Cuba’s First Woman Bishop

The Rt. Rev. Nerva Cot was consecrated Bishop yesterday at Havana’s Episcopal Cathedral of the Holy Trinity by the Most Rev. Andrew Hutchinson, Archbishop of Canada. She will serve as Suffragan Bishop for the western part of Cuba along with The Rt. Rev. Ulises Aguero who will serve in the eastern half of the island nation.

Reuters reports:

The Episcopal Church broke new ground in Cuba yesterday by ordaining its first female bishop in the developing world at a ceremony that mixed incense with Caribbean music.

Rev. Nerva Cot said she will bring a feminine touch to leadership of her church’s small but growing congregation in communist Cuba, where religious worship was freed a decade ago.

A dozen bishops from North, Central and South America and Europe attended the consecration of Cot and Ulises Aguero as suffragan, or auxiliary, bishops at Havana’s Episcopal Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The Cuban church is part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

“This is an important date for the Anglican Communion because there are so few women bishops among us, only 11,” said Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, primate of Canada, who headed the ceremony.

“There is a vitality and a deep enthusiasm in Cuba that is an important gift to a church that has too often been very conservative,” Hutchison told reporters.

Christian Cubans are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, and the Episcopal Church has only 5,000 baptized followers.

Cot, who favors allowing gays to become priests, said she hopes her role will encourage other Latin American countries to broaden diversity in the Episcopal Church.

Links to the story are here and here.

Here is a background story written after Cot’s appointment.

Members of a Cuban diocesan synod burst into applause and shouts of joy on Sunday when Archbishop Andrew Hutchison of the Anglican Church of Canada announced the appointment of Rev. Canon Nerva Cot Aguilera as one of two new suffragan bishops for the Cuban Anglican Church.

She is the wife of Juan Ramon de la Paz Cerezo, dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Havana.

And in a particularly sweet moment, the announcement of her appointment followed a Eucharist during which their daughter, Marianela de la Paz Cot, was ordained priest.

Cubans also enthusiastically welcomed the appointment of Archdeacon Ulises Mario Aguero Prendes as the second new suffragan bishop.

The suffragan bishops were appointed by the Metropolitan Council of Cuba which Hutchison chairs, at the request of Bishop Miguel Tamayo, the diocesan bishop. The Council, at this meeting, was made up of Hutchison and U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori who was also present for the announcement. The third member of the Metropolitan Council, Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, did not attend the meeting for health reasons.

Cuba was once a diocese of the Episcopal Church but is now under the care of the Anglican Church of Canada.

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