In 2013,Pipestone (Minn.) Christian Reformed Church invited a group of Hispanics to use their church facilities. Today the church holds both Spanish and English worship services.
This Hispanic group originally started in Edgerton, Minnesota, and then moved to a local park in Pipestone, where they attended a Bible study led by Pastor Aaron Gonzalez. When the weather turned cold they moved into an area Pizza Ranch.
Marie Ekdom is a member of Pipestone CRC. She had met America Quilantan, one of the leaders of the Hispanic group, at work. When Quilantan told Ekdom about her group’s need for more space, the need was brought up before Pipestone CRC’s evangelism committee and came to the attention of Home Missions. Pipestone decided to allow the group use of their church building for Bible study, child care, and technology, said Gonzalez.
Commenting on the initial plan, Ekdom said, “The Hispanic community was invited to worship with us, but that created a problem because some of the members did not speak English.” A radio transmitter was used where the message was spoken in Spanish, added Gonzalez. The Hispanic portion of the church grew to about 60 people and continues to expand.
Today the Hispanic members of the church not only have their own worship service but are also active with the English-speaking members of the congregation. “The relationship between the English and Spanish members continue to develop,” said Ekdom. The church celebrates communion together as well as attends potlucks. In the works is a joint service.
Pastor Gonzalez commented, “From my perspective, I have seen an open heart attitude from the American congregation. They have not only been welcoming, but embracing. Likewise, I have seen a gratitude in the Latino community toward Pipestone CRC.”