Episcopal News Service February 7, 2007
In Cuba, Presiding Bishop affirms 'sea of possibilities' for ending oppression
Council names new suffragan bishops; one is first woman to hold office
By Bob Williams
[ENS, Havana] Vast as an ocean deep with common good is the dream to be realized by God's people, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said while visiting the Episcopal Church of Cuba's Synod meeting February 2-4 in Cardenas.
Highlights of the 98th annual gathering included the appointment of two new suffragan bishops -- Nerva Cot Aguilera and Ulises Aguero Prendes -- to assist Interim Bishop Miguel Tamayo in local oversight of some 40 congregations serving Cuba's estimated 10,000 Episcopalians. In a June 10 liturgy at Havana's Holy Trinity Cathedral, Cot will become the Anglican Communion's first woman bishop in Latin America. (See related story: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_82100_ENG_HTM.htm.)
Metaphors of fishing and abundance were central as Jefferts Schori -- preaching at St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, now in its 100th year -- addressed the Sunday gospel reading in which Jesus calls his disciples to cast nets that yield new followers in the faith.
The dream of God is "a better life for all the world, and not only for one country," Jefferts Schori said in Spanish during her homily for the Synod's closing Eucharist. "What is the dream of the Episcopal Church in Cuba?"
She spoke of "a sea of possibilities" for ending human suffering -- from the local sharing of nutritious vegetables to caring for the elderly and infirm -- outlining how the "abundant life that God dreams for all creation" overcomes the death inherent in "oppressive and cruel systems." (Full sermon texts in English http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_82139_ENG_HTM.htm and Spanish http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_82140_ENG_HTM.htm.)
"Worthy catches are only possible in deep water, in waters that may instill fear in us," said Jefferts Schori, who cited her own experience of casting large nets as an oceanographer specializing in the study of squid and octopuses in the Pacific. "Jesus calls us to be courageous and hopeful fishers in all areas of life."
This requires tenacity, Jefferts Schori said, such as that of the central character in "The Old Man and the Sea," the novel by Ernest Hemingway, who is well remembered in Havana for the years in which he lived and wrote in Cuba.
In other remarks to the Synod, the Presiding Bishop joined in applauding the Diocese of Florida and the Cuban church for sharing a 25-year companion relationship. Retired Bishop Frank Cerveny of Jacksonville was present in Cardenas to mark the anniversary, and to bring greetings from the diocese and from one of Cuba's former bishops, Emilio Hernandez, 81, who is now retired in the Miami area.
Tamayo led the Synod in welcoming its visitors from the U.S. and Canada, thanking them for "the joy" of their collaboration. Well experienced and respected in international Anglican relations, Tamayo is a member of the planning team for the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
Full story and photographs: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_82076_ENG_HTM.htm
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