Iglesia Cristiana Congregacional de Mazatlán (ICCM)
“One Church – Two Expressions”
Founded by missionaries in 1888 the church is the oldest Protestant church in Mazatlán. Noted for their high level of faithful participation, the current Spanish Founded by missionaries in 1888 the church is the oldest Protestant church in Mazatlan, Mexico Speaking Congregation (SSC) of 356 is made up of 202 adults, 88 juveniles (13-19) and 66 children. Pastors Pbro. Daniel Celis Arceo and Pbro.Victor Cruz Lopez, along with Prof. Gabriel Dzib, music minister, Sra. Ruth Trujillo, secretary, and Sr. Leopoldo Correa (Polo), sexton, make up the staff of this dynamic church. There is a vision of believing, living, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a goal to multiply through faith, freedom, fellowship, missions and ministries. The addition of some 150 persons in the English Speaking Congregation (ESC) with the faithful and inspired leadership of Pastor Bill Nichols has tremendous compounding potential.
Missions: Since 1993 ICCM has started three mission churches outside of Mazatlán: (1) Villas del Sol, 1993, (2) Ciudad Juarez, 2004, and (3) Villa Union, 2007. A current goal is to begin a church in the northern Mazatlan colonia of Francisco Villa. Additionally, missionaries are supported in Malaysia, Pakistan, and Chiapas, Mexico (Bible Institute).
Social Action is extremely important for this church with seminars periodically conducted on Pastoral de la Salud(Preventive Medicine), Eye Clinics sponsored two times a year (i.e. Juarez y Chiapas), an annual Medical Mission, initiatives like the purchase of sewing machines for the indigenous women of Chiapas, Disaster Relief for the floods in Tabasco in 2008, and special collection drives to provide for some basic needs of prisoners. A program called “Projecto Manna” (“Bread from Heaven”) started in June 2008, involves seven families of the church delivering food to feed the families visiting patients at the General Hospital (the hospital of the poor who are not served by IMSS, located behind the Marino Coffee plant). Another ministry program called “Families in Need” provides for the basics and food needs on an ongoing basis for fifteen identified families in our church community. “Food for Traveling People” makes bundles of food designed for travelers who hear of the Blue Church as a safe harbor. Each day of the week members of the Social Action committee are at the church from 10 to 5 working on a variety of projects. A Pantry of food, clothing, and toiletries is stocked to help people in need. On Sundays, after the 11:15 service, a Medical Dispensary with a church member doctor is opened for consultation and/or possible provision of medicines.
La Jubal Academia de Musica began in 1998 as an outreach of ICCM to provide classical string instrument training to the community. Principal Gabriel Dzib’s school is provided classroom facilities for instruction and practice by the church. Additional teachers are contracted to assist Gabriel with the current enrollment of 50 students (40% in need of some scholarship assistance). The student’s participation in worship services and special concerts provides valuable performing experience. Scholarship Sponsorshipis a meaningful way to support this important community endeavor.
Christian Education is a major component of the life of the church with Sunday school for all ages being offered at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday. Bible Study is offered evenings at church member homes. The Leadership Institute ‘ELYM’ started in 2008) currently involves over 40 students from ICCM and a growing number from other churches.
Worship Services in Spanish are held on Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m., and Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. English services are offered on Sundays at 9:00 on a seasonal basis from Nov. – April.
Worship-in-English - As an additional mission of the church, the 9:00 Sunday morning time-slot was set aside by the Mexican congregation in January 2006 for a worship service for the inter-denominational English speaking community. Since January 2007 retired pastor Bill Nichols from Texas has been instrumental in developing a spiritual bond with the ES community and the Spanish Speaking Congregation (SSC). Mindy (Bill’s always supportive wife) works closely with Prof. Dzib, the Youth Orchestra and the choral groups in enriching the worship services. Most of the worshipers at this inter-denominational service are expat residents, medium-term or long-term snowbirds from North of the border, or vacationers who have reveled in the spiritual fellowship and music that is provided. This “internal” mission (now around 150 persons with a variety of time-in-residence) is now considered a congregation (ESC) within a congregation, and, it is a valuable and important resource for the fulfillment of the worship and community service ministries of the church. (Refer to Missions and Social Action sections.) “One Church – Two Expressions” For practical reasons English services (26) are scheduled from November through April. However, simultaneous translation is offered in the Spanish Sunday morning worship services throughout the year. Participation in one or more of the Social Action ministries can also extend beyond the “season.”
Participation & Giving –There is significant potential for participation and giving to the missions and ministries of ICCM. Four years ago a visionary level of support for an English service was initiated by this historical, believing and faithful Christian church. The support from the host congregation for the ES (inter-denominational) congregation continues at an unprece-dented level, even in the face of reduced giving during the current season. Hopefully this updated Profile will expand and clarify the awareness of the missions and ministries that deserve and need our support and participation. The stage is now set for the English Speaking Congregation to step up giving and assist in the accomplishment of the ministry and social action objectives of the church.