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U.S. NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES PRESIDENT TO VISIT CUBA
January 17, 2002 -- Elenie Huszagh, of Nehalem, Oregon, U.S.A., an attorney and Greek Orthodox Church lay leader, and the U.S. National Council of Churches president in 2002-2003, will fly to Cuba this weekend for the groundbreaking of a new Orthodox church in Havana and meetings with the Cuban Council of Churches and Cuban church leaders.
She will arrive in Havana Saturday evening, January 19, and leave Tuesday morning, January 22. Hosted by the Greek Orthodox Church and Greek Embassy in Cuba, on Sunday, January 20 she will be among special guests at the groundbreaking for a new Orthodox church in Old Havana.
The U.S. National Council of Churches is taking advantage of Mrs. Huszaghs visit to Cuba to introduce her to Cuban church life and the ecumenical movement, specifically the Cuban Council of Churches. The Rev. Oscar Bolioli, the NCCs Associate General Secretary for International Affairs, will accompany her to Sunday evening worship at a Havana church (if her Sunday schedule allows). On Monday, January 21, they will visit a school for people with Downs Syndrome, meet with Cubas minister of religious affairs and, in the evening, meet with a cross-section of church leaders and staff of the Cuban Council of Churches.
Mrs. Huszagh is the NCCs second Orthodox president, but the first Orthodox lay person, and the first Orthodox woman, so to serve. She took office on January 1, 2002. The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky of the Orthodox Church in America served as NCC president in 1990-1991.
While it is a part-time, non-salaried position, the NCC president plays an important role in leading and representing the Council whose 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member denominations count a total of 50 million adherents. (In the NCC, the full-time, salaried staff head is the general secretary since January 2000, the Rev. Bob Edgar.)
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