Cuban synod looks at rebuilding and renewal

Published February 20, 2009

Archdeacon Michael Pollesel, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, has returned from Cuba, where he represented the Metropolitan Council of Cuba at the annual synod of the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba.The Metropolitan Council – comprised of the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the U.S. presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church and the primate of the West Indies – is chaired by the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and has overseen the church in Cuba since it separated from The Episcopal Church in 1967. The council normally meets just before the synod in Cuba, but because it coincided with the recent meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Egypt, it met earlier and sent Mr. Pollesel as its representative.”One of the main issues [Cuban churches] are dealing with is one that is pretty common in Cuban society and that is just being able to obtain materials for the upkeep of their church buildings,” Mr. Pollesel said. “Because of the [U.S.] blockade, materials are very scarce,” he said, noting that this ongoing problem was magnified by the damage done by Hurricane Ike, which hit Cuba last September. Grace Church in Milton, Ont. has run a program called Coins for Cuba for the past few years to collect money for the diocese in Cuba and is now looking into the feasibility of sending building materials from Canada.A proposal to divide the diocese into two dioceses, which would ease travel difficulties for the bishop, is still being considered. Mr. Pollesel said there was also discussion about electing a new diocesan bishop. Bishop Miguel Tamayo of Uruguay was appointed on an interim basis five years ago by the Metropolitan Council. Due to various tensions, Cuba has not elected its own diocesan bishop in 18 years. Mr. Pollesel says he continues to be impressed with how much the church in Cuba does with its few resources and by the worship services energized by wonderful Cuban music.


  • Leigh Anne Williams

    Leigh Anne Williams joined the Anglican Journal in 2008 as a part-time staff writer. She also works as the Canadian correspondent for Publishers Weekly, a New York-based trade magazine for the book publishing. Prior to this, Williams worked as a reporter for the Canadian bureau of TIME Magazine, news editor of Quill & Quire, and a copy editor at The Halifax Herald, The Globe and Mail and The Bay Street Bull.

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