Tuesday, January 13
Central Florida Presbytery
Two years ago, members of Central Florida Presbytery were given an opportunity to visit with Christian brothers and sisters in Cuba. Three different groups traveled there to explore the possibility of establishing a partnership with the Presbyterian-Reformed Church of Cuba’s El Centro Presbytery. In March 2013, a team of 11 visited El Centro and toured its 14 congregations. They came back passionate advocates for partnership and have led our presbytery in forging a strong connection to El Centro.
Diane Watkins, who chairs the presbytery’s partnership committee and was an earlier visitor to Cuba, shared the following: “My biggest memory of my trip was having every one of my questions answered with ‘That is complicated.’ Our governments make everything so complicated. And yet how simple was the love and laughter I experienced when talking with a young man one on one, using only my Spanish-English pocket dictionary to bridge the language gap. We both were able to enjoy our time together and shared in the love and fellowship of being children of God together.”
This partnership has been full of lessons in being compassionate and in listening to prophetic voices. We have had to learn to be patient, to move forward only when our partners are ready. And we have practiced listening carefully to their needs, hopes, and words of caution, to make sure that what we create will be healthy and lasting. Most importantly, we have learned that no matter how complicated a situation becomes—and working with multiple languages, churches, presbyteries, and even countries does present frequent complications!—God’s love shows forth best in the one-on-one moments. Conversations, emails, visits, hugs, smiles—these are the tools of partnership and provide the inspiration to become better disciples at home and abroad.
In February 2014, two representatives of El Centro visited Central Florida, evidence that our partnership continues to take root and grow.
Central Florida Presbytery is home to 71 congregations.
—Rev. Debra Cox, chair, mission development committee, and Diane Watkins, chair, global mission subcommittee
Let us join in prayer for:
Dan Williams, executive presbyter / stated clerk
Karen Daniel, office and finance manager
Cheryl Carson, leadership and resource coordinator
Barbara Sayles, hunger action enabler
Daurice Dawson, collegiate ministry coordinator
Jody Mask, administrative assistant
Grover Crawford, treasurer
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Lord of all times, nations, and peoples, help us to see each other through your eyes, celebrating the love you have given that binds us together. We ask your blessing upon the churches and peoples of Cuba and at home, so that we might be and make disciples in your name. Amen.