A new church to be launched this year will give Fort Dodge area Hispanics a Presbyterian congregation of their own.
It will be the first new Presbyterian church to debut in northern Iowa since 1964, according to the Rev. David Feltman, general presbyter of the Presbytery of North Central Iowa.
''It's exciting,'' said Feltman, who was formerly the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Dodge. ''We're very pleased that we will be able to reach this population.''
The Rev. Bien Acosta, who has led a Hispanic ministry in Fort Dodge for about five years, will be the pastor of the new church. A name for the church hasn't been picked yet.
The new congregation will meet in the chapel at First Presbyterian Church, 1111 Fifth Ave. N. Acosta said the congregation wants to get a building of its own so that it will have more space and be more visible.
Between 30 and 45 people now attend weekly Spanish language services at the church, he said. They will be the nucleus of the new congregation.
Acosta said those people are very enthusiastic about becoming a full-fledged congregation.
''They're pretty excited about it because they know how important it is to have a church,'' he said.
In addition to providing worship opportunities, the new church will do social work for Hispanic immigrants in Hamilton, Humboldt, Webster and Wright counties, according to Acosta.
Acosta said the formation of the new congregation is ''a project that is of interest to the Presbyterian church.''
Presbyterian organizations have contributed money to help pay all the startup expenses of the venture. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has awarded a $100,000 grant. The church's Synod of Lakes and Prairies has contributed $70,000 and the Presbytery of North Central Iowa has chipped in $30,000.
Acosta said anyone interested in getting involved with the new congregation should call the First Presbyterian office at 576-2091.
''Everybody in church can be involved and enthusiastic about the new Hispanic congregation,'' he said. ''They would be very welcome.''
Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com