MARYVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 27, 2016) -- Years ago when there was talk of starting a Hispanic church in Blount County, St. John United Methodist looked like a good place to get one going.
The church is located in the Eagleton community, where a number of Hispanic families live. Two Latino grocery stores are within sight of each other.
Because the congregation at St. John was dwindling, space was already available for a new ministry to come on board.
The idea at the start was to house the two separate ministries in the same building but keep their individual identities. Anglos showing up for their programs and Hispanics likewise doing their own thing under the same roof on East Broadway.
But along the way, the two congregations have merged into one under pastors Bill Shelton and Daniel Castillo. They haven’t let cultural or language barriers get in the way.
“We decided after only a few months we are not going to host a church, we are going to be a church,” Shelton said. “We have been given the opportunity to be the church Christ wants us to be.”