|New Jersey church rejoices that Haiti mission team is
Leaders of Trinity United Methodist Church in
Hackettstown, N.J., gather in prayer after learning that a mission team
from the church was safe following the Haiti earthquake. UMNS
photos by Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger.
A UMNS Report
By Kathy Gilbert and Joey Butler*
11:45 AM EST Jan. 14, 2010
Congregants applaud after receiving
word that a mission team from
the church was unharmed.
They worried. They prayed. And then members of a United Methodist
church in Hackettstown, N.J., rejoiced that members of their mission
team in Haiti were safe, even as they continued to grieve and pray for
the thousands who died following a massive earthquake.
More than 400 people filled the sanctuary at Trinity United Methodist
Church in prayer for all those affected by the earthquake, including
mission volunteers from the congregation at a Haiti orphanage.
“We had an amazing service last night,” said Louise Spender,
assistant for the Rev. Frank Fowler, pastor of Trinity and mission team
leader. “We stood hand-in-hand and sang and prayed. It was an amazing,
The prayer service was at 7 p.m. Jan. 13. At 10:30 p.m., they
received word that the team had safely evacuated from Haiti and was
staying overnight in the Bahamas. They hoped to return to the U.S. today
News has been hard to get from the team but Fowler was able to borrow
a phone from a CNN reporter the morning after the quake to call the
church and report everyone was safe.
"We are all thankful that they are safe, that family and friends are
well and not hurt," Karen Fowler, the pastor's wife, told the Newark
Star-Ledger. "But we are still grieving for our brothers and sisters in
Haiti and for the children found there."
Spender said the church found out the team was at an orphanage
outside of Port-au-Prince when the quake hit. They spent the night
outside on Tuesday and took a school bus from the orphanage to the
airport in Port-au-Prince.
The school bus was one the church had helped buy for the orphanage
and one of the mission team members, Frank Projcaccini, was instrumental
in the fund raising for the bus, Spender said. Projcaccini is a bus
driver, she added.
“It was a God thing,” Spender said, laughing.
The church and community have surrounded the Fowlers and all the
mission team’s families with support.
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“I am not surprised they have embraced them but I am still in awe and
humbled by the outpouring,” Spender said.
Trinity Church opened its sanctuary Jan. 14 for prayer. A message on
Web site asked that people “Please continue to pray for the
wonderful people of Haiti who - most having nothing - have lost
everything, as well as for the safe return of our team members.”
*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service in
Nashville, Tenn. Butler is a content editor for United Methodist
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615)
742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos from team in Haiti
Missing mission executives seen entering destroyed hotel
Concerns mount for missing UMCOR
‘Dire situation’ in Haiti calls for generous giving
United Methodists in Haiti
before quake hit
United Methodists respond with
prayer, aid for Haiti
UMCOR Field Office: Haiti
Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance
United Methodist Church
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