DDG Companion News | April 26, 2018

GEMN Conference 
April 3-5, 2019
In the Dominican Republic

The Global Episcopal Mission Network GEMN) has announced that its next conference will be held in the Dominican Republic from April 3-5, 2019. Previous GEMN conferences were held in these locations: Ivoryton, CT in 2012; Bogota, Colombia in 2013; Seattle in 2014; Atlanta in 2015; Ponce, Puerto Rico in 2016; Camp McDowell in Nauvoo, AL, in 2017; and the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA, in 2018. 

The Global Episcopal Mission Network is the independent mission network dedicated to promoting global mission in The Episcopal Church. GEMN consists of dioceses, churches, partner organizations, and individuals committed to engaging and connecting people worldwide through global mission relationships. The Dominican Development Group is one of those partner organizations. Bill Kunkle, the Executive Director of the Dominican Development Group, is an elected member of GEMN's Board of Directors. 

Many more details will be forthcoming about this 2019 GEMN conference in the Dominican Republic, but for now -- Save The Date!
For more information as the planning proceeds, check the GEMN website and GEMN's 2019 conference planning page. This planning page contains a handy link to join the GEMN mailing list for updates about this conference.

Veteran DR missioner Sally Thompson from the Diocese of Southwest Florida and DDG Executive Director Bill Kunkle at the 2018 GEMN conference. Kunkle presented a workshop at this conference on the subject of "Healthy Short-Term Mission Trips." 

Spring 2018 Exploration Trip

The exploration trip missioners with the congregation of Iglesia Episcopal San Pedro Apóstol in the village of Los Conucos. To see an album of photos from this trip, click this image.

Each spring and fall, the DDG sponsors a week-long "exploration trip" to familarize prospective mission team leaders with as many of the churches, schools, conference centers, and ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic as one can see in seven days. The most recent exploration trip started on April 19, and concluded on April 25. During that time, the missioners visited Episcopal sites in the southern coastal cities of La Romana, San Pedro de Macorís, Boca Chica, Santo Domingo, Baní and Haina; the central highlands cities of Jarabacoa and Santiago; and the northern coastal city of Puerto Plata. The trip's day-by-day itinerary is available  here. An online album of photographs from the trip is available  here.

On the last full day of their trip, the missioners helped install a Christus Rex in the bulding under construction for the congregation of Espíritu Santo in the village of Las Carreras. This Christus Rex was donated by St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Tampa, FL, and the construction of this church is a project of St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Tifton, GA.

The next exploration trip will take place from November 8-14, 2018, and will follow the same general route as this spring trip. For more information about this fall 2018 trip, contact DDG Executive Director Bill Kunkle (contact information at the bottom of this newsletter).
Update on the DR Diocesan Education Program
By Tom McGowan

Members of the Educational Steering Committee at work in early April. From right: Padre Emilio Fumero, Sra. Melvina Dinsen and Dra. Miguelina Corporan.

As I have mentioned many times previously, Bishop Moisés Quezada Mota views Diocesan education as the cornerstone of his episcopate. Central in this vision for providing a high-quality Episcopal education for the future adults of La República Dominicana is professional development for teachers. The Bishop, a former teacher himself, understands that educational improvement happens in the classroom and depends on the dedication and skill of the instructional staff. Teacher professional development has become extremely important in the Dominican Diocese.

While March and April might seem like "down months" in my mission work, a workshop series and school visitations require much advance planning. I "visit" the Diocese about every day through emails, texts, and conversations on iMessenger. We are well on the way to working out all of the details for our next professional workhops, coming in early May.

Our team for these sessions (expanded from our last workshops) includes two additional US missioners (one from Nebraska and the other from California), giving us quite a varied line-up. We will offer sessions in mathematics, technology, the humanities, motivation, second language education and school organization. Melvina Dinsen and Miquelina Corporan will handle introductions and ways that workshop content can be useful in Dominican classrooms. Our theme this time: The Humanization of the Educational Process. We will again visit four Episcopal school sites, representing each region of the Diocese, but different colegios than in past trips (La Romana, Todos loa Santos; Boca Chica, San José; San Francisco de Macorís, Jesús Nazareno; Santana Baní, San Matías). The team is already feeling the excitement of presenting to 40-50 motivated educators at each site.

An additional educational improvement activity that shows yet another international connection of the Dominican Episcopal schools involved a team of educators that assembled in April in Mexico City. This conference was sponsored by the Santa Maria Foundation. While specific topics varied, the theme centered around language learning and ways in which the Santa Maria Foundation might support schools introducing English language learning programs. Our very own Miguelina Corporan represented the Diocese at the conference.

Editor's note: Dr. Thomas McGowan is a Professor of Education Emeritus from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who has specialized during his career in social studies education, teacher professional development, and school-university collaboration for program improvement. To see a list of his professional accomplishments,  click here. He is an Appointed Missionary of The Episcopal Church and an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Dominican Development Group. To read his blog about his volunteer work as an educational missonary in the Diocese of the Dominican Republic,  click here

Announcing A Partnership Program:
The Dominican Development Group and BeachCorps
BeachCorps has a motto,  "A Little Grain of Sand," and this philosophy : "A single grain of sand means little. One volunteer's impact means little; many volunteers' impact over time means a lot."   David Searby founded BeachCorps after 27 years as a Foreign Service Officer in the US State Department. When he lived in Santo Domingo, he was a member of the congregation of Epiphany Cathedral. David seeks to create a new tool for the DDG to complement existing mission trips so that anyone can support the Dominican Episcopal Church with projects that don't necessarily involve work.    The model seeks to correct problems in "voluntourism" by focusing on established nonprofits like the DDG that produce results. BeachCorps is currently offering free excursions to La Romana on selected days in June and July, 2018, for volunteers to assist with projects at Colegio Episcopal La Encarnación. Plans are in the works for more joint DDG/BeachCorps programs, including regular English teaching. For details on the free excursion program, click the link below:

Links to online copies of recent issues of the DDG Companion News:
For earlier issues on the Publications page of the DDG website, click here.

Contact the DDG:
Office: (813) 400-2722 | Fax: (813) 983-5082
Executive Director: Bill Kunkle | bkunkle@dominicandevelopmentgroup.org
PO Box 272261 | Tampa Florida 33688-2261

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