9/6/2013 6:41:00 PM Celebration remembers 50 years in Bethel church history
Pastor Larry Garza invites everyone to help celebrate 50 years. Photo by Briana Alzola.
With a strong history within the Othello community, the Bethel Spanish Assembly of God has been around for 50 years. They will celebrate their milestone with a series of visits from former pastors and a look into the history of the church. The celebration will run from Thursday to Sunday, with a special banquet Saturday, Sept. 7, at 5:30 p.m. Each night of the celebration will remember a different decade in the history of the church. The first will be Thursday and will recognize the first 10 years, Friday the next. There will be 10 years remembered Saturday and the last 20 will be during service Sunday. Former pastors will stop by and preach during the day celebrating the decade they first served at the church. They will all also be present at the banquet Sept. 7. The services will be Thursday at 6 p.m., Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. In addition to the sermon from the former pastor, there will be some history of the church presented. The church first opened in Othello in 1953 in the building that now houses the Othello Community Museum. They were in that building for eight or nine years, pastor Larry Garza said. Then, they built a new church on Cedar Street, where the congregation was housed for 40 years. A growing number of people meant they eventually outgrew that location and moved to their new, much larger, home on First Avenue. They've been there the last two years or so. The previous church sat about 300 people. This one has room for 950. There are about 550 people in the congregation, but it is still growing. There are two services, one at 9:30 a.m. and one at 5:30 p.m. Both are bilingual. This celebration is important because it's a great thing to acknowledge how good God has been to this community the last 50 years, Garza said. Everyone is invited to their banquet, because it's not just about celebrating the congregation, it's about thanking the businesses and other community members who have put in time, effort and help into letting the church continue to grow over the last half a decade, Garza said. He also wants to thank the church leaders who have given their guidance and served the church. They wanted to start their celebration of 50 years before the harvest begins, since it is something that helped the church grow over the years. The church has been very successful in more ways than one. There have been a high number of people participating in disciple programs and other missions. These programs have helped served places like the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Texas and many other parts of the world. This church has also seen a high number of people go into ministry and serve as pastors, missionaries and student ambassadors all over the United States and Mexico. Garza grew up in Othello. He came back nine years ago to be the pastor at the church. It's a wonderful experience to speak in front of those he grew up with, to watch the church grow and live out its purpose within the community. "It has been a joy to serve Bethel," Garza said. Now, they look back at God's goodness over the last 50 years and prepare for the next 50 years, he said.