Our church in its work to promote the Good News has marched on, despite the strong trails, and forever uplifting with joy the glorious banner of salvation in Christ Jesus.
Our story began with Reverend Angel Villamil Ortiz. On his way to fulfill his calling as a missionary in Peru, God allowed him a stay in New York City. During his 15 month stay he was pivotal in helping to organize and lead a vision of opening a church that catered to the Spanish speaking population within the Spanish Harlem community. He worked tirelessly to have this ministry be recognized by The Christian & Missionary Alliance. After prayer and hard work the First Christian & Missionary Alliance Spanish Church was incorporated on April 5, 1929. At this historical point Pastor Jose Franco was appointed to lead this church which was located on 44th Street and 8th Ave. Years later following God’s direction the church acquired property in 114th St. Following a time of growth and expansion within the ministry, the church sold the property in 114th St. and purchased another property in 107th St. between Lexington and Third Ave. in Spanish Harlem, where we still congregate.
Over the past eighty years, the neighborhood has undergone substantial changes. This church has been present throughout it all. Through the decades which brought the economic uncertainty of the Great Depression, the social upheaval of the two World Wars, and the political unrest of the sixties and seventies God used this church as a light for the community. When the eighties and nineties ushered in a time of drugs, gang violence and poverty God used His community to provide love, comfort and hope for the future. God has planted a vision of love in the hearts of the pastors of this church and a willingness to serve the community no matter the odds.
Our Pastor, Rev. Ibanez, often reminds us that with or without a building we were sent to do God’s will. He gently reminds us that while we are eagerly anticipating a beautifully completed building, it is far more important that we reach others and make disciples for Christ. And, oh, what wonderful changes God has done in the lives of so many people in Spanish Harlem over these past eighty years. As we reminisce on what God has accomplished through this church we can’t help but be excited about what God has in store for us in the next 80 years. We can’t help but to dream and pray that we will continue to solidify the vision God gave this church 80 years ago, to reach the Latino population within this community. We are excited to establish an afterschool program where we will offer tutoring services to neighborhood kids from local schools. We are eager to create a computer center to educate youth and adults in new technology and assist in job placement. We are thrilled to begin having outreach activities and continue sharing the love of Christ with neighborhood families. After eighty years we can say with certainty: God’s faithfulness truly is eternal.