Friday, January 24, 2014

A Cuban Baptism

Some important history about the baptisms with the Episcopal Church in Cárdenas is that recently, with the arrival of Aurelio (my host father), he has been stricter with the requirements needed for someone to be baptized. Before the Episcopal Church was the place that people could go to to be baptized “easily.” Now he requires people to attend the Alpha Course, which is a basic course in Christianity, as well as an introduction to the Episcopal Church and its traditions. Another way people can be baptized is to attend church regularly and attend the Bible studies that are held every Monday. The reason for this is to show and teach about why it is important to be baptized. Recently, a few weeks ago, we baptized two people. The community and people being baptized really understood what the whole event was about. At first the community did not accept this “strict” practice, but now people are starting to understand why it is important to teach before baptism. The following pictures are from the ceremony that was held a few weeks ago -- my first baptism in Cuba. 
Aurelio pouring the holy water into the font
Gospel procession
The godparents and the candidates for baptism 

Presenting a candle to the newly baptized, representing
the light of Christ
The passing of the Peace normally lasts about 10-15 minutes 
Aurelio celebrating the Eucharist

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Long awaited blog updates: Church in Itabo, Matanzas

With the visit of my parents to Cuba in January, I have sent out a flash drive with long-awaited updates.  (I cannot post pictures from Cuba with such slow internet speeds).

Church in Itabo.

In one of my earliest blog posts I mentioned this church as an example of sustainable agricultural practices that are beginning here on the island. Now I have the opportunity to share some of the pictures.
The back portion of the property. Crops pictured here include: potatoes, beans, onion, garlic, yuca, malanga, mango, avocado, and at the very end on the property in the beginnings of a pig pen with its own methane processing plant along side. 

The bell tower of the Itabo temple.
The formation of a tornado. Luckily it never touched ground because it was literally nearly above us.

The chicken coup. The chickens here produce nearly
100 eggs daily.

Yes, they have turkeys too.
And rabbits too
These are the bee hives. They assist with the pollination of the surrounding crops and also supply the church with honey. One interesting thing I learned about these bees is that the entrance to their hive in never left unguarded. The little circle at the bottom middle of the box always has a bee keeping an eye out.