By Rev. Cynthia E. Wesley
Hola! This means ‘hello’ in Spanish, and learning a few Spanish words was one of the many new experiences I had on our recent trip to Cuba. During J-Term students from the McCormick, Garrett and LSTC seminary families traveled to Cuba. Let me begin by saying I am eternally grateful for the leadership during the intercultural workshops led by Elina Rodriguez. The group was also led by Esther Menn, Ph.D. Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Luis Rivera of Garrett Theological Seminary and our own world traveler, the insightful and gracious, McCormick’s own Reverend Nanette E. Banks, Director of Alumni/and Church relations. We could not have had a better group of leaders as well as seminarians to travel together.
From the moment I stepped off the plane, it was like a step back in time with the varying degrees of beauty, customs, classic cars, and more. During our trip, I encountered a new language, cuisine (which I was sure I wasn’t going to like, but I did!), beautiful art, music, majestic dancing and, believe it or not, some new information about my African Heritage. Every day I was overwhelmed, not only by the beauty of this strange and nostalgic island with its pristine waters, but with the hospitable people of Cuba. We connected with many theologians, church leaders, and other seminarians who were eager to meet with us and share their view of religion, the world, and the challenges of the church in their context. Hearing their stories only intensified our commitment to work for the good of oppressed people everywhere. My colleagues and I will be forever grateful for the knowledge and hospitality gained as well as the hospitality shown by the Matanzas Seminary in Cuba.
If I may say it this way McCormick Team, you hit a home run. I shall never forget “Finding God in Cuba.” Thanks to you all!