Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Unity and Southern Province delegation travels to Cuba

On January 13-15 Bishop Sam Gray and David Guthrie visited the Cuba Unity Mission Area. They joined Paul Gardner, Chair of the Unity Board; Jørgen Bøytler, Unity Business Administrator; and Rene Henriquez, a pastor from Grand Cayman who has been involved in contacts with Cuba for many years.In October 2011, the Southern Province Provincial Elders’ Conference agreed to a request from the Unity Board Executive Committee to accept partnership with the work in Cuba, which had been supported by the Jamaica Province. Our PEC asked the Board of World Mission to assume responsibility for coordinating this partnership. The purpose of the visit to Cuba was to meet with a group of church leaders and to formally begin this new relationship for the sake of the Gospel.

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

Moravian Daily Texts


Friday, July 20 — Psalm 88:1–5
Deuteronomy 29:22–31:8; Luke 10:17–24

I will bring them through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. Zechariah 13:9 (NKJV)

Paul wrote: We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3–4

God, sometimes life feels too difficult to bear and we cannot feel you with us. Help us to be more aware of your presence even in the most challenging situations, and strengthen us to face the day. Amen.

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