Last week President Obama made a historic visit to Cuba, becoming the first President to travel to this nearby neighbor in nearly 100 years. But, while the US government has had no relations with Cuba for more than 50 years, many domestic faith communities have continued to connect with communities there. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we’re devoting our entire show to stories of religious leaders who have done incredible work in Cuba. We’ll hear from the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell about the Office of the World Council of Church’s work in Cuba, and Rev. Eduardo Gonzalez will discuss his experience as a pastor in the communist nation. Also, W. Craig Henry will look at the Cuba-America church partnership.
More Than an Estranged Island
When some people think of Cuba, they picture President Kennedy’s favorite cigars, rum, and antique cars. But there’s much more to our neighboring island. This is a vibrant community with immense culture, history, and religious beliefs. Interestingly, both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio’s fathers are from Cuba. Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell was the first woman General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, and the Director of the U.S. Office of the World Council of Churches. She will sit down with Rev. Welton Gaddy to talk about her experience working in Cuba and what so many people misunderstand about Cuban culture, religion and politics.
A Christian Ministry in A Communist Country
What better time to talk about this than the week of Easter? Rev. Eduardo Gonzalez is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Ciego de Avila, Cuba. He will join us to describe the relationship between his congregation and Welton’s home church, Northminster Baptist Church in Monroe, LA. He’ll share some stories about Christian life in this Communist nation, and talk about what President Obama’s visit meant to his community.
Serving as A Religious Liaison
Craig Henry is a Louisiana lawyer who’s played an important role in a decades-long partnership between Eduardo’s church and the one that Welton serves as pastor. He will give a first-person perspective to this international partnership, speaking about the importance of this relationship and his personal experiences during over 25 trips to Cuba dating back to 1994.