Fire damages Hispanic church’s building

Easter 2013 brought new beginnings from good and bad circumstances for the Hispanic Southern Baptist churches in Garden City, Kan.

A fire on Sunday afternoon, March 24, caused major damage to the building of Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana. It is the original Hispanic Southern Baptist church in Garden City.

“Someone driving past the building called the Garden City Fire Department and then the number on the church sign to alert Pastor Adolfo Armenta,” The Garden City Telegram said. “The alarm went off at 3:55 p.m. Sunday (March 24) and firefighters arrived at 3:58, Fire Chief Allen Shelton said. Seven units and 18 firefighters stayed on scene until 9:08 p.m.

“Shelton said the blaze did extensive damage to the L-shaped building’s roof,” The Garden City Telegram continued. “He said the fire was contained to the roof or attic part of the building. The fire started in the area of the furnace and there were no injuries. The cause is unknown at this point, partly due to the extent of the damage, Shelton said.”

Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana holds services at 10:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. Many of the church members gathered to watch as firefighters battled the blaze in the 40-year-old building at 309 W. Campbell.

The church is planning to start a new mission at 3111 E. Spruce Street in Garden City. However, the building’s basement is not complete. But the church got permission from the city to use the upstairs temporarily. And that is where the congregation met on Easter.

Adolfo Armenta has pastored the church for 12 years.

Meanwhile, the new Hispanic congregation in Garden City, Iglesia Bautista del Sur, dedicated its new building during a 5 p.m. service on Easter. The church began in October 2011.

Iglesia Bautista del Sur held its Easter morning service at its original location—a spacious room in the back of Red Line Motors, 804 E. Fulton.

The building dedication was the first service in the new building, a former Masonic lodge at 1107 W. Olive.

Both church members and well-wishers from other Hispanic churches in the region gathered for the building dedication.

Bernabe Augilar delivered the dedication sermon. He is pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana in Liberal.

A team of 40 people from Juarez, Mexico, came back again this year to help share the gospel with Hispanics in southwest Kansas and the Panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas.

The group also included four people from Chihuahua, Mexico.