The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church has for many years had strong covenantal ties to the Methodist churches of Cuba. Until 1968 the Methodist churches in Cuba were part of (and reported to) the Florida Annual Conference. The Methodist churches in Cuba have more than 50,000 worshipers, and a little over 10,000 are church members. In attendance at gatherings and worship services for all church activities, 85% of those present are youth and young adults. Membership in a Methodist church in Cuba requires about 105 hours (approximately one year) of New Member Orientation. That is why total attendance at Methodist churches surpasses the number of members. There are more than 200 Methodist churches in Cuba, and almost 2/3 have sister relationships with Florida Churches.
Coronado has a Sister Church relationship with the Merchan Methodist Church in Las Tunas Province. Our sister church, Iglesia Metodista of Merchan, is a small congregation in an isolated community among the cane fields of eastern Cuba. It is pastored by Yunier Vega Pena. In the past several years, Pastor Bob Brown and Christine May have both been able to visit this church on separate trips sponsored by the Florida Annual Conference. We have also enjoyed visits from the former pastor’s husband and the Las Tunas District Superintendent and his wife.
Although communication with the church is limited, we cherish those e-mails we occasionally receive from the congregation and continue to uphold them in our prayers. We have been able to send them financial support at various times to aid in the completion of the church building, which also serves as a home to the pastor, his wife and small child. We have recently helped them purchase a tractor for use in transportaion, and we have aided them in the establishment of a ministry to the shut-ins of the area (in Merchan and in Puerto Padre.)