Franconia Conference offers support for Cuban ministries

beatriz.jpgCuban pastor Beatriz Lopez arrived in the United States earlier this month on an invitation to visit with leaders from several church organizations, including Franconia Mennonite Conference. Beatriz is the President of the 55-year-old Pentecostal Holiness Church in Cuba, an organization of 30 churches, 16 missions, and a number of house churches throughout the island.

The Pentecostal Holiness Church of Cuba receives support through a partnership between Calvary Chapel Norristown (PA) and Franconia Conference, which has a historic relationship with Christian ministries in Cuba. The support received has provided leadership training through seminars and workshops for pastors and lay leaders in Cuba’s churches. The partnership has also helped repair and update facilities at the national camp of the Pentecostal Holiness Church where retreats for men, women, and children, an annual national convention, and a school for leadership training are held. The resources and people provided throughout the years have helped build and repair the camp’s church, bathhouse, guesthouse, and kitchen. Currently the partnership between Franconia Conference and Calvary Chapel of Norristown is helping the camp to construct a new worship space so that the current space can be converted into a dormitory.

Pastor Beatriz is the first woman serving as president of the Pentecostal Holiness Church in Cuba and has been serving in that role for six years. She is also a single mother of two sons in their 20’s. As a teenager Beatriz felt the calling to serve the Lord and began seminary at age 15. By age 19 she was an experienced evangelist and beginning her first pastorate. Beatriz noted that while pastoring and and working is tough, the ministry and business worlds in Cuba have long been accepting of and invitational towards women leading.

The president of Cuba’s National Council of Churches, where Beatriz is a member, is also a woman. The Pentecostal Holiness Church in Cuba has a good relationship with the state of Cuba and is active in the National Council of Churches.

After her visit with Franconia Conference, Beatriz visited congregations in Boston, Oklahoma, Alabama, and North Carolina before returning to Cuba. Adamino Ortiz, a member of Nueva Vida Norristown (PA) New Life has initiated the relationship with Calvary Chapel and serves as liaison and coordinator in the Cuba partnerships with Franconia Conference.