,000 schools and some 90 health centres damaged or destroyed. The situation is further complicated by gangs controlling highways resulting in very serious fuel shortages and the reduced supply of goods.
The UN states that as of September 2021, 4.3 million people were experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity, up from 4 million in August 2020.
Earlier this month, when addressing the Security Council, Helen La Lime, Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), said the country is undergoing “one of the most fraught periods of its recent history”.
To Love a Child continues to support teachers in the Central Plateau so that children can continue their education. We also sent a shipment of five 55 gallon drums filled with solar lanterns, tarps, toothpaste, toothbrushes, medicine, blankets, school supplies and more. The drums are in a warehouse in Haiti awaiting safe passage to their designated location.
WE THANK EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED SUPPLIES AND MONETARY DONATIONS TO PROVIDE FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN HAITI.
We will continue to do what we can and keep you informed along the way
More information about the work of To Love a Child can be found in this news article >
La Habana, 2 de noviembre del 2021
Querida familia diocesana:
La Paz de Dios sea con ustedes ahora y siempre.
Ayer celebramos la fiesta de Todos los Santos. Hoy conmemoramos a los Fieles Difuntos. Ambas celebraciones están unidas por el denominador común de la vida eterna después de la vida terrena. En las que se enmarca el sentido de la Escatología, que no es sino la convicción de la resurrección de los muertos y la respuesta al sentido de la vida y de la muerte.
El 1ro de noviembre es la solemnidad litúrgica de Todos los Santos. Se trata de una fiesta cristiana, que al evocar a quienes nos han precedido en el camino de la fe y de la vida, gozan ya de la eterna bienaventuranza, son ya -por así decirlo- ciudadanos de pleno derecho del cielo, la patria común de toda la humanidad de todos los tiempos.
Esta solemnidad litúrgica, la Iglesia englobaba a todos los santos. Si durante el resto del año litúrgico se nos ofrecen las memorias de distintos y conocidos santos, en la fiesta del 1ro de noviembre son protagonistas, sobre todo, los santos anónimos, los santos desconocidos, los santos del pueblo, los santos de nuestras familias; santos, en definitiva, con rostros cercanos.
¿Y qué es ser santo? “El santo es aquel que está tan fascinado por la belleza de Dios y por su perfecta verdad que éstas lo irán progresivamente transformando. Por esta belleza y verdad está dispuesto a renunciar a todo, también a sí mismo. Le es suficiente el amor de Dios, que experimenta y transmite en el servicio humilde y desinteresado del prójimo" , escribió un teólogo hace algunos años.
La fiesta de Todos los Santos, es una llamada apremiante a que vivamos todos nuestra vocación a la santidad según nuestros propios estados de vida, de consagracion y servicio.
La santidad no es patrimonio de algunos. Es el destino de todos, como fue, como lo ha sido para esa multitud de santos anónimos a quienes hoy celebramos. Recordémoslo: "Un santo no es un ángel, es hombre de carne y hueso, que sabe levantarse y volver a caminar. El santo no se olvida del llanto de su hermano, ni piensa que es más bueno subiéndose a un altar. Santo es el que vive su fe con alegría y lucha cada día pues vive para amar y servir” .
El 2 de noviembre es el día de la conmemoración de los fieles difuntos. Nuestro recuerdo y nuestro corazón se llenan de emoción, de la memoria, de la oración ofrecida en acción de gracias por nuestros familiares y amigos que han pasado a la presencia de Dios.
Unámonos como familia-comunidad de fe para orar por todos aquellos que durante este año han fallecido a causa de covid19, u otras causas. A orar por sus familias que han quedado conmocionadas ante el dolor de la separación. Imploremos a Dios Trino y Eterno su Gracia, su Misericordia y su Amor Inconmensurable.
La muerte es, sin duda, una de las realidades más dolorosas, más misteriosas, y a la vez más insoslayable de la condición humana. Sin embargo, desde la fe cristiana, cualquier pesimismo de esta afirmación se ilumina y se llena de sentido. Dios, al encarnarse en Jesucristo, no sólo ha asumido la muerte como etapa necesaria de la existencia humana, sino que la ha transcendido, la ha vencido. Ha dado la respuesta que esperaban y siguen esperando por siglos y la humanidad entera a nuestra condición pasajera. La muerte ya no es final del camino. No se vive para morir, sino que es un pasaje por el que todos vamos a transitar, es la apertura a la vida eterna: ¡Quien ha terminado su fe en la tierra entra ya en la Pascua gloriosa del Señor!
