Culver City Spanish church began the year by celebrating the payment of their mortgage as well as the dedication of their church building—an accomplishment almost 30 years in the making.
When the Culver City Spanish congregation began meeting in 1968, they did not yet have a sanctuary of their own. That milestone wouldn’t come until the early 90s, when a church member was walking in the neighborhood and saw a building for sale. This building would become the new home for the Culver City Spanish congregation.
Giddell Garcia, current pastor at Culver City Spanish church, noted that there have been six pastors of the congregation, including him, from the time that building was purchased until today. “When I got there in 2018, I realized we had that mortgage, and we were not too far away from paying it off,” Garcia recalled. “We were $250,000 away from paying it off.”
Amid that discovery, Garcia also saw that, at the maturity of the mortgage, a balloon payment of $60,000 would require the loan to be refinanced if the balance was not paid. So, the church finance committee made a plan to complete payment of the mortgage without having to refinance. According to plan, they paid the mortgage in November 2022, with the final check sent the first week of the month.
“For me, it’s a blessing that, in the midst of the pandemic, we were able to continue paying—and paying extra—so by November, we were able to send the last payment,” Garcia said.
The church hosted a week of celebration from January 7-14, 2023. To kick off the week, Jaime Heras, Southern California Conference (SCC) Hispanic Region director, spoke about the purposes of the temple, encouraging members to continue being faithful in this new phase of the congregation’s experience. Celebrations were filled with singing and special music. There were interviews with longtime members, plus a review of the church’s history. Throughout the week, previous pastors addressed the congregation.
As the week came to a close, SCC President Velino A. Salazar presented the dedication for the building; SCC Treasurer/CFO Kathleen Diaz, four of the church elders, and Garcia burned the mortgage papers; and Diaz presented a check to the church for $2,500 for evangelism.
Salazar recalled his time pastoring the congregation from 1987-1989 as he encouraged the members of the church today. “Brothers and sisters,” he said, “while we are here thanking and praising God for this temple, may God help us to refocus our mission and ministry of making an impact near and far with the gospel of Jesus.”
To watch the services, visit Culver City Spanish church on Facebook at https://facebook.com/culver.spanish.7.
By Lauren Lacson