Beyond the bar

Iglesia Reyo de Luz expands to meet growth

Photo by Jody Isaackson The Rev. Pedro Monterroso poses by the podium he preaches from in three services a week for Iglesia Reyo de Luz. The congregation has doubled in size since it was established in 2001 and is planning to expand the sanctuary to the empty lot on the west side.

GHENT — Iglesia Reyo de Luz (Ray of Light Church) in Ghent is planning to expand the sanctuary to accommodate growth in membership.

The Spanish church purchased the vacant lot to the west of the church in 2014 with expansion in mind. It plans to use the same construction supervisory crew as with the first remodeling.

The small, home Bible study congregation was established in 2001. In 2014, it bought the old Silver Dollar Bar on Minnesota Highway 68 in Ghent, the congregation pulled together to remodel the facility into a modern church.

“We did everything ourselves except the two support pillars up front and the glass doors in the back,” church secretary Melissa Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and the Rev. Pedro Monterroso named the carpentry experts among the church members that supervised the remodeling as Jose Guerra, Julio Monzon, Irvin Monterroso, Jairo Morales and Jaime Rodriguez.

The platform in the front currently has just enough room for the band and the preacher’s podium. The seating capacity is about 110, but is not sufficient for the 177 members they now have.

The congregation had to go to two services on Sunday because of the seating. One service is at 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and the two on Sunday are at 9 a.m. and at 11:30 a.m.

“We have some members who actually moved to this area to attend this church,” Rodriguez said. She herself moved from Hanley Falls to Marshall to be closer to this church. “Many members we have here are here because of the congregation.”

Rodriguez added that people from other area towns and also California and Iowa have moved to the Ghent area to be closer to the church.

Monterroso said that it has been a beautiful thing to prepare men and women to do God’s work.

“Us being in the small city of Ghent and also serving Marshall,” he said, “we pray for Marshall and cities around us, for authorities and people in high positions in the townships.”

Previously, the church had purchased the building on its east side and remodeled it to become its Sunday school and music center.

As well as looking forward to adding on to the sanctuary, the congregation at Iglesia Reyo de Luz is planning its next mission trip, which will be to Guatemala during which it hopes to “create a communion with the next generation.”