There are currently 40 congregations and missions throughout the four archdeaconries of the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba. The church’s 4,000 members are served by 31 priests. Lay people also take an active part in the life of the church. In 2015, the Cuban church voted at its annual Synod for a renewal of relationship with The Episcopal Church. At its 2018 General Convention, The Episcopal Church voted enthusiastically for the return of the Cuban church, known from that time as the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba. The Right Reverend Griselda Delgado del Carpiois the current diocesan bishop.
A missionary diocese at its outset, the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba serves today in much the same way. It is active in evangelism that emphasizes social and humanitarian work. Young adults and families comprise a significant proportion of this growing church. There is clearly a spiritual hunger among people born after the 1959 revolution. Cuban Episcopalianism, presenting the Christian faith as reasonable and intelligent, appeals to many.
Diocesan parishes are active in Sunday worship and weekday prayers. Church members are keen to meet visitors in conversations about mission and outreach, liturgical revision and evangelism. Time and again, when traveling in Havana and in the interior and along the coastlines, one hears “Tell your people to come; your youth groups, clergy, musicians and seminary faculty. We miss you. We welcome you. Come with your gifts and skills and enthusiasm for praising God through worship, song, and mission. We face many challenges. We cannot do what is needed on our own. We must work together. Solidarity, companionship, being one with another in Christ will accomplish what must be done.”
Toward achieving “what must be done” the Diocese of Cuba at its annual synod in February 2017 unanimously passed the next phase of its Strategic Mission Plan containing major development areas, strategic directions and detailed implementation schedules.
Of critical importance in implementing the plan is the creation of a stable, reliable funding base. Bishop Delgado states: “We have human and material resources, and local opportunities for skills training. What we really need is funding” for mission and for the upgrading of church infrastructure. Communications and information technologies, the restoration of parish buildings and properties, and transportation—the church’s “hardware” for mission—is sadly out of date or out of service.
An equally important mission priority is strengthening the knowledge and skills of clergy and laity for community-based ministry, including training for social analysis, project proposal development, and local leadership. Bishop Delgado reminds us, “Mission begins with people, where they are with various needs, interests and skills led by trained, capable clergy and lay leaders.”