The Church of the Nazarene in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico held a very special celebration during Holy Week which included two special services and the baptism of 11 persons.

Pastor of the church, Oscar Rivera, said the celebration was doubly special as these were their first gatherings in more than two years. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions such as physical distancing and the limit on the number of people, the church was able to have the celebrations with a larger crowd.

At the first service which was held on Good Friday, more than 190 persons came to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus. The second service took place on Easter Sunday where more than 180 persons celebrated Jesus’ resurrection.

Songs of praise, a dramatization, testimonies from members of the church, the baptism of 11 persons and Holy Communion were all part of the celebration. There was also a sermon on Jesus’ words, “It is finished.”

“The sanctuary was full,” said Pastor Rivera, as both members of the church and visitors attended the celebration, many of them for the first time.

“All of us who attended could feel in our spirits the presence of the Most High God and of His Holy Spirit,” commented Pastor Rivera. “The atmosphere was one of joy and, in view of the great love of God to save the world, tears flowed on the faces of many and persons lifted their hands to heaven in spontaneous praise, loudly exclaiming, ‘Hallelujah, glory to God!’”

One of the most beautiful moments of the service, as Pastor Rivera explained, was when the 11 newly baptized members were presented in the sanctuary – they walked through the main door and up the central aisle towards the pulpit, dressed in white linen robes. Pastor Rivera presented the new brothers and sisters in Christ each by name while the congregation stood and received them with applause and expressions of joy and praise to God. It was very special for Pastor Rivera to mention among the names those of his two children who were also baptized!

“Although the receiving of these brothers and sisters into the church was a simple celebration, we couldn’t help but remember how similar it will be on that glorious day when our Savior and King returns and there is the marriage supper of the Lamb,” said Pastor Rivera.

Superintendent for Puerto Rico West District, Marta González, said that young Pastor Rivera from Nicaragua was pastoring in Miami before transferring to Puerto Rico. He has been working arduously over the years, building the ministry in his community.

Source: Oscar Rivera, pastor of The Church of the Nazarene in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico