Puerto Rico celebrates 75th anniversary
The Church of the Nazarene in Puerto Rico celebrated its 75th anniversary in late October. More than 500 people attended the celebration event held in the town of Arecibo.
During the celebration service, they showed four videos that explained the history of the church in Puerto Rico, how it got started, and what it has become. Another video had a tribute to each of the district superintendents that had served in Puerto Rico. Each district gave two specials, via song or dance.
Andrés Hernández, superintendent of the East District, and Marta González, superintendent of the West District, gave a message of vision for the future of the Church in Puerto Rico.
“The vision of our founders must continue guiding our work in the years to come,” they said. “May we be a church that seeks to reach all groups in our society without making any distinction, with the doors open for all who wish to enter through them to find something that will transform their lives forever.”
General Superintendent Carla Sunberg preached a message that challenged the church in Puerto Rico to “write a new song” (Psalms 98:1-3) and participate in what God will do in the coming years in the Church of the Nazarene in Puerto Rico.
The Church of the Nazarene began in 1944 in Puerto Rico when José Lebrón was appointed as the district superintendent. He began establishing Churches on the island in 1941, starting with the First Church of the Nazarene in San Juan. He established churches in San Juan, Ponce, Carolina, Barceloneta, and Santurce. The five churches became officially organized at the first district assembly in 1949.
As missionaries came to the island, they subsequently took over as superintendents. Harold Hampton, missionary to Puerto Rico from 1952 to 1954, was the superintendent who followed Lebrón. William and Juanita Porter served on the island as missionaries from 1954 to 1976. In 1971, the leadership of the Church of the Nazarene passed to a native Puerto Rican with the election of Benjamín Román. In 1980, Puerto Rico became a regular phase 3 district, and with the growth, the church created a second district in 1993. Currently, there are 24 churches in the East District and 27 in the West District.
--Church of the Nazarene Mesoamerica Region