The church and the multi-ethnic Hispanic community

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This project was based on the developing need for a program growing out of the relationship between the church and the multi-ethnic Hispanic community. It is crucial for the church to meet the needs of all Hispanic people and to serve the diverse Hispanic community more effectively. It has to be a church for all people. When the First Spanish Baptist Church of Union City, New Jersey, began in 1969, it was felt that the congregation would continue to be entirely Cuban origin, because of the rapid growth of the Cuban community in northern New Jersey. There was a time when refugees arrived every week from Cuba, but now the Cuban influx has stopped. Many of them are moving to the Sun Belt--Florida, Georgia, Texas, California--looking for better weather and better business opportunities, and very few come back. Meanwhile, other Hispanics from Puerto Rico and Central and South America are replacing them. Among these are people with Christian backgrounds who would like to join a congregation that makes· them feel comfortable. They want to be able to share within the Christian fellowship; some have expressed their feeling that they do not want to suffer hostility both outside and inside the congregation. They want the church to be a place for spiritual rejoicing, mental relaxation and sharing of love. If the congregation has sufficient vision, it' should be concerned about its community five years from now. 
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