By Siphiwe Sithole
Intern, Anglican Communion Communications, London
The extraordinary Pastoral Synod convened by the Episcopal Church of Cuba which included delegates from women, young people and men from organised and non-organised missions, said the Church must develop a more communitarian character in order to carry out its mission in the current Cuban ecclesiastical and social context.
'There was consensus among the delegates that the pastoral work of the Church, if it is to be truly evangelical, must be communitarian. By community we understand the whole of the family Church with its different gifts, made up by the clergy as well as by the laity, and where all of us can grow in faith and testimony in common', Synod said.
Presided by Diocesan Bishop, Excellency Jorge A. Perera Hurtado, D.D, the Synod said that it must be a community walking with the larger community, because its pastoral work does not necessarily comprises a religious speech, but rather an integral response to what God is demanding today. They said: 'It is because of this that we aspire to have a Church inserted and incarnated in the society where God has placed us. Our purpose should not be to live for ourselves, but rather to be community that lives for others, because the more we are occupied by ourselves, the less we will understand the true sense of faith'.
To effectively deal with future challenges the Synod set out as priories, to increase, in the clergy as well as in the laity, knowledge of the richness of history as the Episcopal Church of Cuba and of its Anglican heritage, to constantly renew Bible and theological knowledge in the whole Church to encourage a greater integration of women to the ordained ministry in the Church.
The Synod said pastoral work and evangelization that it has understood from a communitarian point of view should be a task that involves the whole Church through educational work. Jose de la Luz y Caballero, a great Cuban patriot and educator has pointed out: 'Anyone can impart knowledge, but only he who is a living gospel can educate. For Christian education to be, from their Anglican and Cuban perspective, a living gospel it has to be integral. To be integral,'it should include our historical heritage, our culture, our tradition and the history of our Cuban Episcopal tradition'.
'As Episcopal Church of Cuba we have been commissioned to be instruments of the Kingdom. We are looking towards the future with optimism and hope, and we ask God to encourage us in the face of new ecclesiastic and social challenges and opportunities that are ahead of us, with the confidence that God will continue to be with us every day to the end of the age', the Synod said.