Mission worker: Jo Ella Holman, regional liaison for the Caribbean
From the Latin America Working Group:
Leave a message for the president: Join the 188 nations and end the U.S. embargo on Cuba
On Oct 29, 2013, the United Nations will vote on a resolution condemning the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba. This is the 22nd year in a row that the UN has voted with a majority denouncing this out-dated Cuba policy.
Religious leaders urge direct talks between U.S., Cuba
21 U.S. religious leaders—including PC(USA) General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons—sent a letter to President Obama urging “concrete action to pursue a path toward improved relations with Cuba.”
Council of Churches of Cuba partners with U.S. Rainbow Coalition PUSH emphasizing political and ecumenical cooperation, including end to ‘terrorism’ statu —Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency
Religious leaders—including PC(USA) G.A. stated clerk—urge ‘path toward improved relations with Cuba’
As next steps the 19 leaders urged:
• direct, high-level dialogue with the Cuban government.
• removal of Cuba from the United States' list of state sponsors of terrorism.
• lifting of all restrictions on purposeful people-to-people travel between the United States and Cuba.
Church leaders affirm Cuban religious reforms
“Religious groups have benefited from the reforms now taking place in Cuba"
Water purification system fuels Cuban congregation’s outreach
Living Waters for the World installed a water purification system at Prince of Peace Church, and life for the people of this community changed dramatically
Led by faith, Cuban farmers create sustainable agriculture and community
CLAI VI GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Havana (May 2013):
• "Parliamentariatitis" in procedural hassles during opening business; Cuba’s religious affairs director warmly received
What U.S. Presbyterians should learn from Latin American Christians: a conga line dancing down the aisles during worship. What Latin American Christians should not have learned from U.S. Presbyterians: parliamentary procedure. —Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC)
• Lutheran Argentinean – Ecuadorian pastor, Rev. Felipe Adolf, elected new president of CLAI
Following five ballots, Adolf was elected on May 24, 2013, as President of the Board of Directors of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI). .”—Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC)
• Recounting CLAI’s history using Luke 8
The ecumenical movement frequently uses the imagery of a boat, CLAI General Secretary Nilton Giese told the organization’s sixth General Assembly on May 24. —Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC)
• Voices at the CLAI VI General Assembly
New CLAI President values regional ecumenical relations.—Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC)
• Youth call for equality and women for empowerment
In a statement to the CLAI assembly, interrupting a plenary session, youth expressed their dissatisfaction at the “almost null youth participation in the delegations attending the assembly,” while the women reaffirmed their purpose of deconstructing the hegemonic and ‘machista’ models in the churches. —Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC)
• Christian spirituality demands a more Samaritan Church, assembly told at closing service
Delegates, advisors and guests have returned to their home countries following a week of debates at the VI General Assembly of the CLAI, held in Havana May 20-25. Each participant carried a cross on their chest, made from the wooden remains of the houses that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy last year.—Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC)
Cubans see Internet as crucial to future development—Inter Press Service
Cuba Mission Network maintains close relationship between PC(USA) and Cuban Presbyterians
View a slideshow from the network meeting in December 2012
Plans begin in Havana for the CLAI VI Assembly; Latin American Council of Churches meeting will be the first in Cuba
Latin American Council of Churches to meet in Cuba
“Affirming an Ecumenism of Concrete Gestures” is the CLAI's theme'
Presbyterian witness in Cuba began in 1890. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) continues the tradition of Christian support through our partner church and mission personnel. The gospel is preached in more than 40 communities across four provinces in central Cuba. Congregations also reach out to elderly persons and others particularly affected by the country’s economic problems. Through the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanza students receive preparation for ministry. Lay leaders receive training through programs around the island. There are many PC(USA) congregation and presbytery partnerships with Cuban churches and presbyteries.
Read a brief history of Cuba.
The Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba (IPRC)
In 1890 Evaristo P. Collazo started churches in Havana and Santa Clara. In the same year he became acquainted with a Presbyterian from the United States, Anthony T. Graybill. By 1918 the friendship of these two men had given birth to a Presbyterian Church in Cuba related to the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.’s National Mission program. The relationship with the U.S. church was so strong that until the time of the Cuban revolution in 1959 Cuba was part of the Synod of New Jersey. In 1967 the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba (IPRC) was established as an autonomous denomination.
While no diplomatic relationships between the United States and Cuba have existed for many years, the two churches have maintained a close relationship. A Mutual Mission Agreement adopted by both General Assemblies celebrates the unity of Christ, a common Reformed tradition and the sharing in “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.” The Agreement details a commitment to sharing and exchange.
The IPRC has three presbyteries and a General Assembly. New energy is felt all over Cuba as the Cuban people are returning to their Christian roots or are joining the Christian community for the first time.
Although the IPRC has highly trained and skilled leaders and church school teachers, there are too few to meet the increasing needs. Theological and Christian education are high priorities for the Cuban church. Each year a curriculum is written and sent to all churches, and workshops provide training for new leaders. Throughout the years the women’s organization has given strength and vitality to the church. Women pastors are accepted and valued for their leadership and faithfulness. The church in Cuban society today has become an important place for those who are searching for meaning and spirituality. The IPRC is moving into new areas of pastoral ministry to meet the needs and concerns.
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Cuba Mission Network
- For information contact: email@example.com
The Cuba Mission Network is among more than 40 networks that connect Presbyterians who share a common mission interest. Most participants are involved in mission partnerships through congregations, presbyteries or synods. Network members come together to coordinate efforts, share best practices and develop strategies.
The Thoughtful Christian, produced by Westminster John Knox Press, is a web-based curriculum series on contemporary issues, Bible and theology, Christian living and more. Included is “Understanding Cuba” (two sessions). The studies cost $5 per session.
Learn more about Cuba
Visit the BBC country profile.