When he set out on his journey to Haiti in 1871, it was not Bishop Whipple’s intention to go to Cuba. And as such, it was also not his intention to help establish the Episcopal Church in Cuba. Yet, the Holy Spirit has a way of taking us to places and communities that we never imagined we would go.
The first time I landed in Cuba in 2010, I was wearing my “Bishop shirt” and Bishop Whipple’s pectoral cross. The reverence the Cuban Episcopalians demonstrated to me was surreal. It all became clear a few hours later, when I walked into the Cathedral. There was both a sizable picture of Bishop Whipple with his pectoral cross, as well as a plaque in his honor.
Since my maiden voyage to Cuba, I have been blessed to return a number of times. Each visit is its own adventure and feeds an ever-growing partnership with the Episcopal Church in Cuba and a growing awareness of the needs of the Cuban people.
The Episcopal Church of Minnesota seeks to continue the intercambio with the Cuban people, which began with Bishop Whipple, and continues with witnessing the exuberant Christian faith of the Cuban people. We believe international ministry is a fundamental part of living Christ’s mission – and we look to bridge cultural gaps in a safe, open, and trusting way in Christ. We follow the model of Jesus – of offering our love, friendship, and support, and we look to help in opening doors of communication between the people of Cuba and the US. We pledge our friendship and support of reconciliation as an example of faith practice. We know that it is only through open hearts, hands and minds that we will be able to have this exchange – in order to grow as human beings with a future of hope and peace.
I would like to invite all of our faith communities in ECMN to both consider supporting and joining with our partners in the Episcopal Church in Cuba as we engage God’s mission there. One place to start might be the upcoming mission trip to Cuba from June 15-23.
If you are interested, please take a closer look at the details here.