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70th anniversary celebration of the Council of Churches of Cuba begins

May 16, 2011

MATANZAS, Cuba

Commemorative activities leading up to the 70th anniversary of the Council of Churches of Cuba (CIC) on May 28, have begun with the honoring of some 40 leaders of the ecumenical movement in the Province of Matanzas, men and women who have served the cause of ecumenism in that region of the country through their witness and service.

This initial activity was held in the chapel of the Evangelical Theological Seminary (SET) in Matanzas, with the presence of CIC’s president, Reverend Marcial Miguel Hernández; Executive Secretary the Rev. Pablo Odén Marichal, and the Rev. Joel Ortega Dopico, regional vice-president, among other distinguished guests.   

A spirit of happiness and praise to God, in a setting of wind and string instruments, dances performed by young people, and choral singing, preceded the reflection given by Baptist pastor the Rev. Raúl Suárez, director of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Center of Havana.

Suárez exhorted the Cuban churches and the CIC to transform their vision for the sake of understanding the current situation in the country ― a context that cannot be avoided nor silenced ― and to be aware as Christians of the here and now.

He issued an invitation to embody the words of the apostle Paul: “The hour is ours,” and to keep in mind that “this is not the hour for competing nor of criticizing, but to go in search without fainting for the blue unicorn,” referring to Cuban songwriter and singer Silvio Rodríguez’s lyric.

Ortega Dopico outlined a number of gatherings that will take place in the country around the anniversary celebration, with the central activities to be held in Havana from May 25-29, and extending through October 30 when Protestant Reformation Day is celebrated worldwide.  

The “Gospel on the Move” (El Evangelio en Marcha) radio show, the only Cuban mass media program dedicated to matters of religion, gave broad coverage last week to the anniversary celebrations, including a reflection by Hernández on the history and ministry of CIC during these 70 years of uninterrupted service. The motto of CIC throughout its life has been “United to Serve.” 

Representatives of Cuban and various international ecumenical organizations are expected to attend the Havana activities.

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