At the arrival of Communism in 1959, Cuba had 120 Methodist church buildings and some 70 Methodist pastors serving 5,000 members. Most pastors and many members left Cuba as Castro’s forces prevailed. These departures took place in a series of waves, extending into the 1980s. The Castro government’s initial constitution defined the country as atheistic, and by 1962, all 53 Methodist missionaries previously serving in Cuba had left. The 1968 United Methodist General Conference recognized the autonomy of the Methodist Church in Cuba, which was then electing its own bishop.
Today, the Methodist Church in Cuba has more than 42,000 members and a worshiping community of 65,000—a remarkably large number for a Protestant denomination in a country with a Roman Catholic culture (by tradition) and a Communist government.
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