El clamor más profundo y definitivo del ser humano en todas las épocas tiene respuesta: “todo aquel que en Él cree, tendrá vida eterna” (Jn 3:15).
En el Evangelio y en todo el Nuevo Testamento encontramos la luz y la respuesta a la realidad de la muerte y corroboran la promesa central de la Fe cristiana que es la resurrección de quienes han muerto y la vida del mundo futuro, a imagen de Jesucristo, muerto y resucitado.
En Su Nombre, un abrazo solidario a toda la familia diocesana, les recuerda y les ama, su Pastora,
On Saturday, the Rev. Roland Cooper and Good Shepherd, Irving, hosted 30 people from across the partnership dioceses, including Bishop Sean, for worship and to visit the grounds of the former Thomas Indian School.
The school tour was led by Faith Stewart, senior warden at Good Shepherd and a local school teacher. The group also visited the mission cemetery across from the school and attended the Seneca Nation Fall Festival.
"I was moved by the stories that Fr. Roland told," Archdeacon Diana Leiker of St. James, Batavia, said. "He spoke the truth about what happened at the Thomas Indian School as it was relayed to him by the many talks he had with his grandmother, and also by what he has experienced as a Native American. His gentleness and love reflects a life led as a follower of Jesus."
The Rev. Matt Lincoln, rector of Trinity, Buffalo and chair of the Commission to Dismantle Racism and Discrimination, was encouraged to find that some of the property is now used by the tribal government for the benefit of the Seneca people. "I found it very moving to learn about the history of the Seneca Nation, especially the people of Good Shepherd Church, Fr. Cooper and his grandmother," he said.
"Since our diocesan programs on social justice matters, I've become so much more aware of the privileges I've enjoyed during my lifetime that were denied to others," the Rev. Claudia Scheda, rector of St. David's, West Seneca, said. "It was truly eye-opening to hear the stories of a group of people who lost their language, culture, and families at the hands of white oppressors. I'd known about Indian schools for a long time, but had been unaware that one was right in my backyard."
Last winter, nearly 40 people from across the partnership dioceses gathered online for a four-week study of " The Thomas Indian School and the 'Irredeemable' Children of New York , " which tells the story of the school and the experiences of Indigenous children there, including many from the Seneca Nation in Western New York. Established by Presbyterian missionaries and later operated by the State of New York, the school housed 2,470 children, many of whom were forcibly removed from their families, from 1855-1957.
Images: the Rev. Roland Cooper speaks to visitors; visitors tour the grounds of the former Thomas Indian School.
By Canon Barbie O. Bach, Diocese of NJ
“Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt: you shall raise up the foundations of many generations: you shall be called the repairer of the breach” – Isaiah 58:12.
Approximately 30 members of the Diocese of New Jersey supported the Reparations movement on Juneteenth at a march and rally at Newark City Hall, urging the state senate and legislative assembly to vote on proposed bills to establish a task force to study reparations necessary for the lasting effects of slavery. Two priests of the Diocese of New Jersey held a banner at the rally, and Bishop Chip Stokes spoke among the opening leaders: “After more than 400 years of brutal history and oppression it is time for us as a state and a nation to face the enduring deep and living scars of slavery and take meaningful steps toward reparative justice.” In the fall, the diocese’s busy Reparations Task Force will host a second informative webinar and a service at Trinity Cathedral for the entire diocese to confess woeful sins of injustice and reveal hidden hurtful truths of the past.
The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe has just been awarded a seed grant at the June Executive Council meeting. This was one of thirty grants awarded at that meeting. See what is planned with this exciting venture!
Virtual to Vital
New Episcopal Communities in Europe:
Case Statement and Vision
The Setting. Like churches everywhere, the year of pandemic—”Covidtide”—has dramatically affected the European part of the Episcopal Church. At the same time, we have recognized both opportunity and blessing in the creativity, innovation, and resilience of our communities. The emergence of the virtual church has for us not only been risky experiment—it has been a liberation from the usual, iron-clad limitations of geography on the possibility of ministry.
The Convocation of Episcopal Churches is a gathering of 21 Episcopal communities spread out over a space equaling the distance between Boston and Phoenix. Across the years from our beginnings in 1814 to the moment before Covid arrived, the single most powerful limiting factor on our growth was locating a sufficient number of interested people in a given geographic location to gather for worship and fellowship. The “opening of the virtual door” has broken down that fundamental barrier to growth—and fostered the emergence of new Episcopal communities, gathered around different organizing principles.
