Haiti Mission District
We have nearly 30 churches spread throughout Haiti. They became a mission district of the United Brethren denomination in 2000. In 2002, the second national convention of United Brethren in Haiti brought over 600 people to Port au Prince. Our Canadian national conference provides primary oversight of Haiti. Canada gives substantial financial support and regularly sends work teams to Haiti.
Rev. Oliam Richard (right) serves as the on-the-ground superintendent. In the 1990s, Rev. Richard, pastored a successful Haitian church in Paris, France. However, he felt called to return and work in his native land of Haiti. He soon found himself supervising a group of churches in Haiti, and he wanted to get them affiliated with a larger group.
Rev. Richard learned about the United Brethren church through the denominational website. Contacts were made. In October 2000, Global Ministries officially decided to launch into Haiti. Rev. Richard moved back to Haiti to personally supervise the Haitian churches.
Haiti is about the size of Massachusetts, and has about 8.5 million people.French is spoken by most educated Haitians and is used in business. Nearly everyone speaks Creole, which combines influences from Africa, France, and Spain.
Rev. Oliam Richard is superintendent of our churches in Haiti.
The History of Haiti
Haiti, in the West Indies, occupies the western third of the island called Hispaniola; the Dominican Republican occupies the eastern part. Two-thirds of Haiti is mountainous.
Christopher Columbus landed on Haiti in 1492 and claimed the island for Spain. The Arawak people, natives of Haiti, were conquered and ruled by Spain until 1697, when it became a French colony called Saint Dominique.
A slave revolt resulted in the country becoming independent. It adopted the name Haiti, an Awarak name. Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin America, and the only nation whose independence was gained through a slave rebellion. It is also the only predominantly French independent nation in the Americas.
Due to bankruptcy within the government and extreme poverty among the people of Haiti, the country accepted being under US supervision from 1905 until 1941.
Haiti has long been one of the poorest, least-developed countries in the western hemisphere. Many dictators have ruled over the years, causing much unrest and poverty. Though Haiti now operates under an elected government, it still has high AIDS, malnutrition, and infant morality rates.