First Presbyterian Church has an on-going partnership with the Letohrad Parish of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Republic (ECCB), as documented by a new seven-year partnership agreement signed in 2016. During our relationship, FPC members lead English To The Church camps for children and youth (similar to our Vacation Bible School at FPC) and teach English to Czechs of all ages during English Tutoring, now called Language, Culture and Church (LCC). We have hosted numerous representatives and youth from the Letohrad Parish in Annapolis throughout our two decades of engagement. A new venture called Extended Volunteer Program (EVP) is underway; visit our blog on this 2017 adventure. This partnership enhances our understanding of the people and culture of the Czech Republic. For more information, contact Steve Hays, Czech Partnership Chair.
National and International
First Presbyterian Church welcomed a refugee family of five from Iraq who arrived March 14. The church is partnering with World Relief Anne Arundel to support the family’ resettlement in our area. In preparation for their arrival, the church collected donations for a Welcome Kit and gently used furniture for their home here. The congregation had a dinner soon after their arrival so that more members of the congregation could meet them. The family used the ZW apartment as temporary housing until an Arnold townhouse became available. The older children began school at Annapolis Elementary School but will continue in the fall at Belvedere Elementary. Their parents have begun formalized English training. Volunteers from our congregation have been providing hospitality to the family by visiting them, giving extra English instruction, helping with job preparation, babysitting and playing with the children and taking the family on outings.
Haiti Fund, Inc.
First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis Trustees, in recognition of the creative and life-giving work of the Comprehensive Development Project (CODEP) and support it receives from the Haiti Fund Inc., approved a five-year commitment as a Covenant Church. Under the partnership, FPC will provide consulting services in the strategic plan being developed by the Haiti Fund and CODEP boards and those boards also have set responsibilities to FPC. CODEP has been working with 1,400 Haitians to grow their own produce and bring it to market, a project that began with enriching the soil through planting thousands of trees on the barren land.
Rwandan Leadership Development Program (RLDP)
This project was an outgrowth of the year in Rwandan spent by members Claudia and Steve Hays. Claudia, a physician, contracted there to teach and train Rwandan resident physicians. Steve volunteered at a Rwandan boys’ orphanage teaching English and taught in local Rwandan schools.
Rwanda is a small country, about the size of Maryland, in the East Central part of Africa with a population of about 11 million people. The RLDP’s main purpose is to recognize potential leaders in education with support of dialogue and surplus resources from the United States. The RLDP has partnered with the Parents Association for the Contribution to the Promotion of Education (APACOPE) School in the village Muhima, which is in the capital city Kigali. The school has 1,600 students, 60 teachers and little resources. To date, RLDP has helped with Internet and technology by providing tablets for teachers in the classroom, projectors for the classrooms and a handful of laptops for select teachers. RLDP also facilitated having a U.S. teacher who taught and developed curriculum at APACOPE in the summer of 2015.
Steve and CC Hays traveled to Rwanda in mid-April where they taught English. They also brought a large number of donated, used laptops and more than 100 donated soccer cleats. If you have an interest in helping this international endeavor or interest in teaching at APACOPE, contact Steve Hays (firstname.lastname@example.org).