ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) - Albuquerque’s oldest neighborhood will soon be home to the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s newest church plant, Barelas Church, which plans to begin services this October.
While most church planting endeavors begin by finding a qualified church planter, setting a vision, and then acquiring a location or meeting space, the story of Barelas Church has unfolded in reverse. Recently, the BCNM was gifted an 85-year-old church building after the church’s pastor retired and the church dissolved. The donation spurred a vision to plant a Gospel-centered church in one of Albuquerque’s poorest neighborhoods. According to Scott Wilson, the BCNM’s Missions Mobilization Team leader, a potential church planter is currently being assessed by the convention. Wilson anticipates the assessment to be completed within the next few months.
In the meantime, Wilson is committed to walking the neighborhood each Wednesday evening in order interact with residents and pray for the neighborhood. Several other people, including some BCNM staff, have joined Wilson during these times.
Rio Church, which meets a few miles from the Barelas neighborhood, will serve as the sending church for Barelas Church. Rio was planted three years ago out of Anchor Church, Albuquerque.
Predating Albuquerque itself, the city’s Barelas neighborhood was chartered as a Spanish town in 1662 by governor Diego Dionisio de Peñalosa, and named after landowner Pedro Barela. The neighborhood was incorporated into the city of Albuquerque in the late nineteenth century. The neighborhood is situated south of downtown, and is bounded to the north by Coal Avenue and Alcalde Place, to the west by Tingley Drive and the Rio Grande River, to the south by Woodward Road, and to the east by the Albuquerque Railyards and the BNSF Railway.
Steeped in history, the Barelas neighborhood has witnessed a Civil War battle, the antics of Billy the Kid, and the literary vision of New Mexican author, Rudolfo Anaya. Over the past several years, the non operational Albuquerque Railyards, which border the neighborhood to the east, have been featured in the television and movie productions "Breaking Bad," "The Avengers" and "Terminator: Salvation." A popular farmer’s market makes its home at the railyards most Sundays. The neighborhood is also home to the Albuquerque Zoo and Botanical Gardens, as well as the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
The church building, situated in the middle of a residential neighborhood, is located at 919 7th Street NE.