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Global Mission Team: Cuba

Global Mission Team: Cuba

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Global Mission team to Cuba

Mission: Build Christ-centered relationships with staff and members of churches in Remedios and Cardenas. Support development and education of new pastors at Evangelical Theological Seminary (SET) to meet growing demand.

Who We Serve: Presbyterian members and staff in Cuba.

Our Partners:
Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba (IPRC) – consists of one Synod (PRCC) and 32 organized churches in three presbyteries (Havana, Matanzas, and El Centro)

Reformed Presbyterian Churches – in Remedios, Havana, Luyano and Cardenas.

Evangelical Theological Seminary (SET) – Located in Matanzas, SET is the only ecumenical seminary in Cuba, providing high quality, diversified theological education to over 200 students annually. SET prepares young church leaders to meet the challenges of growth in existing local congregations and pursue new church developments throughout Cuba.

Cuba Partners Network – created in 2000 to expand the reach of PC(USA) partnerships in Cuba.

Why Cuba

In 1962, Castro officially declared Cuba an atheist state, confiscating church property and forbidding Christians to join the Communist party. By 1979 Cuban Presbytery membership dropped from 4,300 to 1,289. In 1992, a more conciliatory position was adopted and today Presbyterian membership has grown to over 15,000, with 70% joining the last 15 years. Despite this religious revival, Cuba continues to fall foul of international bodies over human rights abuses – disillusioned youth take desperate measures to leave as economic hardships resulting as the government struggles to balance growth with state control.

  • Crisis of leadership – Shortage of Presbyterian pastors – 31 pastors for 53 congregations
  • Average wages $20-30/month
  • 18% of the population is over the age of 60 – the oldest in Latin America
  • ‘La doble moral’ – Population, especially youth greatly affected by growing cynicism and moral vacuum, leading to spreading prostitution, corruption, and black marketeering

Presbyterian History of Engagement

1890 – Cuba’s first Presbyterian Church established in Havana
1892 – Remedios Mission organized by missionary John Walton, an evangelical Presbyterian minister
1899 – Cardenas Mission founded by Evaristo Collazo and John Hall. Later renamed Juan G Hall Reformed Presbyterian
1946 – Evangelical Theological Seminary (SET) established in Matanzas
2002 – MPPC Cuba team renewed connections, establishing partnerships with SET and IPRC in Remedios

Current Approach

Theological Training: In partnership with SET – fund scholarships, program development, library acquisitions and increasing administration and faculty needs. In addition to their coursework, SET students serve churches on the weekends and engage in service with HIV/AIDS programs, community centers, orphanages, and hospitals.

Church support: In partnership with IPRC churches, build relationships with staff and members of IPRC churches through MPPC funded mission trips and pastor exchanges. Provide funds to restore 100-year-old church in Remedios, including pastor’s quarters, sanctuary roof and walls, education/meeting room, kitchen and overnight accommodation.