Companion Diocese

The Episcopal churches in the Dominican Republic. Click this image for an interactive version of this map with GPS locations of all of the Episcopal churches, schools, and other facilities.

Working With Our Friends
In the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic:
Two different countries, the same Episcopal Church.

In 2017, 52 missioners from the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia worked alongside fellow Episcopalians and others in the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic.

The Diocese of Georgia has an ongoing companion relationship with the Diocese of the Dominican Republic. This relationship began in 2001, and is strengthened year after year by frequent trips by mission teams from the Diocese of Georgia to the Dominican Republic. Although some churches and individuals in the Diocese of Georgia sponsor mission trips to other international locations, most of the international mission trips from the Diocese each year are to the Dominican Republic. During 2017, there were four such mission trips, and descriptions and reports of those trips are available here. Four mission trips are currently anticipated for 2018, and others may be planned later and will be added below at that time.

For the 2017 Annual Report from the Companion Diocese Commission with photographs (PDF file), click here.

For the 2017 Annual Report without photographs (PDF file), click here.

Summaries of activities in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 are available at the links indicated.

Mission trips, exploration trips and other events planned for 2018 are listed below. As additional trips are planned, they will be added to this list.

Mission Trip to San Pedro de Macorís, January 20-27, 2018 [TRIP COMPLETED]
For the fifth year in a row, one of the largest and most successful optical mission teams to the Dominican Republic headed back to San Pedro de Macorís on January 20th. Under the leadership of the Rev. Hunt Priest, Rector, and the Rev. Dr. Doris Buchanan Johnson, Assistant Rector, in charge of outreach programs, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church of Skidaway Island is the primary sponsor of the team, and the missioners come from St. Peter’s as well as several other churches both in the Diocese of Georgia and in the Diocese of Alabama.

The work proceeded in two distinct phases, with two groups arriving in succession. The first group of 22 optical clinic missioners arrived on January 20 to conduct the clinic to examine eyesight and dispense eyeglasses and sunglasses as needed at the Episcopal health facility located next to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (Iglesia Episcopal San Esteban), and the second group of 7 surgical team missioners arrived on January 25 to perform cataract surgeries in the El Buen Samaritano hospital in the city of La Romana. The year 2018 marks the first time that this team has offered cataract surgery as well as eye exams and eyeglasses. Dr. Alan Peaslee (Eye Health Partners & VisionAmerica, Huntsville, AL) is the medical director of the optical clinic group, which returns home on January 27. Dr. Bill Degenhart (Georgia Eye Institute, Savannah, GA) is the medical director of the surgical group, which returns home on February 3.

Photographs of the team in action are posted in this online album:

For an article on the history of this team from 2013-2017, click here. For more information, contact Dave Sweeterman.

Mission Trip to Las Carreras, February 25-March 3, 2018 [TRIP COMPLETED]
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church (Tifton) sponsored a trip to Las Carreras during February 25-March 3, 2018. This trip marks the sixth year that this team has worked in this community. The main project for the 2018 trip was working on the construction site for a church building for the congregation of Espíritu Santo. The team posted photos in this album on the St. Anne’s Facebook page. For more information, contact Troy Spicer.

Mission Trip to El Pedregal, June 23-30, 2018
Christ Episcopal Church (Valdosta) will sponsor a trip to the Dominican Episcopal camp and conference center in El Pedregal from June 23-30, 2018. This team has worked in this community since 2001. The enrollment period for this team has now closed. For more information, contact Julia Ariail or Julius Ariail.

Mission Trip to Boca Chica, June 23-30, 2018
The Diocese of Georgia will sponsor a trip for youth to Iglesia Episcopal San José in Boca Chica from June 23-30, 2018. The missioners on this team will conduct Vacation Bible School classes at two nearby Episcopal churches, Santo Tomás in Gautier (CLICK FOR MAP LOCATION) and Monte de Sión in the Altagracia barrio of Boca Chica (CLICK FOR MAP LOCATION). For more information, contact the Rev. Joshua Varner, Canon Missioner for Children and Youth, at ( or (912) 236-4279.

The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of the Dominican Republic

The Diocese of the Dominican Republic is a member of The Episcopal Church’s Province IX along with the Dioceses of Colombia, Central Ecuador, Litoral Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Assisted by the work of the Dominican Development Group in funding an endowment to augment the diocesan budget, the Diocese of the Dominican Republic is approaching financial self-sustainability after many years of being dependent on annual supplements from the budget of The Episcopal Church. The 5 mission teams that came from the United States in 2017 to work alongside Episcopal congregations in the Dominican Republic helped to fund many of the ongoing construction projects, social welfare centers, and school programs of the Dominican diocese.

The Companion Diocese Commission

The Companion Diocese Commission of the Diocese of Georgia coordinates the work of our diocesan mission teams and publicizes the work of those teams. The members of the Commission are the leaders of the mission teams within the diocese, and its co-chairs are Julia and Julius Ariail (Christ Church Valdosta).

The Commission and the mission team leaders work in close cooperation with the Mission Team Support Office of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic and with the Dominican Development Group, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization within the Episcopal Church that coordinates the work of all of the companion dioceses to help the Diocese of the Dominican Republic strengthen its programs and achieve financial self-sufficiency. Contributions made to the Diocese of the Dominican Republic through the DDG are currently deductible as charitable contributions under IRS regulations. Contributions made directly to the Diocese of the Dominican Republic are not deductible because that diocese is considered a foreign organization for tax deduction purposes even though it is one of the dioceses that make up The Episcopal Church.

To contact the Commission, send an email message to either of these two addresses: Julia (juliacariail@gmail.comt); Julius ( To contact the Dominican Development Group, send an email message to this address:

Funding Mission Work in the Dominican Republic

The Diocese of Georgia allocated $8,000 in its 2018 budget to support the work of the Dominican Development Group (DDG). Bishop Benhase and his designated representative are members of the DDG Board of Directors. The DDG is a consortium of the eleven dioceses (Central Gulf Coast, Eastern Michigan, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwest Texas, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida, Western Louisiana, and Western Michigan) with companion relationships with the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, and works to coordinate the 50+ mission teams that come from the US each year and raises funds for the DR diocesan endowment, the proceeds from which will eventually lead to the financial self-sustainability of that diocese. Additional GA diocesan funds are budgeted to support travel expenses to attend DDG board meetings in the United States and in the Dominican Republic. Beyond that, all costs of our dynamic relationship with our Dominican Episcopal partners are borne by parishes and individuals that choose to contribute their time and labor and/or their financial resources to projects chosen for mission teams.

¡Vámonos! Let’s Go!

Church building under construction

An opening for a window in Iglesia Episcopal La Reconciliación, a church under construction in Azua, October 2010. This church has now been completed.

Diocesan House

Diocesan House
611 East Bay Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401-1296
Phone (912) 236-4279
Fax (912)236-2007

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Diocesan Calendar

Click on the calendar image above to see the diocesan calendar of events.