General Superintendent, Dr. Jesse Middendorf, called the newly completed Gros-Morne Church of the Nazarene in Haiti, One of the most beautiful churches in the world. Over 3,500 attended the dedication of the church and school on Sunday, January 27, 2013, in a remote area of Haiti about 100 miles north of Port-au-Prince.
The thousand-member congregation began saving money in 1991 to build the largest structure in the city with a population of over a quarter million. Construction began in 2003, but was stopped in 2006 after 2 hurricanes, a devastating flood, a marketplace fire and compounded by the earthquake of 2010 which destroyed the roof of the school, where 800 students attended.
Dr. Middendorf said completion of the church, which seats over 2,000, and repair of the school where over 900 are now enrolled, is an example of how partnerships work in the Church of the Nazarene. He expressed appreciation to the Southern Florida District under the leadership of District Superintendent, Dr. David Nixon, for discovering the needs of the Gros-Morne church and placing a plan into action.
Dedication Sunday at Gros-Morne began with a 7 a.m. parade through the city core. The parade started with a marching band led by a former voodoo priest who is now a member of the church. Over 500 civic, school, scouting, chorale groups and the 25-member Work & Witness team from Southern Florida marched in the parade.
Also attending the dedication were: Dr. Carlos Saenz, Mesoamerica Regional Director; Dr. Bill Dawson, French Field Strategy Coordinator, Dr. Wallier Pierre, Central Haiti District Superintendent, Rev. Gary Jeudy, North Central Haiti District Superintendent; Rev. Pierre Antoine Jacques, Lower Artibonite Haiti District Superintendent; the Gros-Morne Mayor, police commissioner and city judge; and a host of other pastors from the community. The local Salvation Army sent their band to play during the service.
Rev. Paul and Annecesse Zamor have provided pastoral leadership of the Gros-Morne Church of the Nazarene since 1984. The Zamors and their family have suffered greatly in the 29 years they have led the congregation. The church and their home are located in a neighborhood that once had a very strong voodoo presence.
Pastor Zamor said his church was once the laughing stock of the community. It sat for years uncompleted with no roof. While services were held in the shell of the church, there was no protection for his congregation against the rain and elements.
In June 2011, Dr. Nixon, Haitian-American Pastor Rev. Pascal Permis and District NMI President Dennis Moore visited the Zamors and the Gros-Morne church on a Wednesday night. All three immediately believed God was leading the Southern Florida District to partner with the Gros-Morne church and school.
Since that initial visit: 1) Nazarene Compassionate Ministries provided $60,000 to assist in the reconstruction of the school roof; 2) Southern Florida District churches and individuals provided over $137,000 to assist in completing the sanctuary, making improvements to the school, and building pews to seat 2,000 people; 3) two churches in Southern Florida – Bradenton First and Redland provided $10,000 to equip the school with a state-of-the art computer lab, 4) the Venice church in Southern Florida provided over $7,000 for materials to build 119 new desks for the school, 5) individuals and churches on the Southern Florida District provided over $14,000 in scholarships for children enrolled at the Gros-Morne school and 6) through the Southern Florida District NMI over 1,200 pairs of childrens shoes and socks were donated and shipped to the school for a value exceeding $18,000. Three Work & Witness teams of 66 individuals from Southern Florida have gone to assist in Gros-Morne over the past year, expending over $53,000. Rev. Roy Shuck led all three teams.
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