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Diocesan Construction Team returns from Dominican mission trip

The 2016 diocesan Construction Team recently completed another successful project in the Central Gulf Coast’s companion diocese, the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic. Construction teams from the Central Gulf Coast have been conducting weeklong missions in the Dominican Republic since 2007. This year’s team consisted of eighteen men and women from seven churches in the Diocese. We meet, work alongside, and build relationships with fellow Episcopalians from throughout the Diocese and beyond.

Under the leadership of inspired clergy and with the help of mission teams such as ours, the Episcopal Church in the Dominican Republic is growing fast, building dozens of new churches in the past ten years.

Team member Keith Greene, of St. Simons on the Sound, Ft. Walton Beach, FL is working on the new clergy chairs for Iglesia Santo Tomas.

The primary focus of our missions has been building church furniture. Our team purchases rough-cut mahogany in the Dominican Republic, then cuts the lumber to finish dimensions and builds what furniture is needed. This has included pews, altars, baptismal fonts, pulpits, lecterns, prayer desks, credence tables, clergy chairs, and bishop’s chairs. Some of our furniture has been used in new churches and some has replaced furniture damaged by termites and decay. We built new furniture for one church that was using a beat up old wobbly table for the altar, while the seating for the congregation consisted of broken benches and a few plastic chairs. Since 2007, construction teams from our diocese have built beautiful new furniture for seven different churches in the Dominican Republic.

Our tools and equipment are stored at an Episcopal church in the capital city, Santo Domingo. Since the Dominican Republic lacks a reliable electrical grid, our equipment includes four gasoline-powered generators to provide the electricity needed to complete our work.

The new altar built for Iglesia Santo Tomas.
Members of Iglesia Santo Tomas are helping move the twenty-five new pews into the sanctuary of Iglesia Santo Tomas.

For the 2016 mission, we mobilized our equipment to Santo Tomas, a church located in Gautier, a community in a poor area about 50 miles outside Santo Domingo. During the week at Santo Tomas, we built 25 pews, a new altar, pulpit, lectern, clergy chairs, and a bishop’s chair. Most importantly, we worked to advance the Kingdom of God.

The Construction Team could use a few new members. Please consider joining us for our next project in the Dominican Republic. Neither prior experience building furniture nor an ability to speak Spanish is necessary.

Dates of Diocesan Medical and Construction Missions to Dominican Republic Announced

Medical Mission: Saturday March 4, 2017 through Sunday March 12, 2017

Construction: Friday March 10, 2017 through Sunday March 19, 2017.

The medical team will be holding clinics in Batey Palave, a small impoverished village just north of Santo Domingo.

The construction team will likely be building pews and other furniture for the Iglesia Espiritu Santo, a newly built church in Las Carreras.

If you are interested in joining either of these teams, please mark your calendar. For information on the Medical Mission, contact Keith Greene at or (850) 651-4158. For the Construction Team, contact Geary Gaston at or (251) 649-7327.

Howard Wilson is a parishioner at St. Paul’s, Daphne.

Discipleship. Development. Discernment.
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