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Hispanic Ministries Makes Full Circle in Cleveland
Story by Ohio Conference Staff; Photos by A. Miguel Torres
Doug Falle, conference secretary/treasurer, helps the Cleveland Spanish First church burn their mortgage.
“Earlier this winter, the Cleveland Spanish First church officially dedicated their facility to the Lord,” reports Miguel Torres, the church’s communication director. What makes this exceptional is that the Ohio Conference church also burned their mortgage that day, paying it off in under two years.
The Hispanic work began in northeast Ohio in the 1950s and 1960s with an Adventist family in Youngstown who started meeting with a Pentecostal family on Cleveland’s East side. Meeting in homes, the group studied and worshiped together, ultimately attracting other Pentecostal families who eventually accepted the Seventh-day Adventist message.
“As a kid, I remember coming to Cleveland with my mom and other church members to pass out tracts to [Latino] people in Cleveland. There was a little group of Adventists who were meeting in a house on the East side of Cleveland,” recalls Migdalia Mason, the church clerk and an Ohio Conference Executive Committee member. As the group grew, they purchased a church for sale on the West side and started growing the congregation.
Through the years, the Hispanic work has had its ups and downs, expanding to several churches in Northeast Ohio and in the Columbus and Akron areas. Peter Simpson, pastor of the Cleveland district, established a definite plan to continue expansion back to the East side. A short time after this winter’s dedication, the church started a new congregation, renting a church from the Allegheny West Conference.
“So, we have kind of come full circle. The [Adventist] movement in Cleveland originally started on the East side and now has come back to the East side. With the Lord's blessing, [we established] a church congregation [there],” explains Mason. “The first Sabbath the group met (earlier this year), there were 25 people congregated—including those involved in planting the church. The rest were visitors and some former [Adventists] who are working their way back to the church.”
Pastor Simpson started a revival campaign soon upon his arrival last February, and much has happened during his year leading in Cleveland. “Between February and December 2012, there have been 48 new people baptized in his district,” reports Oswaldo Magaña, the conference’s director of Hispanic Ministries and clergy care and leadership development. “They had a mortgage burning ceremony and ended the day with nine new baptisms to begin 2013!”
|Pastor Peter Simpson baptizes Pathfinders of the Cleveland Spanish church.|
Candidates are pictured with Pastor Simpson
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