‘You are not alone,’ LWF reassures Cuban church and people

Havana, Cuba. Photo: JF Martin / Unsplash
Havana, Cuba. Photo: JF Martin / Unsplash

LWF General Secretary Burghardt shares deep concern over worsening social and economic conditions 

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has expressed deep concern over the “sometimes hard and painful” journey endured by its member church and people in Cuba, and pledged the communion’s solidarity amid a worsening social, political and economic situation, now aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In a pastoral letter to Presiding Bishop Virgen Laborde Figueras of the United Evangelical Church in Cuba Lutheran Synod (IEU), LWF General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt assured the church of LWF’s support. “As a Lutheran communion, we stand in solidarity with you. Our prayers cry out for justice and dignified life for all.”  

The impact of almost six decades of the United States embargo against the country, limited technological development and poor infrastructure “have led to a deterioration of living conditions,” and exhaustion among the population, Burghardt noted.  

As a Lutheran communion, we stand in solidarity with you. Our prayers cry out for justice and dignified life for all.
LWF General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt

“High inflation, low pension income for former civil servants and non-state sector workers, high electricity costs and lack of access to basic services such as medicine, hygiene and sanitation, and food are part of the daily reality,” she wrote. The longing for changes that “would allow for a better quality of life is a cause for concern for us and a reason to express the solidarity of the Lutheran communion with the churches and people of Cuba.” 

At the same time, the LWF general secretary expressed gratitude to the IEU for its commitment to diaconal work among the most vulnerable and unprotected people and for proclaiming, “the good news of God's grace that sets us free.”  She assured the church’s leader: “Know that you are not alone on this journey. We pray that God will continue to give you strength and encouragement to continue with hope and joy to walk into the future.”

Burghardt encouraged the IEU to be peacebuilders not only through sharing the gospel and carrying out diaconal work. She emphasized the prophetic role of the church in constructive dialogue that steers the country’s religious, public and civil society sectors toward “transformation for a new time of peace, justice and reconciliation.” 

The IEU is one of the youngest member churches of the LWF, which it joined in 2018.

By LWF/P. Mumia

The United Evangelical Church in Cuba Lutheran Synod has 1,500 members in 11 congregations across seven provinces.