United Methodist News Service Launches Four-Part Cuba Series
United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2017
NASHVILLE, Tennessee: United Methodist News Service is set to launch a four-part series that examines the state of the Methodist Church in Cuba. The articles, which are scheduled to be published January 31, February 2, 7, and 9, take a widespread look at how Methodism is growing throughout urban as well as rural regions of the nation.
Linda Bloom, assistant news editor for UMNS, and Mike DuBose, veteran United Methodist Communications photographer, spent one week traveling throughout Cuba, taking advantage of a recent loosening of travel embargoes for Americans to the Caribbean Island, to meet with pastors, members and missionaries.
The objective of the series, according to Bloom, is to diminish any stereotypes of Cuba that pertain specifically to the country’s political environment and the belief that Cubans could not be religious under the Fidel Castro regime, and “to show not only that the Methodist Church in Cuba is thriving, but it has become part of the Cuban identity and is not just a copy of American Methodism.”
Today, the Methodist Church in Cuba claims more than 400 churches, approximately 43,000 active members and a community of more than 65,000, with 80 percent of the municipalities having a Methodist church and 98 percent having preaching locations.
Cubans have deep roots in Methodism, dating back to 1898 when the Rev. W.A. Candler became bishop of the Florida area of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and sent missionaries to Cuba, Bloom said.
Until 1968, the Methodist Church was part of the U.S. Methodist Church and a member of the Florida Annual Conference, although the Cuban revolution, which ended in 1959, had splintered the connection years earlier. Although the Methodist Church in Cuba presently is not part of The United Methodist Church connection, the two denominations continue close alliances. Annually, on average, 20 United Methodist Volunteers In Mission teams visit Cuba and some U.S. United Methodist churches maintain partnerships with Cuban congregations and Methodist ministries.
About United Methodist News Service
As the official news agency for The United Methodist Church, United Methodist News Service provides news, commentaries and multimedia features from around the global church, in addition to producing the UMNS Daily Digest.