by Javier Márquez
Editor’s Note: Mosaic Mennonite Conference anticipates welcoming eight Florida congregations (that were formerly part of Southeast Mennonite Conference) at this fall’s conference assembly. For the next several weeks, we will be sharing the profiles of each of these congregations.
Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Shalom (Shalom Evangelical Mennonite Church) began in 2019 and continues to grow and strengthen through prayer, evangelism, and service to others. Currently 20-25 adults and children gather regularly in the church building on Machado Street in Tampa, Florida.
The congregation began as a church plant on May 26, 2019. Pastor Secundino Casas and his wife, Jesenia Casas, were leaders of this “cell” in the house of a member of the congregation.
Now the congregation meets in the same building as College Hill Mennonite Church. The College Hill congregation has opened their doors so that this community of Spanish-speaking believers can carry out their faith activities. The two congregations share service opportunities, like a community food, clothes, and toy distribution every Wednesday, for those in need in Tampa.
Pastors Secundino and Jesenia Casas, a married couple from Mexico, promote the church’s mission, “Share Jesus’ love for others, serve, and evangelize.” This vision is clearly reflected in the different actions they perform as a community of faith.
Church members actively work at discipleship and evangelization through community Bible studies and outreach. One day in the midst of an outreach campaign, a man, who did not speak Spanish, asked the members to pray for his life because he “could feel the presence of God in them and in what they are doing.”
Despite having little time to attend church activities, many single working mothers living in Tampa have found a place of welcome at Shalom Evangelical Mennonite Church. This reality has motivated church leaders to organize help for these families, offering childcare at the church for women who work.
Shalom Evangelical Mennonite Church is a community committed to building peace. On their church sign, along with service times, is the verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers because they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)