The origins of this project date from the fall of 2004. As the newly appointed Outreach Coordinator for Grace Anglican Church Milton, Ontario, I asked if the congregation had considered the material needs of our prayer partner in Cuba, the small mission church of San Pedro, Jobabo. While our congregation had been praying for, and continues to pray for the small mission church of San Pedro, the parish knew little else about our spiritual Brothers and Sisters in Cuba
Through the Diocese of Cuba I was able to established contact (Thanks to the wonders of e-mail) with Archdeacon Juan Antonio Gonzalez, rector of San Pedro, who lives in Camaguey. Fr. Juan has charge not only for San Pedro but five other congregations in central Cuba (Refer to Parishes and Clergy page “Camaguey” for details).
After an exchange of several e-mails we had a list of needs for San Pedro and the parish made a commitment that during the course of the coming winter (2004/2005) we would attempt to bring some of those needs in person to Jobabo.
Our next challenge was how to raise funds for such a project. Our church was already nine months into its fiscal year and did not have surplus “outreach” funds. The idea was suggested that we ask members of the congregation to donate their loose coins to help fund this project. Collecting loose coins in glass jars, of various sizes, appears to be commonplace in many North American homes. We would simply ask members of the congregation to part with something they no longer needed, did not have time to sort and count themselves and was probably gathering dust in some closet.
By the time of our trip took place, in February 2005, more than $1,000 was already in the bank! Furthermore, no fewer than eight members of the congregation had enrolled in our trip – this would prove very useful in transporting the gathered supplies to Cuba – in fact several suitcases would be required for this purpose –
By the time of our trip to Cuba government regulations had been tightened, thus restricting such supplies being brought into Cuba by tourists. By God’s grace and protection not one of our group was questioned or had their luggage searched entering Cuba. Much of what we took with us was donated through members of the congregation as well as local businesses and our local hospital.
Traveling from Holguin, the location of our resort, to Jobabo was an adventure in itself. Jobabo is located in the hinterland of Cuba and almost three hours by road from the coastal resort area. This is true for most of the Episcopal churches of Cuba as they are not located in the traditional tourist areas of the island.
The opportunity to share a communion service with our Cuban brothers and Sisters in Christ cemented a relationship and created a bond between our two parishes that will never be broken.
The use of the fund would be at the discretion of the Bishop of Cuba but could be used in several needed areas:
While the list is extensive the overall costs, by Canadian standards, is reasonably modest, between $15,000 and $20,000. Since the fall of 2004 to date (October 2008) almost $8,000 in loose coins and special gifts has been was collected. In February of each year the funds collected at Grace are taken to Cuba by Canada’s Primate and hand delivered to the Bishop of Cuba during their annual Synod each February.
The funds for the development of this web site we provided by Grace Anglican Church, Milton and the Outreach Committee for the Diocese of Niagara.
As this site grows it is our intention to add video footage of each church together with photographs of each of the clergy and congregations.
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January 3rd, 2011Site updates coming soon!