Rev. Izett Samá Hernández will be one of 14 International Peacemakers in the U.S. this fall
by Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — Cuba has a lot of challenges for a minister, including widespread poverty, repression, violence, and other circumstances which can lead to apathy in a congregation and a community.
But the Rev. Izett Samá Hernández of The Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba (Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformed en Cuba) has found that the very word she preaches from brings a message of liberation to lift her congregation and community.
“My work now is in a community in the countryside,” Hernández wrote. “We have a very active church with a lot of social projects to help people in many ways. Our country now has a difficult economic situation and we try to help the people know how we can make changes in our community by themselves.”
Hernández will be telling people in the United States about her work this fall as one of 14 International Peacemakers hosted by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. Peacemakers will be traveling around the country to visit with churches and other groups from Sept. 13 to Oct. 7. Mid-Councils, clusters of congregations, and educational institutions may apply to host a peacemaker.
When she visits, Hernández wrote that she will talk “about justice, about the Bible as a liberation word, about how the church can help in the society in terms of rights, participation, and popular education.”
In addition to her church, Hernández works with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center (Centro Memorial Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) in Havana, an ecumenical organization that strives for social justice “with an emancipatory Christian inspiration,” according to a description at the Global Ministries website.
Hernández, an AfroCuban woman, did her thesis at the Protestant Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Matanzas, Cuba on AfroCuban participation in her denomination. She has written various articles on religion and race, according to a short biography submitted to the Peacemaking Program.
“We work from the popular education methodology, and all the people involved change their lives when they know the possibility of participating in the transformation of the community,” she wrote, answering questions submitted by the Peacemaking Program. “For example, the women’s group learns different occupations, and they have economic autonomy in their homes.”
She wrote that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has actively supported projects in her national church and her community. And she is grateful to participate in the International Peacemakers program, particularly to talk about issues that align with the Matthew 25 invitation.
“My national church chose me,” she wrote, “because part of my work is about human rights, racism, and inclusive communities.”
You may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.