A proposal to fund an office of integrated development for the Episcopal diocese of Cuba will be submitted for approval this April to a program review committee of Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF).
The office will launch a three-year “capacity-building” project to train 25 community leaders annually, at the end of which they are expected to create a project proposal for their locality, said Adele Finney, executive director of PWRDF, the Anglican Church of Canada’s relief and development agency. Fourteen projects will eventually be chosen for funding by the diocese.
The Episcopal Church in the United States’ Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) agency is expected to also fund the office over a three-year period, said Archdeacon Michael Thompson, the Anglican Church of Canada’s general secretary. “What a wonderful rich network of Anglicans working together to make a new thing happen,” Thompson said in his report to the spring meeting of CoGS March 14 to 17.
“One of the exciting things about this is that the PWRDF’s strategic plan has a lot about dynamic partnerships” and this is one of them, said Finney in an interview. “There are all sorts of connections that can hopefully not only breathe new life and new work in Cuba, but also connect us in new ways.”
These connections involve the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who chairs both the Metropolitan Council of Cuba and the PWRDF board. But other parts of the Canadian church, among them the diocese of Niagara, also enjoy a long-standing companion relationship with the Cuban diocese, Finney noted. Most recently, the diocese of Niagara—through PWRDF—sent about $30,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief to Cuba.
Last year, diocese of Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado Del Carpio attended the Sacred Circle, the triennial meeting of indigenous Anglicans in Canada. Delgado, herself an indigenous person from Bolivia, “was profoundly moved by the circle, as were the people by her ministry,” Finney noted.
Jose Zarate, PWRDF Latin America/Caribbean co-ordinator, was actively involved in helping the diocese establish its proposal for the office of integrated development, said Finney. He is expected to sit at its advisory council—along with his ERD counterpart—if PWRDF participation is approved.
Thompson said the relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Cuban diocese is an example of “faithful partnership in a global communion.” The relationship began when former primate Archbishop Ted Scott “took an interest in how the Cuban church, separated from its province [the American Episcopal Church] by the economic blockade and travel restrictions, could sustain a sense of participation in the wider Anglican Communion,” he said.
This relationship involves Canadian leadership in the Metropolitan Council of Cuba, “which offers support and counsel to the bishop and people of the Cuban church,” explained Thompson. Aside from Hiltz, council members also include U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Archbishop John Holder, primate of the Church in the Province of the West Indies. Thompson acts as secretary of the Metropolitan Council, which typically meets a day before the Cuba diocese’s annual synod.
The diocese of Cuba’s music festival, which some Canadian Anglicans have supported through “Gifts for Mission,” the Anglican Church of Canada’s gift guide to support ministries in Canada and overseas, is having a positive impact, Thompson also reported. Held for a week each summer in the Anglican cathedral in Havana, the festival “has had a dramatic impact on the song of the church, a song that we encountered and that lifted our spirits at the diocesan synod,” he said.