St. David’s interest in the Episcopal Church of Cuba (ECC) began in October 2017 when several parishioners attended a dinner in honor of the Bishop of Cuba at St. Thomas’ Whitemarsh. It was followed by a pilgrimage to Cuba in February 2018 to visit with the Bishop and learn more about Cuba and its 46 Episcopal Churches.
In July 2018 at the General Convention in Austin, Texas, the House of Bishops voted unanimously to re-admit Cuba as a diocese of the Episcopal Church. Cuba was separated from the Episcopal Church back in the 1960’s after the revolution. Click here to read the news release.
About Our Outreach Missions in Cuba
St. David’s has been working in coordination with the Bishop of Cuba whose vision is to provide purified water for each of the communities where Cuba’s Episcopal churches are located. Nine parishioners from St. David’s traveled to central Cuba in January 2019 with four people from the Clean Water Drinking Team (CDWT) from West Palm Beach, Florida. We worked with the local priests and congregations and together three water systems were installed in Episcopal churches in Moron, Ciego de Avila and Jiqui. We shared fellowship and celebrated the clean water that is now available to the parishioners and their local communities.
Next, we traveled by bus to Havana and visited the Bishop and her staff at the Episcopal Cathedral. We discussed our wish to continue to partner to provide additional water systems in Cuba. We explored Havana to learn more about the history and culture of the city. Sunday service was celebrated by the mission team at La Resurreccion Church in Luyano, Havana. While there we saw the water system that a St. David’s granted funded in May 2018 and was installed by the CWDT. Also while in Cuba, we distributed 65 Days for Girls kits (Project Ensonga) and taught the girls and women in four communities (Moron, Ceballos, Ciego de Avila and Luyano, Havana) how to use and care for them. These kits provide a safe, washable and long-lasting alternative to keep girls and women in school or at work when they have their periods when feminine hygiene products are not readily available or too expensive.
We are working in coordination with the Friends of the Episcopal Church of Cuba (FECC) from St. Luke’s in Connecticut who coordinates all of the efforts of US churches with the Bishop’s office in Cuba. We applied for and were awarded a St. David’s grant in January 2019 to build additional water systems in Cuba. We are working with the FECC to plan our next water purification installations in Rodas and Matanzas, and begin a companion parish relationship. Read FECC’s posting about six recent water installations in Cuba, you might recognize a few St. David’s parishioners! This summer we are starting a Spanish for Missioners class so our parishioners can better communicate with our fellow Episcopalians in Cuba and Guatemala. If you would like more information or to get involved, contact Lois Redmond or Dana Hall.
St. David’s Cuba Timeline
- Welcome dinner for the Bishop of Cuba at St. Thomas Whitemarsh, October 2017
- Pilgrimage to Cuba lead by Marek Zabrieski, Rector, St. Thomas’ Whitemarsh, including St. David’s, Church of the Advocate and St. Paul’s in February 2018. The group shared fellowship, brought Spanish prayer books, a Project Ensonga kit and funding for relief work from Hurricane Irma (2017) and help to rebuild San Filipe Diacono Episcopal Church in Limonar.
- Meeting to organize Diocese of PA churches for Cuba partnership – April 2018
- Article written in Anglican World April 2018 issue by Marek Zabrieski, about the findings from the February 2018 pilgrimage. Cover picture and article on page 22 at this link.
- Article in DioPA’s Caminos Spring/Summer 2018 issue about the Feb 2018 Pilgrimage to Cuba, picture and article on page 18, click here.
- Funding sent from St. Thomas via FECC in May 2018 for two water systems, help to rebuild San Felipe Diacono, Bishop’s delegation to attend General Convention and legal fees to reregister church properties in Cuba
- Grant funding sent from St. David’s in May 2018 to the Clean Drinking Water Team to help install four water systems, 2 in Havana and 2 in Limonar. Sent Project Ensonga kits to the Bishop.
- January 2019 mission trip to Cuba to install three water systems and bring Project Ensonga kits to central Cuba.
St. David’s has been involved in outreach efforts in Guatemala since 1999, as part of the Companion Diocese program of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. During that time we have provided money for education, clean water and building projects, and our parishioners have traveled there several times on mission trips. We began by simply visiting to listen to our Guatemalan companions tell us of their hopes and needs and to share their lives. Later we started sending work groups, first through Habitat for Humanity and then to work with our companions on construction projects and other missions.