“For God so loved the world …” an excerpt from John 3:16, was delivered in English, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, West Indian and finally Italian by different church members, outreach pastor Barbara West said.
“I was raised in the Methodist church,” West said, explaining that she loves the inclusiveness of the Nazarene Church. “But I felt the spirit of the lord here (at Sparks Nazarene).”
And of the 500-member congregation, nearly half showed up Saturday to support the church in its relatively young existence and the Sparks Nazarene Church’s 65th year in the community.
Senior pastor Brad Dyrness said he is drawn to the church’s beliefs about helping others. He explained that the church’s namesake, the biblical town of Nazareth, was looked down upon and the church seeks to help people in the same situation.
“We administer to people who are hurting or were left out by other churches,” Dyrness said. “Very much of what we do is to meet the needs of our community.”
Started back in 1908 by Phineas Bresee, the church of the Nazarene is based on the “Great commission of Christ” and to “go and make disciples of all nations” from Matthew 28:19.
And Dyrness said he firmly agrees that this is very much alive in the Sparks Nazarene Church.
“We always very committed to sharing the story of Christ to people in the United States,” Dyrness said, “but also the world. We’re very mission-oriented.”
Dyrness said about 10 to 12 percent of the church budget automatically goes toward international missions to “take the story other places.”
“It’s exciting to go where people are hurting,” Dyrness said.
Nazarene missions have spread to about 151 countries, the most recent being Iraq, Dyrness said.
“The church now is very focused on being an international chuch,” Dryness said.
And one look around the room was evidence of that. All walks and races of life joined together at what West said was an event open to everyone.
“We are loving and friendly to everyone and anyone who joins us,” West said. “We’re very much of a community. We reach out as much as in.”
Nearby, a cake contest was being held, and several of the delicacies had a biblical theme, including a large Noah’s Arc cake.
“It took (my sister and I) about 24 hours to make,” said Marcia Scharadin, a Sparks Nazarene member for six years. “I like it here (Sparks Nazarene) mostly for my kids. It’s a good, positive environment.”
For more information about the Sparks Nazarene Church visit their Web site at http://sparksnaz.org/aboutus.html.