A celebration message from the Friends of the Episcopal Church in Cuba
jeremy cage, Mar 23
Today marks an important date in the history of the Episcopal Church in Cuba – with the retirement of Bishop Griselda after 12 transformative years as the Bishop of Cuba.
Born in 1955 in La Paz, Bolivia, Bishop Griselda graduated from the Universidad Mayor de San Andres in La Paz in 1981 with a degree in sociology. In 1982, she moved to Cuba to enter the Evangelical Seminary of Theology in Matanzas, Cuba.
Bishop Griselda remained in Cuba after seminary and was ordained as a Deacon in 1986. Shortly thereafter, she arrived in Itabo, Cuba, a small town with little knowledge of Jesus Christ, to serve at a church property with crumbling walls and no roof, known as Santa Maria Virgen. She served as Rector there for the next 20 years, was consecrated as Bishop Coadjutor for the Diocese of Cuba in 2010 and installed later that year as Diocesan Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Cuba at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana.
She was the first woman to serve in the role of Diocesan Bishop both in Cuba and in Latin America.
As Bishop, Griselda launched a 'radical' agenda—transforming the Church from a focus within its four walls to a community-based approach for the benefit of all, regardless of religion. Over the years, Bishop Griselda has led the cultivation of lands around the churches to provide supplies of crops and animals to feed communities and provide them seeds to plant at each harvest. She began the installation of water purification systems and today, there are 38 churches that have these systems - providing safe water for hundreds of thousands of Cubans each year. During her tenure, and through the work of her Missionary Development Program, she has also led the transformation of churches into vibrant community centers for everyone in the village – especially the weak and vulnerable.
In 2018, Bishop Griselda successfully led the reunification and reconciliation of The Episcopal Church in Cuba with the US Episcopal Church – after almost 60 years of isolation. The reunification ceremonies held in March of 2020 will forever be remembered as a pivotal event in the history of both the Cuban and US churches.
Bishop Griselda has been a tireless leader, traveling many miles across Cuba, managing a team of 20 or more clergy, 51 communities, and continuing to serve as parish priest whenever the need arose. In addition, she has been a strong voice for the Cuban church in the US, seeking out new partners and supporters.
Following the process established by the Episcopal Church, the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church in Cuba will oversee the Diocese of Cuba until an Interim Bishop is appointed in the coming months. The Interim Bishop will lead the Diocese through the election of a permanent Bishop – who will clearly have very big shoes to fill!!