AFRICANGLOBE – I wrote in May 2011 of how Temple Missionary Baptist Church in San Bernardino is one of a growing number of historically black churches that are establishing Hispanic ministries.
At the time, Pastor Raymond Turner told me that the congregation was planning to add a Spanish-language service by the end of 2011.
But there weren’t enough people who were attending a weekly Spanish Bible study Temple had established in 2010, so the church delayed the start of Spanish-language worship services – until last Sunday.
“Trying to build a service is really challenging because there are some cultural barriers you have to overcome, a trust factor,” Turner told me.
The Jan. 6 bilingual service attracted about 80 people, Turner said. The second service is Sunday, Jan. 13, at the church, 1583 W. Union St., San Bernardino. Temple hopes to begin Spanish Sunday-school classes later this year.
Turner credited Pastor Alfredo Rodriguez with expanding a Spanish Bible study since November to the point where a Spanish worship service could succeed.
Temple’s first attempt to start a Spanish worship service with a previous Spanish-speaking minister was to build it from the ground up.
Rodriguez has been ministering to Inland Latinos for years, and he had a core group from a San Bernardino Bible study to start with in November, Turner said. The Bible study had been meeting in a home and was looking for a church.
“I had put the word out that I wanted to build a ministry” for Hispanics, Turner said. “We were looking for someone who would be part of the church, not separate from the church.”
Rodriguez also wanted a church that would treat the Spanish-language ministry as integral to its mission, not as a guest in the building, Turner said. Temple is hiring a part-time bilingual staff member for the Spanish-language ministry.
It’s unclear whether future services will be bilingual, entirely in Spanish or a mix.
“We’re going to trust God to take it where he’s going to take it,” Turner said.
By; David Olson