Magazine article Anglican Journal

Cubans Vote to Return to Episcopal Church

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Cubans Vote to Return to Episcopal Church

Article excerpt

Members of synod for the Episcopal Church of Cuba narrowly voted in favour of returning to the church's former affiliation with The Episcopal Church at their meeting in Cardenas, Cuba in February.

The move came two months after the historic decision by the United States and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations after a 54-year hiatus. The Cuban church had been part of a province in The Episcopal Church until the 1959 revolution, which made travel and communication between the two churches difficult. The Metropolitan Council of Cuba (MCC)--which includes primates of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Province of the West Indies and The Episcopal Church--was created in 1967 to provide support and oversight.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary, attended the synod--which ran from Feb. 19 to 22--as MCC chair and secretary, respectively. Also present was Andrea Mann, the church's global relations director.

Hiltz said the vote on that resolution, which was 39 in favour and 33 against, showed that the synod was divided on the issue. "When the results of the vote were announced, there was just absolute silence," he said. "There were some people [who] were feeling a sense of victory and others who were feeling a real sense of loss."

He explained that the diocesan council had prepared a resolution that would have established a commission to study the future relationship of the diocese of Cuba with a province in the Anglican Communion (without specifying which one). It also made reference to a diocesan-wide consultation on the matter.

But before that resolution could be put before the synod, a substitute resolution, which called for a return to The Episcopal Church, was presented, and according to the chancellor's interpretation of the rules of order, the substitute resolution was to be dealt with first.

With the bishops permission, Hiltz said he spoke to the synod before the vote, to point out the differences between the two resolutions, noting that the one from council "opened all kinds of doors," including considering a return to The Episcopal Church, while the other closed doors to other options and to a diocesan-wide consultation. Hiltz said he also mentioned that a resolution from diocesan council would normally be dealt with first. …

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