02/07/13 - Gainesville Sun - Dinner event will help church in Cuba [corrected]
Iglesia de San Juan Bautista in Florencia, Cuba. (Photo submitted by Holy
Trinity Episcopal Church)
By Zach Peterson Correspondent
When Kathy Navajas travels to Cuba every year, she doesn't go as a tourist - she
goes as a friend.
Facts If you go What: Gala Cubana, a Valentine's Day Cuban dinner and dance
with entertainment by Gilberto de Paz Where: Holy Trinity Episcopal Church,
100 NE First St. When: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday Tickets: $25 per person As
head of the Cuba Committee at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, she plans
trips to San Juan Bautista, an Episcopalian church five hours east of
Havana in the small agricultural town of Florencia.
The two churches have had a nearly 30-year friendship that began with two
priests. Then Bishop of the Diocese of Florida, Frank Cerveny, who retired
in 1992, and Cuban Bishop Emilio Hernandez forged a sister relationship to
strengthen the spiritual bond between their countries after a conference
they both attended.
Over the years, that kinship has led to helping fund a choir for the Cuban
church and to regular visits between the congregations, according to
"It's not missionary work, or charity," Navajas said. "We're companions.
Every year, we learn a little bit more about what people there struggle
Which is why, when Holy Trinity Episcopal hosts its third annual Gala
Cubana on Saturday, they'll have San Juan Bautista in mind.
The event features salsa dancing and entertainment from Gilberto de Paz,
and a menu of pulled pork, Sangria and flan. All proceeds from the $25
ticket sales go to San Juan Bautista and its efforts to build a much-needed
well, Navajas said.
"It's a celebration of our long-standing relationship," said Terry Fleming,
51, a Holy Trinity Episcopal member, who expects a turnout of about 100
If you go What: Gala Cubana, a Valentine's Day Cuban dinner and dance with
entertainment by Gilberto de Paz Where: Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 100
NE First St. When: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday Tickets: $25 per person
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