Grace Church Supports Honduras
by Eleanor Simons
In 1973 the Diocese of Central Florida decided to partner with Honduras when it was suggested by a missionary priest working there that rich countries should partner with poor countries. Honduras was and is today the third poorest country in our hemisphere. The Thanksgiving collections from churches in the diocese would be directed to Honduras. This changed in September of 1974 when hurricane Fifi struck Honduras. More than 20,000 people died and crops, homes, and businesses were wiped out. Three small Episcopal churches were damaged and in need of repair. People in Florida know hurricanes and knew what was needed.
Central Florida Churches collected relief supplies and sent them to the Cathedral in Orlando. Clothing, food, tools, medicines, building supplies were piled to the ceiling in the Great Hall. Teamster Union volunteers trucked the supplies to ports where they were shipped to Honduras free of charge by the Standard Fruit Company. A pilot from Maitland flew his own plane on a mercy mission. Doctors, nurses, and construction workers followed.
Bishop William Folwell went to Honduras to help Episcopal clergy there, at times literally digging away the mud. Most of the money sent to repair homes, churches and schools came from the churches and people of Central Florida. It was the beginning of a friendship that has lasted until today. Grace Church did not get involved, except for the annual Thanksgiving collections, until many years later, but that is a story for next week’s newsletter.