The Diocese of Cuba failed to elect a bishop for the fourth time in 20 years when a special meeting of diocesan convention in Havana split along faction lines.
None of the three candidates on the ballot received the requisite two-thirds majority from the lay and clergy delegates, and the voting was halted after 10 ballots. Four candidates were nominated to succeed the Rt. Rev. Jorge Perera, who retired in 2003.
One candidate withdrew before the voting balloting began, leaving the Rev. Emilio Martin, the Rev. Ivan Gonzalez, and the Rev. José Angel Gutierrez on the ballot. While Fr. Martin received a majority of votes cast, he did not receive a plurality. When successive ballots returned the same results, and none of the candidates withdrew, voting was suspended.
The Ven. Michael Pollesel, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, who oversaw the election, told the Anglican Journal the diocese appeared to be divided into two camps. “I guess one would be considered more moderate and middle of the road. The other might be considered a little more traditional,” he said.
A one-time member of The Episcopal Church, the diocese withdrew in 1967 in the wake of the political tensions between the U.S. and Cuba. A Metropolitan Council comprised of the archbishops of Canada and the West Indies and the American Presiding Bishop has since exercised jurisdiction over the diocese.
A special convention to elect a successor to Bishop Perera in 2003 split along factional lines, and in 2004 the Metropolitan Council asked the Bishop of Uruguay, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Tamayo, to serve for three years as interim bishop. A native of Cuba and former dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Havana, Bishop Tamayo was reappointed interim bishop in 2006 to a second three- year term.
In a bid to break the logjam, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada appointed two bishops suffragan from the two factions. In 2007, the two primates consecrated the Rev. Nerva Cot as Bishop Suffragan of Western Cuba and the Rev. Ulises Aguero as Bishop Suffragan of Eastern Cuba.
The failed election will be referred back to the Metropolitan Council for further action.