The Episcopal Church broke new ground in Cuba on Sunday by ordaining its first woman bishop in the developing world at a ceremony that mixed incense with rhythmic Caribbean music.
The 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 Canada’s Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, 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 in the country.
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.