Magazine article Anglican Journal

Return of Cuban Church to TEC 'A Given'; Future Role of Anglican Church of Canada in Cuba Unclear, Says Hiltz

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Return of Cuban Church to TEC 'A Given'; Future Role of Anglican Church of Canada in Cuba Unclear, Says Hiltz

Article excerpt

A year after the Episcopal Church of Cuba voted unanimously to return to The Episcopal Church (TEC) following the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, it remains unclear how this will affect the relationship between the Cuban and Canadian Anglican churches, said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

"[The Episcopal Church of Cuba] has this long history with The Episcopal Church, and [there is a] deep desire to return, but there's a bit of hesitation, and I think some anxiety about... what does this mean for [their] historic relationship with the Anglican Church of Canada?" Hiltz said in an interview following the Cuban church's annual synod in February. Hiltz attended the synod as chair of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba (MCC), the body that has overseen the Cuban church since 1967, when it was cut off from TEC following the political standoff between Cuba and the U.S. that began in 1962. (The Cuban church was established as a missionary diocese of The Episcopal Church in 1901.)

Over the past 48 years, the Canadian church has played an important role in bridging the gap between Cuban and American Episcopalians. It has also provided the Cuban church with financial support by topping up clergy stipends, contributing to the bishop's discretionary fund and paying for two Anglican faculty positions at the ecumenical seminary in Matanzas.

But Hiltz says that with relations normalizing, change is "a given." And although it is not yet clear what change will look like, he said TEC might take up some of the responsibility for supporting Cuba financially. "If [the Episcopal Church of Cuba] becomes part of TEC, then a lot of the things for which they've been able to turn to Canada for, in terms of financial support, really would become the responsibility of TEC," he noted.

Andrea Mann, the Canadian church's director for global relations, stressed that the ball is currently in TEC's court. …

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