African American Congregation Launches Worship Experience in Spanish

The launch of ‘Shiloh en Español’ in Chicago marks a significant milestone in the area.

Lake Union Herald, and Adventist Review
African American Congregation Launches Worship Experience in Spanish
A baptism during the celebration at Shiloh Adventist church, symbolizing a new chapter of hope and unity. [Photo: Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church]

Nestled in the heart of Chicago’s South side in Illinois, United States, Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church has stood as a beacon of hope for nearly 120 years, serving a predominantly African American community. However, amid the shifting demographics of recent years, a new wave of immigrants from Central and South America, fleeing political turmoil and violence, found themselves seeking refuge in this urban landscape. 

The journey for many of these newcomers has been harrowing, as one guest shared while attending the April 13 launch of a service in Spanish at Shiloh. Forced to flee their homelands due to the devastating actions of criminals who stripped them of everything, they embarked on a grueling trek, traversing hundreds of miles on foot. Along the way, they witnessed the toll of exhaustion, with some succumbing to its relentless grip. Yet, amid the despair, a glimmer of hope emerged upon their arrival in Chicago. 

For these weary travelers, the sanctuary of Shiloh became a sanctuary in the truest sense. Here, amidst the bustling city streets, they found solace and peace, their faith renewed by a community that welcomed them with open arms. In the words of one attendee, unfamiliar with Seventh-day Adventists until now, the presence of God was palpable, a reassuring reminder that they had not been forgotten. 

As Chicago grappled with the influx of Spanish-speaking migrants, numbering more than 38,000 since the beginning of 2023, the Shiloh congregation recognized an opportunity to extend its outreach. Led by Ariel Padrón and John T. Boston II, and supported by Eddie Allen of the Lake Region Conference Multi-Cultural Ministry, the church embarked on a journey to bridge the language gap and meet the needs of this burgeoning community. 

Oscar Güity, one of the pastors of Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church. Nestled in the heart of Chicago’s South Side, Shiloh has stood as a beacon of hope for nearly 120 years, serving a predominantly African American community. [Photo: Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church]

Ariel Padrón, alongside Oscar Güity and a dedicated team, spearheaded the launch of Shiloh en Español. Their efforts were met with overwhelmingly positive response, as more than 50 members of the Hispanic community gathered for the inaugural service. A baptism punctuated the celebration, symbolizing a new chapter of hope and unity. 

The significance of this milestone was not lost on those present. Padrón emphasized the unity of purpose that characterized the endeavor, attributing its success to the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit. Allen echoed this sentiment, expressing hope for a future where such acts of humility and service would continue to shine brightly. 

For Güity, a seminarian witnessing the unfolding of God’s work, the experience was nothing short of transformative. Here, amid the diverse tapestry of cultures and backgrounds, he said, he glimpsed the profound impact of collective action guided by a shared mission. 

As the day concluded with a communal meal, blending flavors and traditions from diverse corners of the world, Shiloh echoed with the sounds of laughter and fellowship. It was a momentous occasion, a testament to the power of faith to transcend barriers and unite hearts in service to a higher calling. 

Travis Price serves as head elder for Shiloh and said he was pleased to experience this new initiative. “Today reminds me that we must prepare for heaven in every way. I’m proud to be a part of a church that makes room for others in this way.” 

As the journey continues, guided by the unwavering light of God’s love, Shiloh remains steadfast in its commitment to embrace all who seek refuge within its walls. 

The original version of this story was posted on Lake Union Herald.

Lake Union Herald, and Adventist Review