December 20, 2012
Prayer Retreat Evicted from Cuban Church after 16-Month Standoff
Expelled pastor's followers, praying for a 'new Cuba free from sin,' said vigil would end when God told them to stop.
Following a 16-month standoff, an Assemblies of God church in Cuba has evicted nearly 30 people who had been holding a prayer retreat in its Havana sanctuary since last August.
The Miami Herald reports that church members finally evicted former pastor Braulio Herrera and his followers from the church sanctuary and an upstairs apartment, where they had been conducting an extremely long "religious retreat" that sparked speculation about whether the group was a doomsday cult. Herrera was expelled from the Assemblies of God after claiming to have received divine revelations that strayed from church doctrine.
Herrera's son, William, claimed the eviction took place by force, but church leader Eliseo Villar said members "went in and put them outside the building without affecting their physical integrity at all.”
William Herrera explained to the Associated Press last year that the group was praying for a "new Cuba free of sin," and the prayer retreat would end when God told them to stop.
CT previously noted the prayer retreat shortly after it began in 2011. CT also visited this very church while reporting on the significant but often overlooked Christian revival in Cuba. Other coverage of Cuba includes American ministries' eagerness yet skepticism at signs of change on the Communist island, and how Cubans have more religious freedom today but are still not free.