A local church is getting a new home after a fire destroyed its former building in 2011.

Iglesia De Dios Puerta Del Cielo, which is Spanish for “Church of God, Gateway of Heaven” had been housed at 2424 St. Joseph Ave. until a fire destroyed it. Following that fire, the congregation held services at Woodson Chapel Christian Church.

Freddy Ramríez, a board member at Iglesia De Dios, said members purchased a new building at 2635 Olive St. earlier this year. A new pastor helped grow the church after the fire.

“A year-and-a-half later after 2011, we rebuilt the church (congregation) under pastor Jayron García. Recently, three months ago, we bought this church,” Ramríez said.

The purchase of a new building comes with growth in a congregation that originally started with fewer than 10 members.

“We actually started in a small building on Edmond Street and with just eight members,” said Ramríez.

Iglesia De Dios Puerta Del Cielo now has more than 50 members. They worked every evening to renovate the new church building.

“The main thing was the roof and we had to replace it, but everyone worked,” Ramríez said.

Ramríez said he’s thankful to God for congregation’s renovated space.

“We’re glad. I mean, this could not have been possible without God. He allows us to be here, and we are thankful that,” he said.

While the church currently has a Spanish to English translator at services, Ramiriez said the goal is to attract more members by holding multilingual services.

“Our mission is to have a church or services both in Spanish and English so we can get more Spanish and English speaking people in the church,” he said.

The church’s pastor, García, said he is thankful to the community for welcoming the congregation.

“We want to thank the community here in St. Joe. We’ve been in St. Joseph since 2006, so thank you for opening the doors for us,” García said.

Iglesia De Dios Puerta Del Cielo has services from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturdays and from 1 to 3 p.m. Sundays. On weekdays, the church hosts prayer services from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

For more information, contact the church directly by calling 816-341-2674.

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Abby Trapp can be reached

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