Parish Presents Earthquake Relief Check to Head of Nepali Delegation

It’s been said that timing is everything.  Or being in the right place at the right time is the key.  Well, Father Michael Petrochuk, priest-in-charge at St. Andrew’s, Barberton, experienced that first-hand.

When word spread about the April 2015 devastating earthquakes in Nepal, the parishioners of St. Andrew’s Episcopal felt compelled to do what they could for those suffering the devastation.   As relief efforts poured in from around the world, the small parish of approximately 80 members rallied together and raised over $500 from their Sunday collections to aid the people of Nepal, more than 7,600 miles around the world.

Through his dual role as both St. Andrew’s part-time priest and Walsh University business professor, the Rev. Dr. Michael A. Petrochuk, had planned to deliver the check personally to the International Committee of the Red Cross while in Geneva (Switzerland) on a two-week global health trip sponsored by Walsh University.  

During the global trip, the Rev. Dr. Petrochuk led DeVille School of Business Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Byers School of Nursing Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) students as they studied global health care and medical tourism throughout the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Italy.

Along with visiting healthcare facilities and museums, the study group was scheduled to visit the International Red Cross global headquarters while in Geneva.  “We had the Red Cross visit scheduled, so I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to deliver our check to aid in the Nepali relief efforts,” said Father Michael. “However, the night before our visit, I was shocked to learn that the head of the Nepali delegation to the Red Cross would be there on that same day!  And the Red Cross staff had scheduled a time for us to meet.”

The next morning, Father Michael met with and delivered the church’s donation to the Nepali Red Cross Delegation Head, Dragana Kojic.  “I presented the check to her on behalf of the people of St. Andrew’s Church in Barberton. I told her that while our check wasn’t the largest donation, it was given from the heart,” said Father Michael.

To say that she was touched by the donation was an understatement.  “She said that she wouldn’t cash the check until she returned to Nepal – so that she could show it to her staff.  She wanted them to know that a church half-way around the globe was caring for them,” he said.

From their meeting that day, a lasting relationship is being nurtured between Saint Andrew’s and the Nepali Red Cross.  “When I returned and told our parish family, we immediately felt the desire to do more,” said Father Michael, “We are now adopting the Red Cross of Nepal as our global mission effort and will continue to support them throughout the year.”

Not only is this an area affected by earthquakes, it is an area affected by poverty.  Kojic invited him to bring students to study and work with the Nepali healthcare system, in the hopes of improving healthcare in her country.  In his full-time role as business professor at Walsh, Petrochuk hopes to coordinate a group of students to visit Nepal in the future.  Until then, the small church in Barberton will continue to pray for and support their new friends in Nepal – half-way around the world.  And they’ll owe this bond to a chance meeting on that summer afternoon.

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