San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Moving Vans Not Needed for Church’s Relocation

NOBODY hefted pews through the doors or strained to lift file cabinets, banquet tables, or boxes of candles and choir robes, and there was no line of moving vans when the Escazú Christian Fellowship church moved last month.After not much commotion, it held its first service in its new home – the International Baptist Church in Escazú, southwest of San José. It owes the sweatless transition to the nature of its previous building, the cafeteria of the Country Day School in Escazú.For 17 years, since it was founded, the church held services in the school and used other rooms in the building for Sunday school lessons and a nursery. When the school declared its classrooms off limits and Sunday school was relegated to the gymnasium with the nursery, the congregation began to look for a new building.“YOUNG people like to go to church and it wasn’t very attractive to the young,” said Jennifer Patterson, a member of the church. “We moved because there was a need for a comfortable location and the Baptist Church graciously offered its place in the evenings.”Pastor Terry Bloemsma pulled some inter-church strings to obtain a spot in the Baptist Church to hold services at 5 p.m. on Sundays.The congregation of 150 people has never had the luxury of worshipping in its own building. Rather, it donates a large part of the money it gathers in the collection plates to charities in San José.AMONG the organizations the church supports are Education Plus, a group that provides children in impoverished neighborhoods with school supplies and uniforms, and Roble Alto, a project in La Carpio, a San José slum, which organizes sports as well as crafts and English classes for children there.The services cater to all Christian faiths and the congregation is a fruit salad of denominations and sects that crosses even Martin Luther’s schism with the blend of Catholics and Protestants.“What I appreciate as the pastor is that we have Roman Catholics, Presbyterians and Episcopalians in the congregation,” Bloemsma said.SERVICES feature contemporary Christian music served with a drum set, guitars, a keyboard, a flute and a grand piano.Bloemsma’s sermons are expository, he said, meaning they explain the text of the Bible – now, for example, he is in the middle of a series on the parables of Jesus, and the previous sermons expounded on a purpose driven life and highlighted each person’s purpose and how it relates to the church.“The services are a mixture of the formal and informal,” Bloemsma said.A motto that sums up the “flavor” of the church, he said, is a quote from Saint Augustine, “unity in the essentials, diversity in the non-essentials and charity in all things.”THEY are unified in the essence of their Christian faith, they accept the differences among themselves as the expression of their diversity, and they focus their energies on generosity, he said.The church holds services at 5 p.m. Sundays at the International Baptist Church, located west of Multiplaza on the Santa Ana highway. For more info, call Bloemsma at 395-9653, or e-mail

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