Amistad Cristiana

 
Amistad Cristiana (Christian Fellowship) is a church and growing Hispanic ministry in Sioux Center with whom Bethel CRC partners for a combined English/Spanish service each fall. The church, located at 130 Third St. NW, Sioux Center, holds services in Spanish at 3:30 p.m. each Sunday. All are welcome!
 
 
Historia de la iglesia (church history)
 
Amistad started in the spring of 1995 after a group of individuals from Sioux Center — from both the Christian Reformed and Reformed Church of American denominations — realized Hispanics were coming into the area.
 
“This group started some Bible studies with the recently arrived Hispanics,” said longtime Amistad member Piet Koene of Orange City. “Within about six months, the group held its first afternoon worship service.”
 
The ministry, considered a combined effort between the CRC and RCA churches, continued to grow. Housed within the basement of Covenant CRC originally, it was led by an intern for a year before missionary Pastor Dan Kuipers came on board in 1999 and stayed for three years.
 
One question continued to linger for Amistad: What is it?
 
“Were we a church? Or just a group of Christians meeting together? An outreach ministry? We were trying to figure out what we were,” Koene said. “We realized in the two years after Dan left that we started to look like a church.”
 
Amistad called its first pastor, Arturo Gomez, as a result and moved into the American Legion Building. Gomez stayed 2003-2007. Gianna Gracia has been pastor since June 2008. He has seen the church double in attendance, resulting in a move back to Covenant CRC and then purchasing its own building — the former Doc's Bar & Cafe downtown Sioux Center in January 2013 — because of growth.
 
“Having our own building now is important for the growth of Amistad but also the identity for Amistad — it’s important for a church to have its own location,” Koene said. “It has been a long process to convert a bar and dance hall into a church, but this is a very big and wonderful step. Everyone is grateful, happy and pleased.”
 
The church still struggles with how it’s viewed outside of its congregation. Although it’s not an official church plant, a number of years ago Classis Iakota — one of the 47 classes within the CRC — recognized Amistad as an emerging church. As a result, Amistad sends delegates to classis meetings. The Classis Iakota fall 2013 meeting was even held at Amistad. Amistad also continues to receive financial support from the RCA.