Presentation by Rev. Dr Marianela de la Paz Cot

I bring you all greetings from the Caribbean Region and particularly the island of Cuba. I am grateful to the Faith and Order Commission in the persons of its executive staff for having invited me to be present and also for the opportunity to be one of the spokespersons from my region. I must admit that this has been a complicated year for me. I defended my doctoral thesis in March this year. I returned to my country at the end of April, and then moved house in August to live and work in a different province. And in the midst of all the upheaval of moving I faced the challenge of preparing classes in practical theology for the beginning of the course in September at the Evangelical Theological Seminary, where I teach. At the end of August I was appointed and inducted by the bishop as rector of the church of St Philip the Deacon in the small town of Limonar, thirty minutes from Matanzas, the town where I live. Among all those changes, it was complicated to keep up contact by e-mail with the director, Revd Canon John Gibaut, with Dr Valburga Streck, with Dr Odair Pedroso and with the secretary, Mr Alexander Freeman – a difficult thing anyway in my country where we do not have direct access to the internet. I thank them, and all those who helped to keep the lines of communication open and to make it possible for me to be here with you.

Our thinking on the theme “Called to be the one Church” will be divided into three parts. We shall first reflect on what it is that identifies us as a Christian community. Secondly, we shall do some work on the concept of the people of God, the challenge that we have as Christians to be a pilgrim people engaged in constant interchange and dialogue. Finally, I intend to relate that concept to our experiences in the Episcopal Church of Cuba.