Oxford Christian community uniting with work in Haiti

Published 12:00 pm Friday, August 19, 2016

The Oxford Christian community is in the midst of “Community-to-Community” initiative to partner with the leaders of Camp Mary, Haiti.

In collaboration with The 410 Bridge, a U.S.-based nonprofit community development agency, the initiative creates an opportunity for leaders on both sides of the bridge to improve five specific areas of community development in Camp Mary, including, water, education, health, economic development and discipleship programs.

“What if the community in Oxford were to leave our differences aside and simply act like the Church,” asks Pat Ward, Sr. Pastor at Orchard Church. “The Oxford community is coming together to serve the poor in a small community in Haiti with healthy, indigenously sustainable community development. We think that’s a story worth telling so that other North American communities might do the same.”

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Ole Miss Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), the Freeze Foundation, Orchard Church, Pinelake Church, Chick-fil-A and FNC , Inc. are involved in the growing partnership. Churches, schools and business leaders from the Oxford community have much to offer, and are joining forces for the good of a single community in need.

Together, leaders on both sides of the bridge can work to alleviate poverty by focusing on a specific place, going deep in that place to make a lasting sustainable change.

“Our mission is to transform how the body of Christ engages the poor, and we are thankful for the Christian community in Oxford for getting behind this vision so that we can do with (not for) the people of Camp Mary,” said Kurt Kandler, Executive Director of The 410 Bridge. “Our organization is uniquely positioned to help the Christian community team up and empower others to create lasting life change in their respective communities.”

The community-to-community initiative began in 2015 and has grown to include churches, students, and business leaders. By partnering with local indigenous leaders, The 410 Bridge engages asset-based community initiated projects, not Western-driven solutions.

The community members themselves are involved in defining solutions and reaching their desired outcomes.  The projects are owned, operated and sustained by the community.

Future Oxford participants will help with projects like water projects, while others may send people on short-term service trips or sponsor primary school children to improve the quality of education.