20170502ptp hispanic mass2
Parishioners celebrate during Saturday’s mass at the Iglesia De Dios Emanuel service in Pendleton. Tom Russo / Times-Post

PENDLETON — If God speaks all languages, his church should, too. It’s a philosophy put into practice and not just preached each week at Pendleton Community Church of God.

The church, 636 E. Water St., is mostly an English-speaking congregation, but twice a week — at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday — the church is the site of Spanish services offered by Iglesia De Dios Emanuel.

While all are invited, Iglesia De Dios Emanuel presents a service specifically for Spanish speakers in the Pendleton and Anderson areas.

This past Saturday, the local congregation of about 60 — led by pastor Ramon Romero and his son and youth pastor Walter Romero — celebrated its second anniversary sharing the building with the Pendleton Community Church of God.

The union is one both parties said works well for each because it allows them to follow God’s principals of opening hearts, souls, minds and doors to others.

Trey Oldham has been the senior pastor at the Pendleton Community Church of God for nine years. A couple of years ago, his staff decided it wanted to do something to help the community that no one else was doing, so it began to pray.

At the same time, Ramon Romero was looking to leave his post as pastor of a church in the northern Virginia area and move to Anderson, where he had family members.

After visiting Anderson for a Church of God conference and speaking with state church officials, who were looking for a Spanish speaking pastor to come to Indiana, Ramon Romero said he realized God was leading him to make the move.

Shortly after, Oldham said he was contacted by state Church of God officials in Indianapolis to see if they’d be interested in finding time and space to allow Ramon Romero and his family to preach at the Pendleton church.

Oldham met with the family and decided to let them use their facility to help reach out to the Spanish community in the Anderson and Pendleton areas, where there was a need.

“It just felt like this is what we were supposed to be doing,” Oldham said.

For Walter Romero and his father, an American citizen who came from El Salvador when he was a teen, the union as been a Godsend.

“We were amazed and so happy with how open they were to us here,” Walter Romero said.

His father, who has been a minister for years in the United States, had not received as much help on the East Coast to connect with Spanish speaking people who were searching for a place to worship.

Church of God officials in the Virginia area allowed the Spanish congregation to use their buildings, but it always had to pay a fee. In Pendleton there is no charge.

“In Virginia, they were always doing their own thing and we were doing ours and there really wasn’t much of a connection,” Walter Romero said. “But, when we came here, pastor Trey (Oldham) opened everything to us, and we’ve had no issues at all — they’ve really embraced us.”

The Church of God simply wanted to provide the Spanish speaking people in Madison County a place to worship, Oldham said.

The Romero family lives in the Anderson area, where there is a Spanish church big enought to serve those who live nearby; for the overflow, and those who can drive, they travel to the Pendleton Community Church of God.

“We’re trying to bridge the gap,” Oldham said.

The English and Spanish congregations don’t combine their services, but both groups hope in the future to come together and do more socializing and church activities, but the language barrier has prevented much of that.

Still, they do speak a common language — a love of God — that has helped bring them together.

“It’s been absolutely excellent to have them in the building,” Oldham said.

The Pendleton Community Church of God’s goal is to have its building used for worship seven days a week, and the Spanish congregation has helped accomplish that, officials said.

“It was all in God’s plan,” Walter Romero said.

Author photo
Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.