Nueva Vida (NY) Celebrates First Year of Ministry

Post a Comment » Written on June 2nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
JAMESTOWN, NY (June 2, 2008) – Three area Evangelical Covenant churches gathered with Nueva Vida Covenant Church on Sunday to celebrate the Latino congregation’s first anniversary.

Approximately 150 people participated, including individuals from First Covenant and Zion Covenant churches in Jamestown, as well as Scandia Covenant Church in Russell, Pennsylvania.

CommunionParticipants heard testimonies, celebrated communion (accompanying photo), and ate a meal together following the service. See Time for Celebration for additional photos of the event.

Nueva Vida, a Spanish-speaking Latino congregation, meets on Sunday afternoons in the First Covenant facility. Nearly all of the members of Nueva Vida are of Puerto Rican origin. Sunday attendance generally ranges between 50 and 75 and continues to grow. Ten people recently were baptized.

The ministry began when pastor Alfonso Pagan and four or five others were seeking to start a church, but wanted to be part of a denomination. He initially met First Covenant associate pastor Daniel Soderberg after finding the church on the denomination’s website.

Conversations continued with the church’s senior pastor, David Trosper, as well as with Brad Bergfalk, then the senior pastor of Zion Covenant Church. Both congregations were eager to begin supporting the work, Trosper says.

He prepared for the congregation’s decision by preaching a series of sermons on diversity. Working alongside one another has enabled the churches to grow spiritually, the pastor notes.

“There have been walls of prejudice that have come tumbling down as we’ve gotten to know each other,” Trosper says.

“It has brought a lot of people together to do things in the city that might not have occurred before.” Pagan adds. “We’re just really thrilled to be a part of what God is doing through the Covenant churches.”

In January, the churches participated in the traditional Latino celebration of Three Kings Day, which falls on Epiphany. Gifts are given on this day rather than on Christmas Day. As part of the celebration, the churches worked with local organizations to give toys to 75 children in the community who otherwise might not have received anything.

Prior to Christmas, Nueva Vida members attended the Living Christmas Tree presentation at First Covenant. They had never seen that kind of celebration, says Trosper. “They’re looking forward to doing it with us this year.”

The established churches are helping to guide Nueva Vida towards formal adoption into the Evangelical Covenant Church in about two years. Pagan is enrolling in classes at CHET, the denomination’s training school for Spanish-speaking ministers.

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