A church that began with only five people on its first Sunday a few years ago as a ministry of Broadway United Methodist Church in Council Bluffs has grown to a worshiping congregation of more than 75.
The church, called Fe y Esperanza, serves a wide region, including people from the Southwest District in Iowa as well as Omaha and Lincoln in Nebraska. “Fe y Esperanza,” their pastor, the Rev. Ruben Mendoza, explains, means faith and hope. “Every time people gather they come with faith, and . . . the hope of God is present in church.”
The congregation recently gathered for a celebration to mark their move from Broadway UMC across town to Epworth United Methodist Church. Their new home is located in a growing neighborhood of the city, where Latino residents make up more that 65% of the population. An entire floor of Epworth UMC will be dedicated to the ministries of Fe y Esperanza, including Bible studies and community outreach.
This congregation is one of five new communities of faith that are receiving priority support from the Iowa Conference in 2016. The Standing Committee on Hispanic Ministries of the Iowa Conference is contributing $13,000 toward Fe y Esperanza in 2016. These funds are made available from the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches of Iowa.