Pensions for Cuban Priests

Asher Imtiaz | TLC

The Episcopal Church has launched Together Again/Juntos de Nuevo: Cuba Pensions Campaign to help 25 priests of the Episcopal Church of Cuba.

The campaign follows a vote last summer at the 79th General Convention to readmit the Cuban church as a diocese after 52 years of separation.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry encourages all Episcopalians to participate in the campaign as a common moment of mission: “This is part of the work of reconciliation, bringing us together across historic divides. This is not just fundraising; it’s following Jesus and finding our way back to each other.”

Led by the Rt. Rev. Griselda Delgado Del Carpio, the Cuban church has 46 congregations and serves 10,000 members. Its operating budget in 2017, which includes all clergy compensation, was $155,000.

The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, 26th presiding bishop, has raised funds for the Cuban clergy since General Convention met. She urges the church “to rejoice at the return of Cuban Episcopalians to this body and offer what we can for the well-being of those who have served so long and faithfully.”

The average salary for Cuban priests is $55 a month. When they retire, clergy are not eligible for state pension because Cuba’s anti-clerical state does not recognize their service as employment.

The campaign seeks to raise a one-time amount of $800,000 by June 9. This will provide funding for past contributions that will yield future retirement benefits for 23 active clergy, three retired clergy, and one surviving spouse. The funds will be placed in the Church Pension Fund, which will make pension benefits available to eligible clergy.

The campaign is co-chaired by the Rev. Matthew Heyd, rector of Church of the Heavenly Rest, and the Rev. William Lupfer, rector of Trinity Church Wall Street. It launches with financial support from Francis Armstrong of the Church Pension Group, Bishop William H. Stokes of New Jersey, and Friends of the Episcopal Church in Cuba.

Donations to the campaign can be made in the form of cash, pledges, or securities. For more information, write to T.J. Houlihan, development officer, or call him at 212.716.6271.

Adapted from the Office of Public Affairs


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