May 21, 2018
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First Spanish Baptist Church needs a new home

  • The Snyder Lane First Spanish Baptist Church Robert Grant

By: Irene Hilsendager
March 9, 2018

After 14 years of being on Snyder Lane, the First Spanish Baptist Church has been served with an eviction notice. Members and neighbors are asking if there is a definite reason for this abrupt note on the door of the church. It seems there have been requests for negotiations, but to no avail. Pastor Albert said that they tried to compensate by taking care of all the exterior properties, keeping the yards clean and making repairs on the buildings. When first moving onto the property, the rent was around $350 but after the eviction notice, the First Spanish Baptist Church was told the rent would be upwards of $14,000. The eviction notice cited a failure to pay the $14,000 amount as well as stating the status of The First Spanish Baptist Church was suspended by California’s Secretary of State. Pastor Albert had a letter which lists that the church is under the umbrella coverage of its non-profit. This is a terrible load to bear especially when there are so few members to help. 

The original property which was county land, was donated to the First Baptist Church by the developer, Art Condiotti who owned the property and told the city he would dedicate a certain amount of land to non-profits or a church. The church operates as a non-profit and is under the Southern Baptist Church as a co-operating church.

The Snyder Lane First Spanish Baptist Church holds their services from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. as they serve dinners to their parishioners. Another minority ministry has also been told to vacate the premises. 

Pastor William Wagner was a pastor for this church 12 years and now has been told to leave the facility and went into retirement. He is disappointed but accepts the outcome. All Wagner and Pastor Albert want is to find a new home to resume their good works.

The Snyder Lane First Spanish Baptist Church came into the spot light a week after the terrible Oct. 8 firestorm in Sonoma County. People needed a place to stay and families needed warm meals. The church took swift action and decided to serve three hot meals a day. Although they only had $96 in the bank Albert used his credit card to buy supplies to get the meals started. And food and meals were given out free for 30 days. Thirty volunteers were working 16 hours a day and in the end 12,000 plates of food were served. A church from San Carlos offered to help with supplies and money. Amy Macias from the local Red Lobster called and said, “thank you for helping our employees in this time of need.” 

The Red Lobster in Rohnert Park donated $3,000 while other Red Lobster restaurants throughout the United States donated money and about $2,000 in gift cards.

The last Saturday of each month, the youth group holds a car wash and uses the money to go to summer camp. The same youth group also formed a musical group. The pastors and the members of the church are so grateful for all of the donations and volunteers that have shown up all of these years. The church is little but has a big heart and brings fellowship to all. 

This amazing little church is now asking for a new home. Does anyone have an empty store front, warehouse or anything that would be suitable for this church to move into? The pastor is not asking for a free spot, they are willing to pay a small amount, but the eviction day is looming very closely. April 18 is eviction day! Albert knows that it will be a challenge to move furniture and storage equipment; however, they really want to stay in Cotati, Rohnert Park or Santa Rosa. If you know of something that would be suitable, contact Pastor Albert Rodriguez at 707-483-1388.