With Sunday's special service, Iglesia Presbisteriana will be officially open, but not much else will change.
The church at 118 N. 12th St. is basically for Spanish-speaking people, with the sermon preached in Spanish, but it is open to anyone who wants to share the word of God.
The Rev. Bien Acosta, from Republica Dominicana, is in his sixth year preaching through the First Presbyterian Church. Back in 1996, he was an exchange visiting pastor sent by the conference for the "Year with Latin Americans" celebration. He first traveled to the Twin Cities, where 20 pastors gathered from Latin American countries. After a week these pastors were sent to churches throughout the country, and Acosta ended up in Fort Dodge for six weeks.
His church in Puerto Plata is 168 years old, the oldest church on the island and the first to preach the Protestant gospel as part of the Wesleyan Methodist Society of London.
Acosta said the development of the new congregation "is a project of the entire Presbytery, but the dream was born in the First Presbyterian Church. I would like to give credit to that congregation. They are wonderful people."
For five years, he had office space at First Presbyterian, and services were held at that church.
If you go:
WHO: Iglesia Presbisteriana.
WHAT: Celebration ser-vice at Spanish speaking church in Fort Dodge.
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Regular church service at 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: At the church, 118 N. 12th St.
"It took a lot of time to plan everything," he said of Iglesia Presbisteriana.
Even now, as the church celebrates its opening at a 2:30 p.m. service Sunday, it's already running out of room.
"This space is functional, but there's no space to expand," Acosta said. "It's a challenge. We have a room for young children, mostly to keep them busy while I preach, but they are learning the word of God. The bigger ones have to stay in the congregation because we don't have space for them. That's very painful."
It's his goal, he said, to establish a strong Sunday school.
Acosta preaches his sermons in Spanish, with some bits in English. He said it is a perfect place for anyone learning the language, and especially for students taking Spanish classes.
"They rehear the word of God in Spanish," he said. "This is a great opportunity for somebody to practice the language. And this would be a support community for Latin American students in town."
Starting a new church isn't an easy matter, he said. "Human beings want to experiment by themselves first. That's our rebellious nature. When we learn how hard it is to go by ourselves in life, then we turn to God, but after a lot of problems. Young people need God, as everyone else. God must be an important part of their lives. Youths should realize that."
Skepticism, he added, "is a big problem, too. Many people know there is a God, but they don't want to have anything to do with him."
Acosta hopes to see that change, both for the people in his congregation and for the rest of the world.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org