The Opportunity. Over the past year we have witnessed, and then encouraged, the emergence of new communities gathered around ideas other than geography—notably, a shared language or a shared experience, especially experiences that have limited participation in the life of the church (caring for a spouse or partner at home, being a refugee in a major European city, being a member of a group historically unwelcome and disenfranchised in a church of first faith). With support from a grant focused on the development of Virtual Missions, the Convocation’s Committee on Mission Congregations has undertaken an initiative to foster the intentional planting of “virtual missions” with a European base and identity, focusing in the first instance on language-area communities.
The Vision. On the horizon we see the moment of emergence from the limitations and lockdowns of Covidtide, and the challenge of regathering the physical church. In the Convocation, we are speaking of this as our “Third Isaiah Moment”—a time to bestir ourselves from the routines and comforts we have developed in this time of exile, and to return to the task of rebuilding the (metaphorical) temple.
There is a parallel to this work in the virtual missions we’ve nurtured. In a reverse of the pattern of established congregations, our virtual missions now face the challenge of inventing a path from the virtual to the physical. We are blessed that in this moment we have identified a leadership team and of both ordained and lay folks in three of our language-area missions. Now is the moment in which we need to provide these teams with the resources and support they need to lead their communities on a path that will link virtual beginnings with physical gatherings, establishing a model of hybridity that we believe future missions will follow
This is a three year program with the intent of settiung up six mssions. The Francophone Mission is planned for two communities, the German Mission is planned for three and the Hispanophone Mission is planned for one community. Each community will have its own missioner as well as a Zoom and OneL license. In addition to the grant funding received from the Episcopal Church, the Convocation will be providing more than matching funds to make this work. It is, of course, hoped that there will be volunteer contributions. This project began in April of 2021 is is slated to be completed im March of 2024. Way to go, Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe!
Cuba is clearly in the midst of crises on many fronts - made clear by the protests of July 11th. Please click on the link to read a message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Below is Bishop Griselda's perspective on the crisis. (English translation followed by original Spanish text)
CALL OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN CUBA TO THE BELOVED CUBAN PEOPLE
“Seek good and not evil, and you will live; so will be the truth what you say: that the Lord God Almighty is with you. Hate evil! Love good! Let justice flow like water, and honesty like an inexhaustible spring.
Amos, 5:14, 24.
Being an integral part of this people and country, our entire Church, women and men, laity, clergy and bishops make a call for Peace and Life in this crucial hour that the Cuban Homeland is going through.
On Sunday, July 11, protests took place in various cities of the country due to the difficult economic situation, along with the health crisis that our people are experiencing. The implementation of new Economic Regulations/Reforms at the beginning of this year, as well as other restrictive measures have aggravated the crisis that had been dragging on for a long time, reaching the extreme situation we are facing today. The permanent lack of basic food products and lack of medicines, among other misfortunes has generated uncertainty, frustration, a sense of being overwhelmed and despair. All of us are experiencing increasing emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual decline. The average salary has been dramatically devalued, made worse by the fact that the most important products are only offered in the new stores for foreign currencies. Electricity generating plants have gone out of operation due to various breakdowns, leading to power outages, which have only added more concern to the population in the middle of summer.
In the midst of so much darkness, we must admire the work of the scientists who, with such passion, were able to obtain vaccines for the relief of the people. And recognize the medical and paramedics who work day and night without rest and with almost no resources trying to save their countrymen, in the midst of the multiplication of contagion on scales never before foreseen.
On the other hand, the appearance and dissemination of new COVID strains has increased the number of people infected to a great extent, most unfortunately among girls and boys. The number of deaths has also increased dramatically.
All these issues formed the breeding ground to a great extent, for many citizens to express their discomfort and disagreement publicly in different cities across the country.
Expressing all concerns and frustration is the right of every citizen and every person. The right to freedom of expression in peaceful public demonstrations is a Human Right.
The Church is watching with great concern that spaces and opportunities are not being provided for people to civically express their feelings. As long as they are manifested in a peaceful and respectful framework.
And we make an urgent call that in no way gives rise to provocations, confrontations or any other excessive act that results in violence, aggression, offenses, humiliation, or loss of human life. This doesn't have to happen! That will never be a way forward.
Every Human Being is created in the image and likeness of God, which is why they have dignity and a sacred character. Life is the most precious gift.
