The Cuba Unity Mission Area began in 1997 and will celebrate 15 years of witness and service this year. There are four districts: Havana, Matanzas, Camaguey and Holguin. A total of eight ordained pastors and nine lay pastors provide leadership. The work includes eight congregations and 12 “fraternities” (fellowships), and approximately 330 total members. The ministry of the churches includes worship, Christian education, service to those in need, outreach to children, women’s ministry, and evangelism.
The Mission Area is led by an executive board and recently became an associate member of the Cuba Council of Churches (with some 27 participating church bodies). Hopefully, the Moravian Church will be officially recognized by the Cuban government during 2012, which will permit moving forward with plans for much-needed facilities and greater opportunities for ministry.
While Roman Catholicism is Cuba’s predominant religion, it is estimated that 1 million of the 11 million residents of Cuba are evangelical Christians.
On Saturday during the visit we met for several hours with pastors and leaders from the various districts. (A trip from Holguin to Havana by car would take 12 hours). The meeting was hosted by the congregation of the president of the Cuban Council of Churches.
Our delegation also met with a government minister in charge of relationships with evangelical Christian churches and heard a presentation by family members of some Cubans who are imprisoned in the U.S. Later that day a special program was presented by the Moravians in the Havana area that included songs by the children, a special liturgy for women emphasizing their partnership with Jesus, reading a brief history of the Moravian Church, and singing a hymn composed for the occasion that gave an outline of Moravian history.
As this new partnership begins there will be many opportunities for cooperation in such things as training of pastors and leaders, furnishing resources translated into Spanish, provision and improvement of worship and gathering spaces, and organizational development. Your prayers are invited for our brothers and sisters in Cuba.
The Rev. David B. Guthrie is president of the Provincial Elders’ Conference of the Southern Province and a member of the Board of World Mission. Photos courtesy of Sam Gray.
From the April 2012 Moravian Magazine