Spanish Church Plants English Congregation in Chicago

Carmelo Mercado, Lake Union Herald, and Adventist Review
Spanish Church Plants English Congregation in Chicago
A celebration was held on Sabbath, July 15, for the organization of a new Illinois Conference church plant called 2nd Generation. [Photo: Lake Union Herald]

The Central Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church of Chicago, Illinois, has a prominent history as the first Hispanic church to be organized in the Lake Union, part of the North American Division of the Adventist Church. On the Adventist Archives website, there can be found an article published in 1947 in the Lake Union Herald entitled “Attempting Great Things for God.”

There, Jose Rivera shares that when he came to pastor the congregation in 1944, there were only 12 people. That first Sabbath, the pastor challenged the members to “attempt great things for God.”

Rivera writes that they began to pray, fast, plan, and work. The congregation started a radio program that broadcast every Sunday and distributed Spanish-language magazines to 200 homes. He also says that they had plans to distribute 10,000 pamphlets in preparation for an evangelistic campaign with the goal to plant a second new congregation.

It just so happens that, at a meeting of the church’s board in the summer of 2015, Luis Eguiluz, a pastor at the Illinois Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, shared with the church board the desire of the conference to see which churches would be interested in planting a new church. At the end of the meeting, Luis Colon shared his dream of planting an English-speaking church. Eguiluz then shared with him the information needed to start the process.

On August 8, 2015, a group of committed members had their first church plant meeting, in which they voted to name the new church “2nd Generation.”

Their first Sabbath worship service was held on November 28, 2015, with the theme “Believe in Miracles.” Even though some of the leaders had double responsibilities in the two congregations, they worked hard to grow the new group through health programs, creative prayer initiatives, community service activities, and even an evangelistic campaign. The congregation grew to the point of being approved as a company in October 2020, and in February 2023, they were approved to be organized as a church.

Personally, I marvel at the missionary spirit of seeing a Hispanic church plant an English-speaking church. My prayer is that this spirit of “attempting great things for God” will spread to each church member and each pastor in our union.

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

Carmelo Mercado, Lake Union Herald, and Adventist Review