And God urges that reason, sanity and responsibility prevail. The road must be built by all Cuban men and women. There will always be divergences, diverse opinions, different thoughts, there is the richness and integrity of being a collective People. It is necessary to raise the value of dialogue to seek understanding and ways of solving big issues. Likewise, the Church exhorts the pertinent Authorities to promote actions to contain all violence and achieve peace. The confrontation between Cubans is unacceptable.
All Cubans, from one end of this beautiful island to the other, have the same blood, soul and ethos that runs through their veins, which imprints their distinctive Cuban character. We are sisters and brothers forged on solid foundations, like the Cuban “who taught us to think”, the Priest and Master Félix Varela, who said: “There is no country without virtue, nor virtue with impiety”. And also molded on the thought of the Apostle José Martí of whom each and every Cuban is so proud, and who said: "Every true man must feel the blow that any man's cheek receives on the cheek."
The Church exhorts us to implore God for protection and strength in times of tribulation, for every home, every young person, girl and boy, for the adults and the elderly, for the sick and vulnerable, especially for those who have departed. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we can discern in hope the future path. He also makes a call to all who with sensitive hearts to gather resources and send for the suffering, especially for the Province of Matanzas.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we exhort all of our Cuban people: Amen el bien! May Justice and honesty flow like wáter - like an inexhaustible spring!
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and forever. Amen.
+ Maria Griselda Delgado del Carpio
La Habana, 12 de julio del 2021.
LLAMADO DE LA IGLESIA EPISCOPAL EN CUBA
AL AMADO PUEBLO CUBANO:
“Busquen el bien y no el mal, y vivirán; así será la verdad lo que ustedes dicen: que el Señor, el Dios Todopoderoso está con ustedes. ¡Odien el mal! ¡Amen el bien!Que fluya como agua la justicia, y la honradez como un manantial inagotable. Amos, 5:14, 24.
Siendo parte integrante de este pueblo y país, toda nuestra Iglesia, mujeres y hombres, laicos, clérigos y obispos hacemos un llamado a la Paz y a la Vida en esta hora crucial que está atravesando la Patria Cubana.
El domingo 11 de julio en diversas ciudades del país tuvieron lugar actos de protesta por la difícil situación económica junto con la sanitaria que está viviendo nuestro pueblo. A partir de la implementación del Ordenamiento Económico, a principios de este año, así como otras medidas de carácter restrictivo que se han sumado a esta realidad, han agravado la crisis que se venía arrastrando desde mucho tiempo atrás, hasta llegar a situaciones límites en la actualidad. Ha generado incertidumbre, frustración, agobio y desesperación a partir de la permanente carencia de los productos básicos alimenticios y carencia de medicinas entre otros infortunios. Todos nosotros estamos experimentando un creciente deterioro emocional, mental, físico y espiritual. El Salario medio se ha visto devaluado dramáticamente, por otra parte los productos más importantes se ofertan solamente en las nuevas tiendas por divisas extranjeras. Las plantas generadoras de electricidad han salido de su funcionamiento por diferentes roturas dando lugar a cortes del suministro eléctrico, lo cual añadió más inquietud en la población en pleno verano.
En medio de tanta sombra, hay que admirar la labor de los científicos que con tanta pasión, pudieron obtener candidatos vacunales para alivio del pueblo. Y reconocer al personal médico y paramédico que trabajan día y noche sin descanso y casi sin recursos tratando de salvar a sus coterráneos, en medio de la multiplicación del contagio a escalas nunca antes previstas.
Por otro lado, la aparición y diseminación de las nuevas cepas ha acrecentado el número de personas contagiadas en gran medida, muy lamentablemente entre niñas y niños, así como el incremento de fallecimientos que hiere profundamente la sensibilidad humana.
Todo este conjunto de males fue el caldo de cultivo en gran medida, lo que dio lugar a que muchos ciudadanos expresaran su malestar e inconformidad públicamente en diferentes ciudades del país.
Expresar toda inquietud y frustración es un derecho de cada ciudadano y de cada pueblo. El derecho de la libertad de expresión en las manifestaciones públicas pacíficas es un Derecho Humano.
La Iglesia está mirando con mucha preocupación que no se faciliten los espacios y oportunidades para que las personas puedan expresar cívicamente sus sentimientos. Siempre y cuando se manifiesten en un marco pacífico y respetuoso.
Y hace un urgente llamado a que de ninguna manera se dé lugar a provocaciones, confrontaciones o cualquier otro acto desmedido que resulte en violencia, agresión, ofensas, humillación, y menos que cause pérdida de vidas humanas. ¡Esto no tiene que suceder! Ese no será nunca un camino a seguir.
