The companion relationship with Iglesia Evangelica Unido-Sinodo Luterano (IEU-SL) is a recent and growing one. The ELCA was approached by Bishop Laborde of IEU in 2018 to explore the possibilities of working together. The IEU is headquartered in the south of Cuba in Santiago with 11 congregations located in the general vicinity. Further, the church is member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). A number of investigatory trips and conversations culminated in December 2019 with a group from the FB Synod embarking on an immersion experience in Santiago de Cuba. The bonds established during this trip confirmed the desire of both parties to proceed with an accompaniment relationship. Both the ELCA Global Mission Desk and the FB Synod Global Mission Table are involved with IEU. Travel restrictions and other obstacles bring challenges, however, all parties are committed to overcoming them and serving together.
As we advocate for an end to the embargo that adversely impacts Cuba’s citizens, Global Mission looks for opportunities to collaborate wherever possible. Global Mission has explored making financial grants to IEU by working together with the Lutheran Church in Canada. Further, we remain in close touch through social media and partnered with IEU and other companions in both 2020 and 2021 in the Sixteen Days of Advocacy for Gender Justice. 2021’s collaboration can be found through the following YouTube link: https://youtu.be/Ax0561UpBn8
The Cuba Team is chaired by the Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer who has a deep and abiding connection with Cuba and the Cuban people. His background and knowledge base is vast and he graciously shares his expertise with the Cuba Team and indeed, the entire synod. Exciting and lifegiving experiences are in store for the FB Synod and the IEU as the companion relationship takes root and engages in the spirit of accompaniment.