Pentecostals growing quickly in Cuba

FROM NPR (US). HAVANA - When Cuban President Raul Castro met with the country's Catholic Church leaders this summer and agreed to free dozens of political prisoners, it was a major boost to an institution facing increased competition for Cuban worshippers.

The island has undergone a spiritual revival since the communist government eased religious persecutions in the 1980s. But the fastest-growing practice today may be one that arrived decades ago with American missionaries.

On a recent humid Sunday night at the Buenas Nuevas Pentecostal Church, rows of plastic chairs are packed, leaving some to watch from the sidewalk outside.

The church is a converted apartment on the ground floor of a crowded building in Havana's Vedado neighborhood. Light and music from the service pour through an open window, just below a pair of black lace underwear drying on a clothesline.

The church was founded in the 1950s by Pentecostal missionaries from the U.S. who arrived just before Fidel Castro's revolution. The congregation had 15 members when it started meeting again in 1994. Now, it's up to 300.


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