St. David’s interest in the Episcopal Church of Cuba (ECC) began in October 2017 when several parishioners attended a dinner in honor of Bishop Griselda 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 the Episcopal church in Cuba. In January and November 2019, St. David’s traveled to Cuba on two mission trips to help install water purification systems for their church communities and partner with a companion parish.
Cuba was separated from the U.S. Episcopal Church back in the 1960’s after the revolution. 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 U.S. Episcopal Church. In March 2019, Presiding Bishop Curry visited Havana and celebrated the formal welcoming of Cuba back to the U.S. Episcopal Church.
About Our Outreach Missions in Cuba
We work in coordination with the Friends of the Episcopal Church of Cuba (FECC) from St. Luke’s in Connecticut. The FECC coordinates all efforts of U.S. churches with the Bishop’s office in Cuba. One of Bishop Griselda’s key visions was to provide purified water for each of the communities where Cuba’s Episcopal churches are located.
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.
Since 1994, St. David’s has had a close relationship with the people of Uganda in Africa. Started through a Companion Diocese relationship, St. David’s involvement over the years has increased exponentially and now we are the largest supporter of two schools in Uganda. There are several buildings, cows and children that bear the names of our church and our generous parishioners.
April 2012 Ugandan Partners visit St. David’s
It was an amazing month for Outreach as we continued to grow our relationship with our partners in Uganda. Sometimes growth is hardly discernible, little increments over time but April wasn’t like that; it was a big jump when Romans Serunjogi and his wife Sarah along with Patrick Wakkonyi and his wife Sarah (yes, two Sarahs) visited us. Since many at St David’s have touched Uganda at some time over our 30-year relationship, Romans and his wife Sarah were known and loved so there was definitely a sense of renewal with their visit. Our engagement in St. Peter’s is newer so this time proved the perfect opportunity to grow our faith together as we cared, shared and learned. And of course had much fun with both families.
It takes a village to raise a child is an African Proverb and it truly felt like a village supporting their visit to the US. There is much to be organized in terms of volunteers and logistics: host families; airport runs, pick up and drop offs, site seeing activities, bible studies to attend, in the case of Romans, an operation to be had, trips to our local outreach and a fun celebration party. But central to it all is relationship; we can certainly have an impact deploying our resources but underlying all our international outreach is our relationship with each other and with Jesus.
Uganda Trip June/July 2009
In the summer of 2009 eight people traveled to Uganda to work in the schools and the Double Cure Medical Clinic. The group was hosted by St. David’s liaison in Uganda, Cynthia Anderson. They took with them donated soccer equipment for the children in Uganda.
St. David’s and Uganda, 2008-2010
2008 brought a very exciting development in St. David’s Uganda Mission, when parishioner Cynthia Anderson answered a call to become St. David’s first in-country outreach liaison. In late February, Cynthia moved to Uganda for a period of two years to live among the people St. David’s has come to love through this outreach mission. Living at Namirembe Guest House (an Anglican-based hostel in Kampala) and teaching English to students at Trinity Children’s Centre, Cynthia has been our eyes and ears, and has hosted several visitors from the US who have traveled to give of their time, talent and treasure to St. David’s Uganda Mission.
St. David’s and Uganda, 2004-2007
In March 2007, seven people traveled to Uganda from St. David’s. On this trip, more parishioners were introduced to the mission, and they also painted and helped as needed at the newly-opened Double Cure Medical Centre. The group also visited the schools that St. David’s supports, and observed continued progress in both the physical plant and in the welfare of the children.
In October 2005, another group from St. David’s traveled to Uganda for the purpose of introducing additional parishioners to this mission and to check on progress of current projects. Among the many changes and growth that were celebrated were: continued improvements in the health of the children at both schools, many building improvements accomplished or in progress according to previous goals, and new machines at the Maize Mill. The group assessed future needs, including building interest in the Uganda Outreach at St. David’s, serving the ongoing needs of the children, and continuing to make improvements to the Maize Mill.
In August 2004 and March 2005, fifteen parishioners traveled to Uganda. Their focus was providing medical care and supplies, and establishing a feeding program for students at the schools. Additionally, our Ugandan team helped with the start of a knitting ministry, which grew out of St. David’s Plentiful Sowers group. This knitting ministry has evolved into a small business for the Ugandan women who learned to knit during this trip.
This programming year was a record year for donations to both Guatemala and Uganda. Almost 100 parishioners donated money to World Gifts while The Gift Shop enabled St. David’s to give over $10, 000 to Guatemala and Uganda.