New College Bird is a 175-year-old Methodist academic institution that was severely damaged during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. It has been rebuilt and today, September 9, 2014, it is being rededicated. The Rev. James Gulley, an UMCOR and Global Ministries consultant, offers a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth!
Today we remember with thanks those who came to Haiti in your mission and shared the vision of education for a newly liberated people!
When African people were captured, sold and enslaved in Hispaniola for 300 years, you, O Lord, suffered with them.
When your African people rose up and cast off the shackles of their enslavement, you, O Lord, empowered them to cry out: "Enough!"
When your African people struggled to understand each other, you gave them the Creole language.
When your Haitian people strove for knowledge, you provided the first missionary teachers, Catts and Brown.
When your people needed schools, you sent them Rev. Mark Bird and other teachers to found the first Methodist College.
For more than 175 years, (New) College Bird has been a beacon of light, providing education to thousands.
Withstanding the constant onslaught of seasonal storms,
(New) College Bird has risen twice from the ashes of two destructive fires,
and now rises again from an earthquake which shattered its structures
but did not snuff out the desire for learning.
Once again you have enlivened the spirit, imagination and determination of your Methodist people in Haiti and their partners to rebuild.
As New College Bird is rededicated once again,
may your Spirit of Truth continue to bring light and hope
to students, teachers, administrators and all
who work to bring knowledge, skill and wisdom to those who must build Haiti anew.
As you continue to walk with your people in Haiti, together we proclaim:
“O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth!”
James L. Gulley
September 10, 2014