Thanksgiving is here! We are about to sit at a table “flowing with milk and honey,” and with thankful hearts share in a repast with family and friends. Children will be drawing turkeys and dressing up in Pilgrim costumes to reenact once again the historical First Thanksgiving here in America. The hymn, “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings,” will resound throughout the country as memories and smells and tastes remind us of Thanksgivng.
The very next day my husband, Jon, and I will be leaving with twenty other folks from the diocese for a pilgrimage to Cuba. There will be no leftover turkey sandwiches or pumpkin pie, for us or for the people of Cuba. They continue to struggle with an economy that falls far below the one we complain about here in this country. We are truly blessed.
The purpose of our trip is to support the Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba, the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba. It has been more than 20 years since they elected a bishop of their own. The Bishop of Uruguay has had oversight for all these years and announced his retirement in 2009. The responsibility for the church then fell to the Metropolitan Council. In February 2007 the Metropolitan Council appointed Canon Nerva Cot Aguilera and Ulises Mario Aguero Prendes as suffagan bishops of the Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba to carry out pastoral oversight under the direction of the Bishop of Uruguay. They were consecrated 10 June 2007. Bishop Cot Aguilera was the first woman to be appointed an Anglican bishop in Latin America. After a short retirement, Bishop Cot Aguilera died suddenly on July 10th after a brief battle with severe anemia. She was 71.
In January 2010, the Right Reverend Griselda Delgado Del Carpio was appointed bishop coadjutor (assistant bishop with the right of succession). She was ordained to the episcopate on 7 February 2010, and will be installed as the diocesan bishop on 28 November 2010. Several clergy including your new Interim Rector, the Dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral and the new Bishop of Minnesota, The Right Reverend Brian Prior, are making the trip for this historic event and have been invited to vest and participate in the Cathedral’s Installation service.
Printed in our travel booklet is a Mission Statement. This is only a portion of that statement:
The people of the Episcopal Church of Minnesota seek an exchange with the people of Cuba, which began with Bishop Whipple’s visit in 1860, and continues with witnessing the exuberant Christian faith of the Cuban people.
We will return on 2 December filled with lots of stories to share with you as time permits. Please, keep all of us in your prayers as we travel from Minneapolis to Miami to Havana and back.
Faithfully, Peggy Tuttle