Luz de Vida’s new building in Ecuador

2015-06-11 12.05.01When the Luz de Vida congregation in Quito, Ecuador, needed to find a new worship location before July 15, 2015, God provided one on July 13—only two days before the deadline. On Sunday, July 19, the congregation began services at the new building with morning worship at 10:00 am and an evening prayer service at 5:00 pm.

As in many large cities, meeting space in Quito is rare and expensive. Church leaders were thrilled to find a reasonably priced building that fits congregational needs in a more centralized location than their previous meeting site.

One of the group’s two pastors, Rev. Pablo Landázuri says, “We know that a church building is not the church. However, from a witnessing perspective, having our own building helps to change Ecuadorians’ perception of non-Roman Catholic churches as informal or ahistorical. Having our own building is also a witness in itself that shows our commitment to be ‘salt and light’ in the midst of the community. Besides that, we now have more room for different activities that we were not able to have in the past. Now we have four Sunday school and catechism classes at the same time, a small library, nursery, and a study that are a great blessing for the members and visitors.”

Pablo and Verenisse Landazuri-cThe congregation welcomes a steady stream of visitors looking for a confessional, reverent, loving, and gospel-centered Christian church. Luz de Vida celebrated its tenth anniversary on September 25 in its new location.

The building is in a residential area on the north side of the city, only two blocks from a main avenue. Public transportation and parking are available. It has a large room that works well for worship, a cafeteria, and several smaller rooms. Because it was originally a house that had been renovated for commercial use, its cost per square foot was significantly lower than similar buildings.

The purchase price of $300,000 USD was negotiated down to $270,000. The small Luz de Vida congregation raised an initial payment of $130,000, but the remaining $140,000 needed to be paid by December 1, 2015.

At an October 5 congregational meeting, Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Pella, IA (who ordained Rev. Landázuri to serve as a missionary to Ecuador), approved a plan to provide financial support for the building purchase. An individual gift of $25,000 has been designated for the Luz de Vida building, and Covenant will borrow the rest of the required amount from its existing building fund. The church will pay back its building account as gifts are received through congregational fundraising efforts and support from other URCNA churches.

worship“Above all, we are humbled and thankful to the Lord for Covenant’s generosity and their commitment to support the Ministry of Luz de Vida in Quito,” Rev. Landázuri says. “God has provided in ways that seemed impossible in our eyes. Once again, God has shown us that ‘with God nothing will be impossible.’ This commits Luz de Vida to remain faithful to the Word and the Reformed faith.”

Churches or individuals wishing to contribute to Luz de Vida support may contact Carrol Hol, cjhol@mahaska.org or Covenant Reformed Church, 2805 Fifield Road, Pella, IA 50219; 641-620-1777.

The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 12 of the October 28, 2015, issue of Christian Renewal.

Advertisements

URC of Nampa dedicates new building

After ten years of renting worship space, the United Reformed Church of Nampa, ID, celebrated the dedication of its new building on March 31, 2012. Sunday worship services were first held in the new facility on April 1.

The dedication service began at 3:00 p.m. with an informal time led by the church’s three elders. Tom Simmonds welcomed attendees and Martin Van Egmond led a time of acknowledgments that Rev. Nick Smith reports was “particularly appreciated and enjoyed by the congregation.” Vance Barbour facilitated greetings from representatives of various churches that had received formal invitations.

The ceremony transitioned into a more formal service as a small choir sang, “I Love Thy Church, O Lord” with the congregation joining in the last two stanzas.

Three ministers led this portion of the service, focusing on different aspects of the occasion through Scripture readings, brief exhortations, prayers, and congregational singing. Under the heading, “For the Glory of God,” Rev. Nick Smith opened with a responsive reading of scriptural texts prior to his exhortation. Rev. Jonathan VanHoogen, Cloverdale URC in Boise, ID, spoke about “For the Church,” followed by Rev. Rick Hogaboam, Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Nampa, ID, speaking on “For the City.” Rev. Smith closed the service with a responsive benediction and a doxology.

“The congregational singing was one of the highlights of the dedication and our subsequent worship services in the new building,” writes Rev. Smith. “We have long been a robust-singing congregation, but the acoustics of the new sanctuary really emphasized and accentuated the importance of congregational participation in worship.”

The United Reformed Church of Nampa is comprised of 148 individuals in 37 families. About 20 additional individuals in several more families regularly attend services. The congregation meets for worship at 10:15 am and 6:00 pm in its new location at 12693 Orchard Ave., which is on the west side of Nampa.

The location is convenient for many rural members who drive in from the west as well as for members who live in towns east of Nampa, since they have easier access to the new facility via a freeway.

Rev. Paul Ipema (now at Community URC in Schererville, IN) was the planting pastor for the church, which met for less than a year prior to organizing and joining the URCNA in 2002.

When the congregation began meeting in the First Congregational United Church of Christ, rent was relatively low for the good location.

“As the years went on,” explains Rev. Smith, “rent increased, and the UCC adopted an aggressively public political agenda that interfered with our ability to communicate who we are to the community.” He adds, “We are eager to have a more consistent, public, clear Reformed witness in Nampa.”

The church has seen an increase in visitors after only two Sundays in the new building, with ten additional families visiting on Easter Sunday. The church also anticipates more opportunities for fellowship activities, such as a monthly congregational meal.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held July of 2011 and construction began soon afterward. Progress continued through the winter with the final touches completed this spring. The rectangle shape of the new facility is efficiently laid out, with the sanctuary and fellowship hall on each end. The sanctuary will comfortably seat 260 persons and about that many people can be seated in the fellowship hall. Hallways flanking a nursery and kitchen provide access to classrooms and offices. More information about the congregation is available at http://www.urcnampa.org.

The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 18 of the May 2, 2012, issue of Christian Renewal.