“The Bible says there are no ethnicities, there are no races. I don’t go down the street asking, nor do I ask for passports at the church door.” Albright said. He marvels that in a course he teaches for deacons, his six students include one each from Peru, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador.
When Kent Albright, a Baptist pastor from the United States, arrived as a missionary to Spain in 1996, he was unprepared for the insults and threats, or the fines from the police for handing out Protestant leaflets on the streets of Salamanca, reports the AP.
“Social animosity was big — they had never seen a Protestant in their life,” said Albright, recalling one woman who whispered, “Be thankful we don’t throw stones at you.”
He couldn’t have imagined that 25 years later, he would be pastoring an evangelical congregation of 120 and count about two dozen other thriving Protestant churches in the northwestern city. And there’s a distinctive feature to the worshippers: Most of them are not Spanish-born — they’re immigrants from Latin America, including about 80% of Albright’s congregation.
The numbers reflect huge surges in Spain’s migrant population and evangelical population in recent decades, producing profound changes in how faith is practiced in a country long dominated by the Catholic church.
© Copyright LaPresse