About the Partnership

The Havana–Chicago Presbytery Partnership unites the Presbytery of Chicago and the Presbytery of Havana. Together, we work toward a common purpose of overcoming barriers to cultivate peace and justice for all God’s people.

The partnership began in 1998 after a group representing 12 Presbytery of Chicago churches made an exploratory visit to Cuba. The travelers found an extraordinary opportunity to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with our Cuban siblings in Christ. Acting on their proposal, leaders of both Presbyteries formalized the partnership in 1999.

The Havana-Chicago Presbytery Partnership Mission Team continues to serve as the Presbytery of Chicago’s agent in sustaining the partnership. By encouraging church-to-church partnerships, facilitating trips to Cuba, and hosting visitors from Cuba, we help each other in a complicated time.
 

Why We Are Partners

The first Presbyterian Church in Cuba opened in 1890. The revolution in 1960 ushered in agnostic policies, yet the churches miraculously stayed open. As official restrictions eased over time, the Cuban churches advanced their vital roles as spiritual and social centers of their communities. Today, they give generously even amid a persistent scarcity of resources.

We support our fellow Presbyterians through travel, advocacy, and prayer because­ we share a commitment to reveal God’s grace wherever there is need.
 

How You Can Participate

  • Church-to-church partnership. Under the auspices of the Havana–Chicago Presbytery Partnership, churches in the presbytery are invited to form partnerships with churches in Cuba. When we cannot travel, and depending on accessing Cuba, we maintain our connection via social media and email.
  • Resources. All churches are encouraged to donate resources to help our Cuban partners maintain their missions, including their church camp. In response to local needs, we deliver medicines, craft materials, office supplies, and more.
  • Prayer, always. Although formal relationships and shared resources are important and deeply appreciated, our greatest need is for your prayers.
 
Contact Us
 
For more information, please contact Kathy Wennerstrum, kowennerstrum@me.com
 
Church Partnerships
 

First Havana: In the heart of Cuba’s largest city, this 906 landmark church normally welcomes hundreds of worshipers to Sunday services and many others to community outreach programs (like tai chi) through the week. Chicago Presbytery Partner: Chicago Fourth

Luyano: Havana’s second Presbyterian church is housed in a stately 1922 building. The congregation serves its community in many ways, including by providing regular public access to purified water. A new onsite dormitory provides housing for visitors to Havana and income for the church and presbytery. Chicago Presbytery Partner: Open

Guanabacoa: Just east of central Havana, Guanabacoa’s small but mighty congregation faithfully attends Sunday service and Wednesday Bible study. The children’s pageant is a Christmas highlight. Chicago Presbytery Partner: Glen Ellyn Southminster

Guines: The largest congregation of Havana Presbytery’s country churches has a vibrant modern music ministry. This congregation also maintains a water purification system which serves their community weekly. Chicago Presbytery Partner: Open

San Nicolás de Bari: The sanctuary, dormitory, classrooms, and garden provide a spiritual refuge in this town southeast of Havana. In addition to a liturgical arts program, young adults serve the elderly and infirm by repairing their homes and providing lunches. Chicago Presbytery Partner: Libertyville

Los Palos: The church at Los Palos, southeast of Havana, was established in 1911. They fill their pews for Saturday night worship, Sunday school, and Bible study. Cuban music and dance keep the liturgy relevant. Chicago Presbytery Partner: Oak Park Fair Oaks

Nueva Paz: Southeast of Havana, the church in Nueva Paz ministers to its community through a water purification system by regularly delivering water to the homebound, along with a breakfast program for the elderly. Youth are actively engaged in music, mission, and worship. Chicago Presbytery Partner: Western Springs

San Antonio de los Baños: Anchoring the rural western edge of Havana Presbytery, San Antonio de los Baños is an active church, with prayer meetings on Thursdays, discussions and lectures on Saturdays, and school and worship on Sundays. Chicago Presbytery Partner: Clarendon Hills Community

La Fernanda: This new church is reviving a poor residential area of Havana. Its youth group meets in the converted home, while a meals program serves the elderly and a water purification system is available to all. Sewing and knitting is taught to provide income for local women. Chicago Presbytery Partner: Wheaton Hope