On April 9, Spanish-American church celebrated 40 years since the Paulson Hall building was amazingly relocated from 1825 Michigan Avenue in Los Angeles to 1815 Bridge Street a few blocks away, the current location for Spanish-American church.
“To speak of the Spanish-American church is to remember the work of Hispanic evangelism in Southern California and specifically in the city of Los Angeles,” said Jose M. Gonzales, head deacon, who put together a comprehensive booklet of the church’s history for the occasion. “East Los Angeles is where Hispanic evangelism first took place. A church emerged in the 1900s, Hispanic company, which would later be named Spanish-American church.”
The Paulson Hall building, named after David Paulson, a prominent Adventist surgeon and a respected pastor and philanthropist, was owned by White Memorial Hospital, now Adventist Health White Memorial. In 1978, Arnold Trujillo joined Spanish-American church as its pastor. Around that time, White Memorial planned to demolish the building to make space for a parking structure. Trujillo had the idea to relocate the building, which was in good condition. He approached hospital administration with a request to donate the building and the money it would have cost to demolish the structure to offset the moving cost, and they agreed. The hospital also donated an apartment complex that was moved with Paulson Hall.
Engineers at the time were uncertain that this relocation could happen due to the building’s size, claiming it would take a miracle. The 200-ton building was divided into three sections, each transported separately on 18-wheeler trucks that took up the entire street, in May and June 1981.
The anniversary commemorated this miraculous relocation project that gave the church its nickname: the miracle church.
“The greatest miracle of ‘the miracle church’ will be to see all the redeemed souls that by God´s grace will be in His kingdom as a result of the faithful testimony of this vibrant church,” said Jaime Heras, Southern California Conference Hispanic region director.
Special invited guests were pastors Trujillo and Raul Ernesto Castillo, who both were instrumental in the completion of the building project. The church was in full attendance with current and former members for a day filled with joyous music, storytelling, reunion, and reflection of the century-old history.
"I’m glad I was young when this happened, because who in his right mind would embark in a project like this,” shared Trujillo. “Yet God was with us, and to His honor and glory we are here."
“This celebration is important to remember how the Lord has been faithful to His people in the Spanish-American church,” added Guillermo Garcia, senior pastor. “That day was also an opportunity to connect the old generation with the new generation.”
By Araya Moss