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Bishops’ historic trip to Cuba was two years in the planning

The Lead reported back on 12 APR about the group of TEC bishops that visited the Bishop of Cuba, the Rt Revd Griselda Delgado del Carpio and the Episcopal Church of Cuba. This past Tuesday’s edition of the Deseret News, the LDS Church owned newspaper in Salt Lake City, published an interview by a staff reporter with the Rt Revd Scott Hayashi, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah and the other two members of his diocese who accompanied him to Cuba, Amy Perlman O’Donnell, the bishop’s wife and Craig Wirth, spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.

What perhaps many folks didn’t realize back on 12 APR was that the bishops’ trip was two years in the planning! The purpose of the visit was for the TEC bishop’s class of 2011 to visit Bishop Griselda who became the bishop of Cuba in NOV 2010, after having been chosen by the Metropolitan Council of Cuba to be bishop coadjutor of Cuba in JAN of that year. Little did anyone know the convergence of unseen events that would immediately precede the actual trip. The first was President Barak Obama’s steps to normalize relations between the US and Cuba, long strained since the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, led by Fidel Castro.

The second was the Ordinary Synod of the Cuban church voting in favor of seeking readmission into TEC during its FEB 19-22 2015 session. This was a bit of a surprise as the resolution to reunite with TEC was a substitution of a resolution from the diocesan council. The council’s resolution called for consideration and study of the Cuban church joining with one of a number of possible different Anglican provinces nearby geographically. A third event was that the bishops’ trip coincided with the meeting of the World Council of Churches in Cuba. The bishops on this trip were not officially sent to Cuba, but one bishop remarked that it felt like their trip had become a diplomatic mission.

An important occurrence during the trip happened on the evening that Bishop Griselda had invited the bishops to her home. They were surprised that also attending was the head of the Religious Affairs Department of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, Caridad Carillo Bella. She was reported by another Cuban attending the evening to be one of the most powerful members of the Cuban government. Her presence marked the trip’s importance beyond what the group could have envisioned.

And interesting point that the interview with Bishop Hayashi highlighted was perhaps a further development of the Cuban church’s decision to pursue readmission to TEC beyond what was initially reported by Archbishop Fred Hiltz. Archbishop Hiltz is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and a member of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba. He attended the Ordinary Synod in Cuba last FEB and immediately afterward spoke of the fact that Cuba possibly reuniting with TEC was an event for the future. However, Bishop Hayashi, and a couple other TEC bishops, may submit a resolution at General Convention in Salt Lake City to bring the reunion to pass this summer. Bishop Griselda would like to attend General Convention and Bishop Hayashi hopes to have her attend, especially in light of his possible resolution regarding the future of the Cuban church.

Click here to read the entire interview with Bishop Hayashi at the Deseret News website.

photo – Craig Wirth, Episcopal Diocese of Utah

posted by David Allen

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One Comment
  1. +Scott Hayashi

    It is my strong desire that we reunite with The Episcopal Church in Cuba. I am hopeful that at the General Convention we might take the steps that will lead that to happen in good and proper order. Wiser heads than mine will need to work together to make sure that it happens in the best way possible taking the necessary time and conversation that it will require. I think that the best thing that we can do at General Convention is to make a statement that gives our two bodies the encouragement to move forward in conversation and relationship building.

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