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Cuban Church Partnership

On March 17, 1993, the Rev. Tony Wolfe, then Pastor at Setauket Presbyterian Church, and the Rev. Daniel Izquierdo, who was Pastor at la Iglesia Presbiteriana-Reformada en San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, entered into a partnership agreement in Havana. SPC member Marta Porter says: “They commandeered an impaired, antique typewriter and composed an ‘Agreement of Accompaniment,’ a concept from the Book of Ruth, where our congregations agreed to walk together, pray together, study together, rejoice together, grieve together, admonish and love one another in a Spirit of ‘whither thou goest.’” A year later, a dozen members of Setauket Presbyterian Church took the first of many trips to our “sister” church in San Antonio throughout the more than quarter century of this partnership. Pastors and members of the church in San Antonio also have traveled to Setauket over the years, solidifying a deep bond of love and friendship between our congregations. 

Congregation member Herta Wulff writes: “The congregation of our sister church is always lovingly praying for us, in Setauket, rejoicing in our happy events and feeling our pain when there is distress. There is a bond that unites us across the ocean and the sanctions, worshipping the same God that unites us.”

On the first Sunday of each month, when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper in worship, we close with a benediction that we share with our siblings in Christ in San Antonio:

The benediction of the God of Sarah, Hagar and Abraham,
The benediction of the Son, who was born of Mary,
The benediction of the Holy Spirit of love,
Who watches over us like a mother for her children,
Descend upon us all. Amen. 

La bendición de Dios de Sar’ Agar y Abram;
La bendición del hijo que de Marἱa nació;
La bendición del Santo Espiritu de’amor
Que vela por nosotros, cual madre por sus hijos,
Descienda sobre todos, Amen.

Martha Porter tells the story of how this benediction came to be part of our communion Sunday worship at SPC: “When Rev. Daniel Izquierdo visited here in July 1995, he closed the Sunday Service with what we have come to call our ‘Cuban Benediction.’ It was brought to Cuba by partners from the United Church of Canada. Daniel liked it very much and shared it; with no sheet music, he simply borrowed a guitar and sang it for us to end the Service. At the request of the choir, he sang it for Mark Orton, our Music Director, who painstakingly transcribed and harmonized it. Some handwritten, hand-drawn copies still exist. It is our liturgy of solidarity, read and then sung, in Spanish and in English, to close the Communion Service each month.”

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