Hispanic Church Groundbreaking

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"I think that they feel more apart of the community because of this and to build a church here gives them a sense of permanency that they would not have otherwise," says Dr. Jerry Oakley of the Warren County Association of Baptists.

With Sunday's groundbreaking a new chapter is being written for Warren County's Hispanic community.

Nueva Vida Baptist Church originally began as an extension of Forest Park Baptist Church in 2002.

Four Hispanic members would gather one night a week to have their own service.

That number quickly began to grow.

"The church got to a point that it needed a facility of its own. We looked at properties all over the west end of Bowling Green and did this for about a year," notes Bill Jackson, the Building Committee Chairman.

Then Larkin-Ritter donated the 6.5 acre lot to help make the church a reality.

What makes this new church even more unique is that it will be the first Hispanic Southern Baptist Church in South Central Kentucky.

"I think we're going to meet the needs that they have or worship and a worship service, and just by being out here it will help us to reach out to them and provide a place for them to come and worship God with us," says the church's pastor, Jose Luis Espinoza.

The new church will offer education to its members.

"There will be a teaching facility that will teach Hispanics how to be pastors. How to be lay leaders of the church. There will be English taught as a second language to each one that wants to come and be a part of this church," says Jackson.

Reverend Espinoza says he hopes with the new house of worship, the number of church members will continue to rise.

"Right now, we have an average of 40 people every week and now that we have our own worship center, we'll hopefully be able to increase that attendance."

The church is expected to be completed by November and to celebrate its opening, Bill Jackson says they are working on a statewide celebration which would include a youth rally and participation from every church in the county.