Saturday Evening – A Love That Compels Us
Cuban Bishop Ricardo Pereira concentrates his time on the growth, projects and goals of the Methodist Church in Cuba. His story of the tremendous growth of the Christian church in Communist-controlled Cuba has inspired numerous existing churches and encouraged many Christians to start new faith communities. Bishop Pereira was elected an episcopal leader in the Cuban Methodist Church in 1999. He also serves concurrently as senior pastor of the largest church in Cuba. At the time Bishop Pereira became a minister, Christianity in Cuba was at a low ebb. No one wanted to be a pastor. He was threatened and beaten by the Communists and ordered to leave the country, but he persisted in trying to rebuild the church. In the 1970’s , Bishop Pereira made repeated attempts to revitalize the church through any available program, yet the church continued to decline. Running out of ideas, he opted to pray and to fast with power and persistence. There were 3,000 members in 1985, today there are more than 30,000. In 1999 there were 90 Methodist churches in Cuba; now there are 361. The church there has averaged 10 percent growth each year, but in the past quadrennium, growth has surpassed 60 percent.. When Ricardo Pereira was elected bishop, there was a Methodist presence in less than half the Cuban nation; today, that presence is up to 90%. Bishop Pereira is confident they can achieve the remaining 10% before the end of his episcopacy.