Global Ministries ready to usher in new era of partnership with Cuban churches
Surprised by the news this week that the United States would end five decades of sanctions against Cuba, leaders of the United Church of Christ are looking forward to an opportunity to work more closely partners from the island nation.
It also marks an opportunity for the UCC to build and strengthen relationships with the Cuban ecumenical community that will benefit the people of both countries.
“Despite the embargo, we’ve been able to work with our partners in Cuba. Certainly with this welcome news, we look forward to working even closer with our partners in the future, however that may be,” said the Rev. James Moos, executive minister of UCC Wider Church Ministries and co-executive of Global Ministries.
President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday, Dec. 18, that the governments of both nations would normalize their diplomatic and commercial relations, expanding American opportunities for travel and trade. The decision finally ended an embargo that dates back 50 years to an era of the Cold War when the two nations were on the brink of conflict.
Moos said the announcement “was something that we were not expecting, but it is something that we are celebrating.”
“Normalization will enable us to work with them more effectively in a number of ways, including people-to-people exchanges,” Moos added. “Two years ago the Conference of Latin American Churches was scheduled to meet in Havana, but it had to be called off since it wasn’t possible to transfer funds into the country from the U.S.”
Global Ministries—the shared ministry of the UCC and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)—has four partners in Cuba: Centro Memorial Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Concilio de Iglesias de Cuba (CIC), Evangelical Seminary of Theology, and Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostal de Cuba (ICPC).
Other ecumenical organizations in the U.S. hailed the news that normal relations would resume between the two countries, thankful for the work of the faith community in the process.
“We are pleased that our churches played a part in leading the way to the events of this week,” the National Council of Church and Cuban Council of Churches said in a joint statement. “We are grateful also for the witness of those who tirelessly work for reconciliation.”
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