Our Fourth Decade of Partnership.

When La Gonâve Haiti Partners incorporated in 2012, the group had been working with the Parish of St. Francis on La Gonâve for 25 years. Previously, the Partners functioned as a loose collaboration of churches; each US church partnered with a Haitian church and the community it served on La Gonâve. Over time, the desire for shared strategic goals and best financial practices, combined with the addition of individual donors and organizations, led to the evolution of a US 501(c)(3) non-profit led by a Board of Directors.

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Our History

In 1989, Luc Garnier, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Haiti, assigned Father Fritz Valdema to serve the parish of St. Francis d’ Assisi on the island of La Gonâve. The Episcopal Church owned 35 acres of land in the community of Nouvelle Cité on a hillside below the sanctuary of Holy Cross; it is here that La Gonâve Partners began.

Bill Rice, a Presbyterian missionary, had been working internationally with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and developed a strong friendship with Bishop Garnier; the PC (USA) does not establish Presbyterian churches in Haiti but rather works alongside existing Episcopal churches.

Bishop Garnier introduced Bill Rice to Pere Val and his wife, Carmel in 1990. Pere Val and Carmel shared the bishop’s vision to bring health and education and improved agriculture to impoverished people and communities through the service of the church.

The Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, along with PC(USA) and the Episcopal Church of Haiti opened a small medical clinic in Nouvelle Cité in 1991. Housed in a tiny room off the sanctuary of Holy Cross Church, the health center served as a base for 18 community health workers and 8 midwives who traveled to surrounding rural villages.

During this time Reverend T.J. Johnston, an Episcopalian priest in South Carolina, also began to work with Bishop Garnier and established partnerships between Episcopal churches in South Carolina with churches on La Gonâve. The focus with these partners was the foundation of parish schools.

In 1994, plans were begun to build a larger public health facility in order to provide better health care to the people of La Gonâve; the Bill Rice Community Health Center was finally completed in 2000. In 2004, the PC(USA) entered into official partnership with the Episcopal Church of Haiti to support multiple health, education and agricultural efforts in Haiti, including on La Gonâve.

Beginning with support from a single U.S. church, the partnership spread through the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and to Episcopal churches across South Carolina and Arkansas to now involve hundreds of individual supporters and 24 faith-based organizations in 8 states.

2024 Annual Conference