Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cuba's Episcopal Church to convene Synod, Metropolitan Council meeting

Cuba's Episcopal Church to convene Synod, Metropolitan Council meeting
Participating Anglican Primates will include Presiding Bishop Katharine
Jefferts Schori

Monday, January 29, 2007
[Episcopal News Service] Local leadership of the Episcopal Church of
Cuba will welcome Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to take her
seat on its Metropolitan Council February 1 in Havana, and to address
its annual Synod meeting February 2-4 in Cardenas.

"I very much look forward to meeting sister and brother Episcopalians in
Cuba," said Jefferts Schori, who will also visit the ecumenical
seminary, Seminario Evangelico de Teologico, in Matanzas on February 3.
"I am eager to learn firsthand about the mission and ministry that is
carried out so faithfully in local contexts, notably with excellence in
literacy and social services."

Matanzas is the site of Cuba's oldest Episcopal church, Fieles a Jesus,
founded in 1883 after U.S. missionary work that dates from 1871 in
Havana. Some 3,500 Episcopalians in 40 congregations comprise the Cuban
church today, which is based at Havana's Holy Trinity Cathedral and led
since 2004 by Interim Bishop Miguel Tamayo, who is also bishop of Uruguay.

After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, and the subsequent deterioration of
relations with the United States, the Metropolitan Council was formed in
1967. In the same year, the Cuban church became an extra-provincial
diocese unaffiliated with the U.S.-based Episcopal Church or any other
province of the Anglican Communion.

Active members of the Metropolitan Council have included the Archbishop
of Canada, the Archbishop of the West Indies, and the Presiding Bishop
of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, who in previous years has also been
represented by a bishop of the Episcopal Church's Province 9, which
includes other Caribbean and Latin American dioceses. Considerable
leadership of the Council has been provided over time by the Canadian

Attending the Council's February 1 meeting -- and marking its 40th year
-- will be Canada's Archbishop Andrew Hutchison and Archbishop Drexel
Gomez of the West Indies, together with Jefferts Schori.

Accompanying the Presiding Bishop to Cuba will be her husband, Richard
Schori, and a mission resource team including the Rev. Juan Marquez,
Caribbean and Latin American Partnership Officer in the Episcopal Church
Center's Office of Anglican and Global Relations; Suzanne Baillie,
in-house counsel; Sharon Jones-Coombs, staff assistant in the Presiding
Bishop's Office; and Canon Robert Williams, communication director for
the Episcopal Church.

The visit follows the February 2006 Cuba visit of the 25th Presiding
Bishop, Frank Griswold, who with his delegation was received by
President Fidel Castro. Following that visit, the Episcopal Church's
Executive Council adopted the following resolution at its November
12–15, 2006, meeting in Chicago.

"Resolved, That the Executive Council, meeting in Chicago, IL, November
12-15, 2006, calls for an immediate end to all portions of the United
States economic embargo against the Republic of Cuba, particularly
revisions to the embargo implemented by the U.S. Department of State in
2004; and be it further

"Resolved, That dioceses and congregations in the Episcopal Church
consider the establishment of companion relationships with the Episcopal
Church of Cuba in order to help support the IEC spiritually and, where
possible, financially; and be it further

"Resolved, That, in order to promote the exchange of religious and
political ideals, all members of the Episcopal Church are encouraged to
travel to Cuba subject to the availability of licenses from the U.S.
government where applicable; and receive delegations from the Episcopal
Church of Cuba subject to approval by the U.S. government where
applicable; and be it further

"Resolved, That the Episcopal Church recommit itself at all levels to
pray for the reconciliation of the United States and the Republic of
Cuba, in the Name of the Prince of Peace."

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