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Friends of the Episcopal Church in Cuba
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Brief History of the ECC

Past

  • In the decades prior to the revolution, the ECC and the Episcopal Church of the US had a very close relationship.  All churches and ECC schools were built during this time.

  • Immediately following the revolution in 1959, the work of the church was limited to celebrating the sacraments, because the government tried to fulfil all the material and spiritual needs of the people. Atheism was the declared state, and detention camps were established for those who openly practiced religion.  An entire generation was lost from the church.

  • In the early 1960’s, and in the context of the embargo and during their time of greatest need, the ECC was ‘granted independence’ from the Episcopal Church of the US.

  • In the early 90’s, Cuba abruptly lost economic support from Russia.  The country’s economy was decimated, with everyone immediately feeling the effects.

  • At this point, the government requested that the people come together, and invited the church to assume and active role in the country’s recovery.

  • After 25 years as Rector of two churches in the province of Matanzas, Griselda Delgado del Carpio was named Bishop of the ECC in the 2010.  

  •  She launched a 'radical' agenda transforming the Church from a focus within the four walls to a broader approach, making the ECC the light of each community.

  • In 2011, Bishop Griselda and her team developed the first strategic plan for the diocese (2011-2013) that defined a clear vision and path for the ECC to follow.  This plan was updated in 2014.

  • The ECC established the Missionary Development Program (PDM) in 2013 to develop opportunities that promote a better quality of life in communities, and strengthen capabilities within each community. This program, supported by the Episcopal Relief Fund (ERD) and the Primate's World Relief & Development Fund (PWRDF), has directly benefited 230 people in 26 communities with 25 projects and micro-enterprises. 

 

Present

  • In July of 2018, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies voted unanimously to welcome the Episcopal Church of Cuba back into the US Episcopal Church.

  • 2019 was a year of preparation and training, as the church in Cuba prepares to adopt the Canons and Constitution of the US Episcopal Church. 

  • Formal integration occurred at the March 2020 Synod in Cuba.

  • Today the pastoral and ministerial work of the ECC is based on the philosophy that nourishing the bodies of their brothers and sisters enables the ECC to nurture their hearts and minds.

  • Special consideration is placed on vulnerable groups in communities across the country, especially adolescents/youth, women and elderly.

  • Today, the ECC is a church that is growing and increasingly impacting communities throughout Cuba.

  • The physical infrastructure of the ECC is in urgent need of restoration. Itabo, Cuatro Esquinas and Santiago de Cuba are evidence of the kind of physical and community transformations the ECC team is able to achieve (see success stories tab). 

  • The ECC has a well-trained team, but not enough people to meet the needs – either within the clergy, or the administrative team. 

  • Today, the operating budget of the ECC is now financed by the US Episcopal church.  However, the budget – which needs to support 52 churches and communities, 28 clergy, an administrative team and all aspects of the churches ministry - is insufficient at only $150,000 US per year.

  • The Episcopal Diocese of Florida has been particularly supportive of the ECC over a long period of time – not only financially, but also spiritually. 

  • Many other churches have, or are currently, supported the ECC on a project by project basis (see what churches are doing what to help tab). 

  • The ECC has now installed 34 UV water purification systems in churches (up from 17 three years ago) that have been paid for and installed by various churches/church groups in the US. In many cases, these systems are the only secure source of safe, clean water in the villages and surrounding areas.  

Future

As the ECC looks to the future, there are four key strategies that will enable them to leverage all that they have achieved and overcome the challenges in Cuba in order to achieve their vision and transform the greatest possible number of communities and Cuban lives by 2022.  Those strategies and plans are as follows:

Expand the missionary and pastoral work of the ECC

  1. Continue transforming our churches into vibrant community centers that include everyone possible. 

 

Build an infrastructure that supports our vision. 

  1. Restore and develop the physical infrastructure of our properties.

  2. Create a vibrant Episcopal campus of worship and sustainability education (ecological, economic, social and spiritual).  

 

Maximize the potential of our team. 

  1. Complete the clergy team of the ECC.

  2. Unleash the potential of the management team. 

  3. Strengthen the appeal of vocations in ordained Ministry. 

 

Pursue new sources of funding. 

 

Create the means for the Church to generate a source of sustainable incremental income at the local, archdiocesan and diocesan level.