By Pablo Jaime Sainz
Chula Vista Spanish-speaking residents who wish to learn more about the Gospels and God’s message, now will be able to attend the services in Spanish offered by the First United Methodist Church, said minister Luis Garcia.
“Chula Vista has always had an important Spanish-speaking population,” he said. “At one time we realized that within our congregation there were people who preferred to listen to the Lord’s word in their own native tongue, which is Spanish.”
And even though before, in 2000, services in Spanish were started, the Methodist Church didn’t have a lot of response from the public.
It wasn’t until 2003, when Garcia started a complete program of services in Spanish, when more and more people have joined the Methodist Church.
“There’s a great need in the community, and it is our duty to provide the necessary means to share the Gospel with people who prefer to speak Spanish,” he said.
According to Garcia, the Methodist Church “is a denomination that believes in God as a divine being but at the same time He is so personal that each of us can have a relationship with Him. We also believe that the road to God is through Jesus Christ. We believe the Bible is God’s word.”
In the United States there are around eight million Methodists, according to Garcia.
The First United Methodist Church of Chula Vista has about 550 members, and in average 35 people attend services in Spanish, he said.
The vast majority of the Spanish-speaking persons at the church are of Mexican descent, he added. In general, the people who attend Spanish-language services are young families, with elementary and middle school-aged children.
“Our growth has been from the inside out,” Garcia said. “This year will reach out more to the community. Our element of self-promotion is ourselves: The testimony we give out is our best promotion. If outside the Church we lead a good life, if we follow on Jesus’ foot-steps, people will notice that we put into practice what we preach.”
For those people who have stayed away from religion because they didn’t identify with the services in their own church, or because the services seemed to them very repetitive and boring, Garcia makes an invitation to the First United Methodist Church of Chula Vista.
“The worship services in Spanish are joyful, contemporary. I think that is a great opportunity to celebrate our communion with Christ and share it with others.”
The minister said that these services are for “people who hunger for God and they wish to lean and practice God’s word. We invite people who don’t have a church or a place of reunion. We’re open for everybody.”
Garcia said members of the First United Methodist Church of Chula Vista will continue setting the example through their good actions.
“We’re in our second year with services in Spanish and we believe our responsibility is inside and outside the church. Inside, because that’s where we learn about the Gospel; outside, because that’s where we practice God’s word.”
In addition to Sunday services, the First United Methodist Church of Chula Vista offers Bible school for children, youth activities, Bible study, women’s reunion, and worship reunion.
For the Hispanic community…
These are the services that the First United Methodist Church offers in Spanish:
Sunday: Sunday worship (11:15 a.m.)
Monday: Women’s reunion (6 p.m.)
Wednesday: Bible study (6:20 p.m.)
Friday: Prayer reunion (6 p.m.)
The First United Methodist Church of Chula Vista is located at 915 Paseo Ranchero, near E. H St., in Chula Vista. For further information, you can call (619) 656-2525, Ext. 102. Or visit www.fumccv.org.