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Episcopal Diocese of Newark Responds to Earthquake in Haiti

Nina Nicholson, Director of Communications

NEWARK, January 14, 2010 – The Episcopal Diocese of Newark will donate $10,000 for relief efforts in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

“Haiti has been shattered by this earthquake,” said Bishop Mark Beckwith. “There are deep, longstanding connections between the Diocese of Newark and Haiti, and we are drawing on those connections to offer the most helpful and hopeful response that we can.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, which comprises the whole country, is the largest diocese in The Episcopal Church.  The Dioceses of Newark and Haiti are both members of Province II, one of nine ecclesiastical provinces of The Episcopal Church.

The Diocese of Newark’s donation will be channeled through Episcopal Relief & Development (, a relief organization associated with The Episcopal Church.  Episcopal Relief & Development, which has supported the Diocese of Haiti for many years through a central Development Office and a network of 28 development agents, began disbursing funds within 24 hours of the earthquake to meet immediate relief needs and is committed to a long-term recovery effort, according to a January 13 news release by the organization. (

Bishop Beckwith’s office is distributing materials to the 108 congregations in the Diocese of Newark for this Sunday, encouraging parishioners to donate to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

Bishop Beckwith was at the annual retreat of Province II bishops when the earthquake occurred.  Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin of Haiti had not been able to attend the retreat. The nine Province II bishops present, including Bishop Beckwith, have pledged $10,000 from their own resources toward the relief efforts, also through Episcopal Relief & Development.

Noting he had been in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for the Province II bishops’ retreat exactly two years ago, Bishop Beckwith said, “Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, where we worshipped, has been destroyed.  The hotel we stayed at has been destroyed.  Bishop Duracin’s residence has been destroyed and his wife injured, although thankfully Bishop Duracin is unharmed.”

Another link between the Dioceses of Newark and Haiti is former Haiti Bishop Charles Alfred Voegeli, a New Jersey native who attended St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Newark.  He was consecrated Bishop of Haiti in 1943, retired in 1971 and died in 1984.

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark comprises the northern third of New Jersey, and consists of 108 congregations in the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Warren, and Union.