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Part of The Christian Chronicle’s “One Nación Under God” special project.

Cristo can move mountains, Spanish-speaking church believes (reporting from Elgin, Ill.): In a Chicago suburb, a Latino congregation experiences growth and contemplates a multicultural future.

First Place (with Erik Tryggestad and staff), Theme Issue, Section or Series, Associated Church Press

ELGIN, Ill. — Tears of joy flowed as the Elgin Church of Christ, a Spanish-speaking congregation northwest of Chicago, stood and sang the invitation song.

For the 305 men, women and children who filled the Iglesia de Cristo’s auditorium on this recent Sunday, the hymn’s words — translated into English below — held special meaning:

Savior, he can move the mountains

My God is mighty to save

He is mighty to save

The voices that rang out testified to this fast-growing congregation’s emotional, 25-year journey — from an Anglo church’s basement to a cramped rented facility to this first assembly in an 11,000-square-foot building all its own.

“I can’t believe it,” said Hector Gonzalez, 71, one of the handful of original members. “We work for a long time and try and try and try. Finally, God hear you.”

Gonzalez touched his hands to his heart as he tried — in broken English — to put his glee into words.

This story appears in the October 2014 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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