The Duncan Banner

August 26, 2011

Family Festival to unite Hispanic church, community

Toni Hopper
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Hoping to bring together the community’s many ethnic and religious groups, Primera Iglesia Bautista Church is hosting its second Family Festival.

Rev. Rigoberto Varela has been serving the congregation of the Hispanic church for three years. He inaugurated the Family Festival concept last year and was totally delighted with community response. So, what was good once, can be even better the second time.

The 2011 Family Festival will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, in Fuqua Park.

“It is for the whole town,” Varela said. “We will have live music, and the idea is to have fun and also minister to the town. We will have a Spanish-speaking preacher and there will be translation during the services.”

Once again, Primera Iglesia Bautista will partner with the Mullins Baptist Association and Rev. Brad McCoy to host the event. The MBA will help feed the people who attend.

Varela’s congregation usually has about 90 people attend Sunday services, but for the first festival in 2010, he was shocked to have 340 people attend.

“We thought it was not going to be a lot of people the first year, but we were blessed,” he said. “This year, we expect 400 to 450 people. We are prepared and have been passing out posters.”

Varela has been preaching for about 20 years, including 17 in Ardmore, before coming to Duncan.

“I was at the Hispanic church there. When I came here, we only had about 50 people. The Hispanic population here is growing.”

In addition to fun activities and food, the band Luminaries from Fort Worth, Texas, will provide entertainment, setting up in the gazebo at Fuqua.

Sergio Mendoza of Arlington, Texas, will be the Spanish-speaking minister. There will be dual translation for both the Spanish and English sermons.

“We also will hand out Bibles. Our goal is to minister about Jesus Christ, have a lot of prayer,” said Varela, who added about $5,000 in donations have thus far been received to help the festival be a success.”

Recognizing that the Hispanic population has become the largest ethnic minority in Duncan and Stephens County, Varela said, “We just want to become more of the community.

“There will be lots of gifts, like bicycles, a microwave. We will give bottles of water away, hot dogs and nachos. There will be inflatable balloon and dunk tanks for the kids. It will all be at Kiddieland Park.”

Primera Iglesia Bautista Church is located at 1702 West Hickory, behind Halliburton Stadium.