By Linda Bloom
Jan. 31, 2017 | HAVANA (UMNS)
… Today, by its own count, the Methodist Church in Cuba has more than 43,000 active members and a community of more than 65,000. Eighty percent of the municipalities in Cuba have a Methodist church and 98 percent have preaching locations. In addition to the more than 400 pastoral charges, there are some 1,000 missions and several thousand cell groups.
“In Cuba, we don’t talk about decreases,” Fernandez explains. “It is almost a law that the churches have to grow.”
While some Cuban Methodists come from a Christian background, many more are converts. Fernandez, who describes his parents as “ex-Communists,” decided to walk into a church one day and became a Christian at 15. Four years later, he was a pastor and now he is one of the more experienced pastors in the denomination….
Ninety percent of the Methodist pastors who remained in Cuba after Castro’s revolution went to jail for a couple of years for practicing their faith, says Gonzalez. “The stories that these folks tell are really impressive on how they continued to believe that what they were doing was right.”
It was the stubborn remnant of that church, which became autonomous in 1968, that attracted young people like Ricardo Pereira Diaz, the fourth and current bishop.