June 20, 2017

Churchnet Response to Trump's Cuba Action

On June 9, Churchnet (the Baptist network where I serve as Associate Director) hosted two Cuban Baptist leaders at our Board meeting. The two who came were: Josué Rodríguez Legrá, president of Convención Bautista de Cuba Oriental (Eastern Baptist Convention of Cuba) and pastor of 1ra Iglesia Bautista de Palma Soriano (1st Baptist Church of Palma Soriano); and Diorlis (Joey) Hernández, pastor of Sexta Iglesia Bautista de Santiago de Cuba (6th Baptist Church if Santiago de Cuba). During their time in the U.S., they also spoke at a couple of churches and met with some of our ministry partners.


I previously met both Josué and Joey in Cuba last year during my second trip to the island with Churchnet. And I interviewed them both this month for the July issue of Word&Way. I'm excited about Churchnet's emerging partnership with Cuban Baptists. 

Exactly one week after Josué and Joey met with Churchnet leaders, President Donald Trump announced he would rollback some of the changes then-President Barack Obama made in improving ties between the U.S. and Cuba. Trump will leave open the U.S. embassy in Havana, but will reinstate some travel and commerce restrictions. 

Churchnet issued a response to Trump's action to express our “profound disappointment” in the increased restrictions that “will increase costs and obstacles for churches in our network seeking to travel to Cuba and work with Baptists on the island, thereby making it more difficult to live out our religious calling.” Churchnet urged a reversal of the new restrictions, but insisted we “will prayerfully continue to visit and partner with Cuban Baptists.” I'm proud to work for a ministry that speaks out for Baptists in other countries and pushes our political leaders to work for the common good.

Baptist News Global ran a good article highlighting Churchnet's response and comments from other Baptists in the U.S. and Cuba. I hope Baptists across the U.S. will stand with their brothers and sisters in our neighbor nation. And I hope to return to Cuba to once again partner with my new friends there.

Josué, Me, and Joey.

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