NOTE: This is the third of a four-part of a series by religion writer Debra Ryan and church historian Rev. Pamela J. Cole on four church buildings that are being restored by Spanish-speaking congregations.

Two local churches of different denominations have bonded together to create a situation beneficial to both of them.

The congregation of the North Baptist Church located at 750 County St. decided to sell their building due to financial reasons according to Pastor Don Mier.

Mier has been the pastor for approximately one year, previously serving at the First Baptist Church in Fall River for 43 years.

The church building was sold to the New Bedford Seventh Day Adventist Spanish Church. They have allowed the Baptist congregation to continue meeting on Sunday mornings at 10:30 as they have no service on Sundays.

“We sold the building for economic reasons,” Mier said. “It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It allows us to focus on what the church is really about — the people.
What was a challenge became a blessing.”

The Seventh Day Adventist purchased the church and their growing congregation is flourishing.
Right now the church is in the process of receiving a new pastor. The leaders and elders are in charge until the new pastor arrives.

Youth leader Levi Savant and assistant Ellie Canelon are excited about what is going on in the church. “We all work as a team,” Savant said.

Services are in Spanish but when a visitor only speaks English, a translator is provided. “After coming three times, you are no longer a visitor, you are part of our family,” Canelon said.

The church follows up with visitation. “That is how I became a member,” Savant said. “My mother attended church with a good friend and members of the church visited our home in 2008.

“They invited me to a week of prayer,” he said. “I went and ended up being baptized and joining the church.”

Canelon grew up in the church. “I was 9 years old when I was baptized,” she said. “The church members are my family.”

“The vision of the church is to preach the word,” Savant said. “God loves us and He is coming back. We train people to be leaders.”

The church encourages healthy eating. Every Friday they conduct segments with information on healthy eating, financial management, time management and life skills.

“I love to see the kids grow and learn,” Canelon said.

Outreach is very important to the congregation. Members including the youth group along with their parents visit patients in nursing homes. Collections are taken to provide food baskets and clothing to people in homes who cannot get out. They offer bible study and prayer to those they visit.

Sharing the church with the Baptist congregation has been a good relationship according to Savant. “We are all here for the same purpose,” he said. “It is a joy to have them around.”

The church meets on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:15 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a pot-luck dinner after. There are also home groups that meet on other nights.