New Orleans Kenner Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church

A Brief History of Kenner, Louisiana

The Work Begins

Pastor and Mrs. Sergio Ortiz. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.

In March 1970, the Arkansas-Louisiana conference president, E. Frank Sherrill, reported that they were looking for a Spanish pastor-evangelist to lead out in the work among the Spanish-speaking people in the New Orleans area (Sherrill, 1970a). In August 1970, Pastor and Mrs. Sergio Ortiz were welcomed to our conference. Pastor Ortiz, who had been serving as a district pastor in Puerto Rico, had two brothers and some other relatives living in New Orleans for whom he had a great burden. They had become discouraged because there was no Spanish-speaking Adventist church in Louisiana. Pastor Ortiz took a leave of absence from the Puerto Rican conference and he and his family moved to New Orleans (Sherrill, 1970b).

New Orleans Kenner Spanish Church Organized in 1972

Sabbath, May 20, 1972, the New Orleans Kenner church was organized with seventeen charter members. The pastor of the new church was Elder Sergio Ortiz. This was the second Spanish SDA church in our conference in Louisiana and in the New Orleans area. At camp meeting time, the Spanish churches of New Orleans were formed into a district with Elder Ortiz as the district pastor. Evangelistic meetings were then planned to help reach the more than 100,000 Spanish-speaking people in the New Orleans area. With the organization of this new church there were sixty churches in the Arkansas-Louisiana conference (Sherrill, 1972).

Members of the Kenner Spanish church in 1972. On the back row, extreme left, is Pastor Sergio Ortiz; right, back row, are Elder P. I. Nosworthy and Elder E. Frank Sherrill. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Union Record.

New Orleans Kenner Spanish Church Reorganized in 2001

Apparently the first Kenner Spanish Church disbanded along the way and members were absorbed into other churches. A group began meeting again and in June 1980 it was voted to organize a Kenner Spanish company (Minutes, 1980a) There were four lots of land located in Kenner that were appropriated for the use of the Kenner Spanish company (Minutes, 1980b). Early in 2001, Israel Sanchez, a member of the Metairie Spanish church in New Orleans, called the Arkansas-Louisiana conference office to say that a group of about fifteen to twenty Spanish church members were interested in starting a new congregation. The proposed site was in Kenner. By April, the conference had appointed E. Rodolfo Prieto to serve as pastor-literature evangelist for that area. After becoming acquainted with the members, Prieto held a revival series that resulted in three baptisms and the return of several inactive members. In September, Oscar Hernandez, international publications director from Pacific Press, held a two-week evangelistic series and five more were baptized. With an average Sabbath attendance of sixty to eighty, the conference officers decided that rather than grant this group a company status, the Kenner Spanish group would be organized as a church. On Sabbath afternoon, October 6, 2001, the new church was officially organized with forty-eight charter members (Canales, 2001).

Pictured with some of the charter members signing the registry are Elder Eddie Canales, Union Hispanic Ministries Director; Elder Stephen Orian, Conference President; Kent Sharpe, Conference Treasurer; and Elder Rodolfo Prieto, Pastor (Newsletter, 2001).

A New Church

In February 2003, it was voted for the New Orleans Kenner Spanish church to purchase three pieces of adjacent property — one with a house that could be converted to a church, one lot for parking, and an additional house for a parsonage (Minutes, 2003).

New Orleans Kenner Spanish church on Loyola Drive in Kenner, Louisiana. Photo courtesy of Google Maps, 2019.

Citations

(1980a, Jun. 15). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.

(1980b, Dec. 7). Ibid.

(2001, Nov. 1). Newsletter, Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, p. 6.

(2003, Feb. 26). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.

Canales, Eddie. (2001, Dec. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 11.

Sherrill, E. Frank. (1970a, Mar. 28). Ibid., p. 2.

Ibid. (1970b, Sep. 12). pp. 9, 10.

Ibid. (1972, Jun. 24). p. 8.