It was my honor on December 2, the first Sunday of Advent, to worship and bring greetings from ABCUSA at Iglesia de Quebrada in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. Board of General Ministries Director Rev. Felipe Candelaria is the pastor at Iglesia de Quebrada de Caguas, the sister church to New Covenant Baptist Church in Pottstown, PA where my wife, Melody Walden is the pastor. The churches exchanged Christmas Cards, prayer requests and pictures of the congregations.
After morning worship, Pastor Felipe and I traveled to the rededication service for Iglesia Bautista la Esperanza. I was asked to represent ABCUSA at the rededication service from the Office of the General Secretary.
In late May and early June a joint mission team from the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABCNJ) and the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware (ABCOPAD) partnered with ABCUSA and American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS)to work on Iglesia Bautista la Esperanza. Denise Gratzel from ABCNJ and Rev. Mark Mahserjian-Smith from ABCOPAD along with myself from ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary cleaned and painted in what could be considered phase 2 of the reconstruction of the temple (Church building). The church building had been nearly destroyed in hurricane Maria. With a new roof and some rebuilt walls, the team then set to work preparing for the next stages.
December 2, 2018, 18 months after hurricane Maria, Iglesia Bautista la Esperanza was finished and rededicated in a wonderful 3 hour service. The service was presided over by Rev. Dr. Ephrahim Morales the current pastor and son of the founding pastor. Greetings were shared from Rev. Edgardo Caraballo, the executive minister Iglesia Bautistas de Puerto Rico, myself from ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary and Rev. Rev. F. Salvador Orellana, National Coordinator for Latino Ministries for ABHMS. Following the service the congregation hosted a wonderful dinner reception for all in attendance.
The rebuilding, restoring and rededication of Iglesia Bautista la Esperanza is a wonderful example of ABC covenant partners working together to encourage a sister congregation. ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary and ABHMS partnering with several regions and many donors to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
To God be the Glory.