From September 15 to October 15, as a nation, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
The 2022 national theme is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. This theme encourages all voices to be represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger nation.
In 1968, Hispanic Heritage Week began under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover 30 days starting September 15. In recognition, we would like to highlight the Hispanic work in our territory.
The first Spanish-speaking church was organized in Oakland in 1925 by lay evangelist Rudolfo Limas, a Portuguese sailor. This church disappeared from the written records, but the gospel message spread, and new churches were established in St. Helena, Hayward, Fairfield, Lodi, and Stockton.
By 1978, following a major evangelistic campaign in the Bay Area led by Eliezer Benavides, then Pacific Union Hispanic Coordinator, another Spanish church was organized in Oakland. Together with the other five churches, the collective membership was 475 people.
Since then, the growth rate of Hispanic work has increased exponentially, with 3,350 members by the end of 2021, several church plants, and missional groups throughout Northern California. As the 2022 national theme implies, united we are stronger.
Featured in Northern Lights • October 6, 2022