Dedication of New Church
What a wonderful, spiritual, uplifting, and glorious event the dedication service was at Harmony Ministries in Port-au-Prince! We really didn’t know what to expect in terms of either what the finished church would look like OR what the dedication service would include, but our expectations were greatly exceeded.
The church is fully completed, and painted inside and out. The finishes, electrical, lighting, flooring, benches and decorative touches are all amazing. It’s very bright (both the Caribbean colors and the outside light that comes in) and airy, and there are many nice design features. The benches, much to our surprise, aren’t just benches — they’re beautiful pews with book racks, communion cup holders, and open backs so they’re cooler and air can circulate. The baptismal pool is raised and behind the chancel area, with glass in front so people can see the immersion. There’s a glass block window and an inset wooden cross above the baptismal pool.
We toured the church Friday afternoon and were amazed, but we were even more stunned on Sunday morning when we walked in. There were floral bouquets on every column and many other places, balloons, banners, high quality sound equipment, a projector and wall-mounted screen with a running slide show, a place where the band is set up, and professional video equipment to video the service (or part of it — it was almost 4 hours long). There were about 1,000 people who came to the service, including delegations from LaSalle (they would have had to start at 4 a.m. down the dark mountain road to get there), Leogane (2 1/2 hours) and Thoman (2+ hours). All of the church leaders from all locations were there. All of the people were dressed up and looking crisp and clean — even those who had traveled for hours to get there. The US delegations included folks from Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland and Maine. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts helped with seating and carried in flags.
Each of the US delegations was given a plaque recognizing our support. We appreciated that, but we were even more humbled and joyful to see the huge number of Harmony Ministries people who were recognized for their work and leadership—pastors, elders, program leaders, etc. A lot of people (including Ronide, Pastor Luc’s wife) did a lot of work to get the church built and to put together a long, detailed, polished and wonderful celebration. There were many speakers. The combined PAP choirs sang the Hallelujah Chorus magnificently; it definitely brought tears to our eyes. There were wonderful and talented soloists, and Pastor Luc’s children played a viola duet. Each of the US visiting pastors spoke briefly, and everyone sang -- of course. They know how to worship; they know how to celebrate; they know how to give thanks to God in Haiti. Remember, too, that this church rose up from the rubble that had buried several of their members; this congregation had lost many neighbors and friends. So that sadness and difficulty was acknowledged as well as God’s blessing in the recovery and rebuilding.
It was a truly remarkable religious experience that we were blessed to share. The meaning and impact of PPC’s support is clearer than ever, and we were also really happy to see how much “structure” or people support there is behind Pastor Luc. It’s an amazing ministry.