Todo Ser Humano es imagen y semejanza de Dios, por lo cual tiene la dignidad debida y un carácter sagrado. La vida es el don más preciado.
Y exhorta a que prime la razón, la cordura y la responsabilidad. El camino debe ser construido por todos los cubanos y cubanas. Siempre habrá divergencias, opiniones diversas, diferentes pensamientos, ahí está la riqueza y la integralidad de ser un Pueblo. Es preciso poner en alto el valor del Diálogo para buscar el entendimiento y vías de solución. Asimismo exhorta a las Autoridades pertinentes a que promuevan acciones para contener toda violencia y alcanzar la paz. Es inadmisible el enfrentamiento entre cubanos.
Unos y otros, desde una punta a la otra de esta bellísima isla tienen la misma sangre, alma y ethos que corre por sus venas, que imprime su carácter de cubanía tan distintivo. Somos hermanas y hermanos forjados en sólidos cimientos, como del cubano “que nos enseñó a pensar”, el Sacerdote y Maestro Félix Varela, quien dijo: “No hay Patria sin virtud, ni virtud con impiedad”.
Y asimismo moldeados sobre el pensamiento del Apóstol José Martí del que tanto se enorgullece toda y todo cubano, y quien expresó: “En la mejilla ha de sentir todo hombre verdadero el golpe que reciba cualquier mejilla de hombre”.
La Iglesia exhorta a implorar a Dios, amparo y fortaleza en los tiempos de tribulación, por cada hogar, cada joven, niña y niño, por los adultos y ancianos, por los enfermos y vulnerables, en especial por los que han partido. Bajo la guía del Santo Espíritu podamos discernir en esperanza el camino futuro. Asimismo hace un llamado a todas y todos quienes con corazones sensibles puedan reunir recursos y enviar para los sufrientes, especialmente para la Provincia de Matanzas.
En el nombre de Jesucristo, exhortamos a todo nuestro pueblo cubano: ¡Amen el bien! ¡Que fluya como agua la Justicia y la honradez como manantial inagotable!
La Gracia de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, el amor de Dios y la comunión del Espíritu Santo sea con todos nosotros, ahora y siempre. Amén.
+Maria Griselda Delgado del Carpio
La Habana, 12 de julio del 2021
From the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe:
Our Episcopal congregation in Tbilisi, Georgia, is a witness against the violence which has been launched against LGBTQ+ persons in the Republic of Georgia. Bishop Mark Edington and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry have issued a statement regarding these persecuted brothers and sisters. (read the ENS article) Please pray for our Tbilisi congregation, for their safety and their continued witness.
Mark EdingtonJuly 8 at 1:50 AM ·
Most people I meet back in the wider church don’t know their church is present in Europe — let alone Tbilisi. If they are, they often have the mistaken idea we are just comfortable gatherings of overseas Americans.
We’re nothing like that. We’re the living, witnessing work of our loving, liberating, life-giving God in places where faith itself is ridiculed by secularism, and tolerance is rejected by hate. We’re figuring out how to be the church where being the church is hard work — sometimes dangerous work.
Episcopal Congregation in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia - Anglican Communionis not a “gay church.” It is a church — a serving, sending, worshiping community of faithful Christians, some of whom are LGBT folks and some of whom are not, but all of whom are witnessing to the relentless, onward march of God’s accepting, reconciling love for all people. I am proud to be counted a Christian among them.
For now, their congregation is closed — out of fear of attacks. But they will continue to meet — and we will continue to stand with them. And they will reopen. #episcopal
BELOVED SISTERS AND BROTHERS, CLERGY, LAY PEOPLE, FRIENDS AND FAMILY ALONG WITH THE ENTIRE DIOCESE OF CUBA:
I am asking you today to join in a Prayer Vigil to pray for the COVID situation in the world and in our country.
Today we're experiencing a moment of multifaceted crises that are accentuated by the contagion of lethal coronavirus strains spreading across the population. It is of utmost importance that together, holding each other, we stand before God to pray with contrite hearts and on our knees. The serious health situation in Cuba is shaking us in such a way that we need the kind of strength and serenity which can only come from on High from God, in Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Let's ask jointly pray for His mercy for the sick who are suffering from the contagion, especially for the children, and for the aftermath they will have to endure.
Let us pray for those who have lost their lives due to the terrible contagion. And the devastated families that are left behind.
