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Largest Nazarene church in Haiti dedicated

Largest Nazarene church in Haiti dedicated after years of saving, struggling
February 01, 2013
Gros-Morne, Haiti

About 100 miles north of Port-au-Prince, more than 3,500 people attended the January 27 dedication service for the largest Nazarene church in Haiti.

General Superintendent Jesse C. Middendorf called the newly completed Gros-Morne Church of the Nazarene "one of the most beautiful churches in the world."

The 1,000-member congregation began saving money in 1991 to build the largest structure in the city, which has a population of more than a quarter million. Construction began in 2003 but was stopped in 2006 after two hurricanes, a flood, a marketplace fire, and the January 2010 earthquake — which destroyed the roof of the Nazarene school where 800 students attended.

Middendorf said completion of the church — which seats approximately 2,000 — and repair of the school where more than 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 David Nixon for discovering the needs of the Gros-Morne church and putting a plan into action.

Dedication Sunday at Gros-Morne began with a 7 a.m. parade through the city. The parade started with a marching band led by a former voodoo priest who is now a member of the church. More than 500 civic, school, scouting, chorale groups, and a 25-member Work and Witness team from Southern Florida marched in the parade.

Also in attendance at the dedication were Mesoamerica Regional Director Carlos Saenz, Haiti Field Director Bill Dawson, Central Haiti District Superintendent Wallier Pierre, Artibonite Central Haiti District Superintendent Gary Jeudy, St. Marc Haiti District Superintendent Pierre Antoine Jacques, 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.

Paul and Annecesse Zamor have provided pastoral leadership for the Gros-Morne church since 1984. The Zamors faced many struggles in the 29 years they 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, Southern Florida DS David Nixon, Haitian-American Pastor Pascal Permis, and District Nazarene Missions International 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, numerous Nazarene organizations, churches, and individuals contributed to the church and school. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries provided $60,000 to assist in the reconstruction of the school roof. Two churches in Southern Florida — Bradenton First and Redland — provided $10,000 to equip the school with a state-of-the art computer lab. Venice Church of the Nazarene in Southern Florida provided $7,000 for materials to build 119 new desks for the school.