We come together once again because of our shared faith in and love for Jesus Christ. On this occasion, we also celebrate the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches and our unity in the one ecumenical movement.
Our two councils have worked together for many years not only to witness to the power of the Holy Spirit but to bring our nations together. We have stood for peace when many cried for war. We have stood for family unity when others try to divide our families. We have prayed, called and worked for an end to the blockade.
There have been moments of celebration such as when we helped to reunite the family of Elian Gonzales and when Presidents Castro and Obama opened a new chapter in our joint history. And, there have been moments of pain including at the present time when progress toward a full resumption of normal relations has been stalled.
We give thanks, as well, for the strong ties between many of our member communions in Cuba and the United States. The frequent travel and communications between our churches builds up the love and affection we have for one another. Therefore, we express our concern with the drastic reduction of the personnel in the US Embassy in Havana that affects the Cuban families and the person-to-person exchange that has been hindered.
We stand in solidarity with the World Council of Churches on its birthdate and embrace the prayer lifted up by the Moderator, Dr. Agnes Aboum, who writes, “Loving God, we thank you for your church and the fellowship we experience within the ecumenical movement. We thank you for the courage and wisdom you gave to the founding fathers and mothers. Grant us the inspiration and knowledge to pursue the unity of your church in accordance with your prayer ‘that they may be one so that the world may believe.’ Guide us to bring hope amidst hopelessness, love instead of hatred, and peace instead of conflict. Break down the walls and exorcise the demons of greed and division. May your light shine!”
As always, our time together is too brief. We pledge to remain together, to visit with one another as soon and as much as possible, to share the Good News of Jesus wherever we may be, and to continue working for peace, justice and good relations between our nations. We will never let the forces of division and war keep us apart. Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
August 22, 2018