Let us pray for the medical and paramedic staff working intensely and tirelessly at clinics and hospital centers.
Let us pray for all who are working in one way or another to help those in our community who are suffering.
Let us pray for those who are experiencing challenging days due to the increasing economic havoc here, due to the pandemic, and due to the on-going threat of natural disasters.
Let us pray for any other needs of the families in our community.
We will begin our prayer vigil starting today through Saturday July 31th It will take place every night from 9:00 pm until midnight. I am asking each family or community to join in prayer every night for a moment during these 3 hours daily. God be with us all - granting us His Mercy at all times and in all places. With Love, Hugs and Blessings
Friday, July 9, 2021.
The Very Rev. Dr. Caroline Carson, Dean, Atlantic Convocation, Diocese of NJ
Rector, Holy Innocents' Beach Haven
I know many are concerned about the Covid-19 crisis in India. Indeed, the world has been watching. I thought I'd share something I'm doing to respond that might be of interest. If anyone has any questions or would like to review and join the effort, feel free to contact me.
I’m an international board member of The Rambo Committee, which supports the Christian Hospital Mungeli (CHM) in the rural and poorest state of Chhattisgarh, known as “The Rice Bowl.” I did some mission work with the hospital and the English grade school there for many months in 2014 and 2015 and have stayed in touch.
What am I doing? It began as simply boosting their social media posts and establishing an online presence for them. I run their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and help with website (not much lately though!) It has morphed into spreading hope, raising money for needed vaccines, and holding Zoom meetings with the new doctors and staff of the hospital. Though a world apart, we work together to raise awareness in the tribal villages surrounding CHM and have generated plans to hold vaccine fairs, similar to how our Diocese of New Jersey has tried to ensure everyone can have access to a vaccine if they choose to have it. Nationally, there has been conflicting information about the efficacy of vaccines and this has done harm, confusing the people. I also learned that while many vaccines are free, those are given from the government to state hospitals and not to rural, mission hospitals. So, we have been working with churches connected to Global Ministries to raise awareness and funding for the COVAX and Remdesivir vaccines.
CHM’s success in fighting Covid has also been due to the availability of Remdesivir, a very expensive treatment. The cost is $60 USD for a single treatment; the average Covid patient requires about 6 treatments at $366 USD. Most patients do not have the ability to pay leaving the hospital to cover this very expensive but crucial drug. CHM has been given government approval to administer the Rapid Antigen test at a cost to the hospital of approximately $4 USD per test. While a Covid vaccine is free, the cost to take it to the most rural areas is not.
If you would like to donate to help Christian Hospital Mungeli fight Covid, you may do so knowing 100% of your tax exempt donation to the Rambo Committee will go to providing immediate financial support to CHM.
Critical supplies of oxygen also run out in many places across India. CHM can treat many Covid patients a day in their ICU, due in part to having the only oxygen generator in the region, funded by a USAID / ASHA award to Rambo Committee, Inc. A new doctor on staff, Dr. Sapan Kumar, is a Pulmonologist and has been a crucial lifesaver there.
So, the little bit that I can do is just that, but oftentimes, I find that those little “drops-in-a-bucket” end up creating a wave of difference in many lives. It’s also a nice thing to simply be connected to a place that is dear to my heart and see the new beginnings forming there out of love for people. Certainly, there are other and larger organizations, but this is what I do.
A Story from Dr. Sapan The Face of Covid in Rural India
This is the story of Mr. Uttam, who is a father of five and was admitted in Christian Hospital Mungeli. He was referred to us with a saturation of 34% on 7 lit/min Oxygen. Mr. Uttam was started on non-invasive ventilation on which he was managed for more than two weeks. Non-invasive ventilation was discontinued once he improved, but after two days, his breathlessness increased. Non-invasive ventilation couldn't be restarted since it has already been used on a sick patient. By the grace of God, after a day we received our first set of BIPAP (a kind of small ventilator). There was a delay in transportation of the machines due to the lockdown and the tropical cyclone but we finally received them just on time for Mr. Uttam. He was soon started on the machine with which he felt much relief. Currently he is improving on BIPAP. We wish him a speedy recovery. The new BIPAP machines are an important part of treatment of moderate and severe Covid patients and we wish to help many more like Mr. Uttam with the machine.
We also want to thank all those who have constantly kept us in their prayers without which we wouldn't have been able to do the good deeds.
Dr. Priyamvada and Dr. Sapan