History

The idea for CESERSE began in the mid 1990’s. Two members of the Varadero Presbyterian Reformed Church — Nacyra Gomez Cruz and her husband, Rev. Sergio Arce Martinez, pastor Emeritus of the same church –-supported by leaders of the Christian Conference for Peace, began to envision a retreat center which would be located in one of the world’s most famous beach resort. The idea was to receive, on the one hand, groups of children with diverse illnesses and difficulties, and, on the other, senior citizens from Seniors Homes, Seniors Clubs and Day-Care Houses throughout the country. The dream was to create an opportunity for these vulnerable sectors to relax in a beautiful, natural environment, while receiving the physical, psychological and spiritual benefits of a week at the beach filled with a variety of nurturing activities.

In the late 1990’s, local and international ecclesiastical and governmental groups passed through a process of maturity and growth regarding the Cuban condition. A new awareness was born about the need for a center such as CESERSE in Cuba. In 1999, following lengthy negotiations between governmental, ecclesiastic and social institutions at both the national and international levels, CESERSE opened its doors.

CESERSE has received tremendous support from local governmental institutions; friends, churches and humanitarian institutions in Europe, Canada and the United States; and the Varadero Presbyterian-Reformed Church, along with the Christian Conference for Peace for Latin America and the Caribbean. With material support from a variety of institutions, CESERSE purchased the essential supplies needed to create its basic facilities. Financial support from the Cooperation Department of the Canadian Embassy in Cuba covered the costs of upgrading and repairing the building and purchasing furniture and appliances. Finally, a 40-seat school bus donated by Pastors for Peace, a project of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) based in New York City, provides transportation to those using the center and local volunteers involved in a variety of church programs.

We are now opening our doors to international groups who can take advantage of our facilities and services while, at the same time, provide the financial and material support which allows CESERSE to continue offering its much-needed services to the Cuban community.

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