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Living Faith Church sharing its facility with Iglesia Cristiana Jesus Fuente de Vida

April 19, 2019
By KATIE EGAN ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Iglesia Cristiana Jesus Fuente de Vida, a local Spanish speaking church, was running out of space, and a Lutheran church stepped in to help.

Iglesia grew out of the building it was using for the past nine years at Hope United Methodist Church. About a month and a half ago, Pastor Ray Sanchez saw an opportunity to use the facility at Living Faith Church, so he approached Pastor Pat Thurmer and sat down with him and his staff.

"We formally had another Hispanic church in our facility, but they decided to disband," Thurmer said. "When word got out that they weren't there anymore, Iglesia's pastor contacted me."

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The signs outside Living Faith Church at 939 S.W. 7th Court, in Cape Coral, where Iglesia Cristiana Jesus Fuente de Vida now also meets.

Thurmer had met some of the Iglesia congregation before, but he didn't know Sanchez.

So far, Sanchez said sharing the facility has been going great.

"It's a beautiful facility," he said. "The people are lovely people. We are just excited to be here."

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Thurmer said he's happy for his facility to be put to good use.

"Churches sit empty a fair amount of the time," he said. "So, we're happy to share with a congregation that has the same message and spreads the good news of the gospel."

Thurmer said he wasn't sure if sharing facilities like this was considered common, but he thinks it is becoming more conventional.

"Budgets are tight and when we can share a facility, it's a win-win for everyone," he said. "We understand that while there are differences in churches, we're all really about the same message."

Sanchez said sharing facilities is very common, especially among Spanish speaking churches that don't have the finances for their own buildings.

"Very few churches have the opportunity to get their own buildings," he said. "Here in Cape Coral, I know quite a few that are sharing."

Sanchez said it's also not out of the ordinary for Anglo churches to share with non-Anglo churches.

When Sanchez lived in Miami, he said it was common there, too.

Thurmer said there haven't been any challenges to sharing the facility so far. The two churches are being careful not to double-book their services.

"We've had a wonderful relationship with churches we've done this with in the past," Thurmer said.

This is the fourth time Living Faith Church has shared its facility with the Hispanic community.

They first shared a space with an Hispanic congregation in the early 2000s until the group disbanded. Then another congregation worshipped with them until they got their own facility. The most recent congregation they shared the facility with disbanded as well. Thurmer said Iglesia Cristiana will be there indefinitely.

"There's no end date, as long as they are happy using the facility, they can stay," he said.

Both churches share the facility during the week with other programs and services.

Living Faith uses all three buildings for its 9:45 a.m. service on Sundays and Iglesia uses them at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoons and on Wednesday and Friday nights.

"We all have one thing in common," Sanchez said. "That's our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and we want people to get saved. That's why we worship and praise and evangelize in English and Spanish to reach people."

The two churches invite everyone to worship with them, regardless of the language they speak.

As far as how long they'll stay, Sanchez said only the Lord will know.

"It depends on how we grow, how we want to approach other things later on," he said.

Pastor Thurmer said sharing the facility is one example of how the church is open and welcoming to the whole community.

"We have a mass that I believe anyone of any stripe needs and that is the good news of the forgiveness of sins of Christ and that's a free gift available for all," he said.

The mission of Living Faith Church is to "Declare God's boundless love to our broken world."

And Thurmer said sharing its facilities with another congregation only enhances that.

Living Faith Church and Iglesia Cristiana Jesus Fuente de Vida are both located at 939 S.W. 7th Court, off of Skyline Boulevard, in Cape Coral. Call 239-574-3949 for additional information.



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