Thanks to a partnership with Christ Church Greenwich (CCG), San Marcos Parish has a new home in Holguin, Cuba.
That relationship began in June, 2019 with a mission trip led by CCG Rector Marek Zabriskie. The goal was to explore a companionship relationship with an Episcopal Church of Cuba parish. Bishop Griselda encouraged the selection of the newly planted San Marcos Church, led by Father Gil Fat Roy, in Holguin.
Cuba’s third largest city, Holguin has great growth potential and only one Episcopal mission (San Marcos). It is a bustling city with a university, brewery, airport and near-by beach resorts.
The CCG contingent visited Holguin and saw the need, first-hand, for a larger, more permanent worship space. Congregants were standing in the doorway, sitting on stairs and packed into the space. There was no room for growing the congregation or for needed youth, adult and community activities. Church services were taking place in the parlor of a home owned by an elderly woman who had allowed services to be held for the past 11 years, but its future was uncertain.
Relocation options were limited as no new church structures can be built in Cuba and leasing of private or government-owned facilities is not feasible. The only option for an alternate site was to purchase a larger home that could be used full-time for church services and related activities.
A second CCG mission trip returned to Holguin in February, 2020 to assess alternative sites for San Marcos. With the guidance of Father Gil, numerous homes were visited and one was finally selected that met all the key criteria: proximity to the city center, larger worship space, sufficient/flexible layout to expand and develop church, youth and community activities and space for easy public access to a water purification system.
Next steps: securing CCG vestry approval for the house purchase and raising the needed funds. Difficult in the best of times, but then along came the pandemic. However in spite of all the odds, CCG managed to raise the funds needed and the purchase was finalized in July, 2020.
San Marcos now has a new home! Bishop Griselda visited shortly thereafter to celebrate with Father Gil and his parishioners and confirmed six new Episcopalians..
Christ Church Greenwich looks forward to returning to Holguin, post-pandemic, and growing its companion relationship with San Marcos, including youth exchanges and other activities.
Yes, dreams really can come true!