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We have a very special partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba that began in 2013. Past teams from St. James’s have assisted in the rebuilding of a church in Santiago de Cuba, and have also worked on projects in Havana as well. We hope to offer another mission trip to Cuba in 2019.

Our 2017 mission went to Santiago de Cuba, a large and colorful city on the eastern side of Cuba, far away from the tourist-soaked streets of Havana. Our team assisted in the reconstruction of the Iglesia San Pedro, an Episcopal church that was destroyed by a hurricane in the 1960s. The land has remained vacant since then and the congregants have been meeting at member’s homes. For more information about this site, please read Carmen’s article in the Spring 2016 Quarterly Chimes.

The Cuba mission included opportunities for hard physical work, building meaningful relationships with Cuban Episcopalians, and absorbing the vibrant culture of Cuba. Participants always should be mindful that the conditions are adequate but not glamorous – be prepared for hot weather, uneven terrain, un-air-conditioned dormitories, and cold showers.

Space is limited. Those interested in participating in the next mission team should send a statement of interest to trip leader DeWitt Casler. The statement of interest should address any previous construction experience, past mission experience, and willingness to stay in very basic accommodations.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the time of the trip. If your passport expires on or before six months PAST the trip dates, you must begin the renewal process immediately to be considered.

Please also review the latest information available from the CDC regarding the Zika Virus and make an informed decision based on your own health circumstances.

Stay tuned for information on future missions to Cuba. In the coming years, we hope to help in the building of Camp Blankingship in the central Santa Clara region. Camp Blankingship was the vision of the late bishop of Cuba, The Rt. Rev. Alexander Hugo Blankingship, a native Virginian with ties to St. James’s. Camp Blankingship will be a camp and retreat center for the Diocese of Cuba, much like Shine Mont is for the Diocese of Virginia.

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