The Gospel came to Quintanar at the end of the 1980s through the work of a Swedish Pentecostal Mission which decided to evangelise in Quintanar because of the historic Jewish influence in the city.
There was a twofold response to their work – at least apparently – that during the ensuing years they managed to get together a group of 120 people. At the end of the 90s that mission decided to move it's missionaries to Malaga and the work was abandoned. This did a lot of damage to the congregation and the church came to an end leaving just a handful of about 20 people. The Lord maintained this group which carried on for a number of years without a pastor or any leadership.
It was in 2002 that Manolo and Toñy heard about this group and decided to visit them to get to know them. “I still remember”, says Manolo, “the night that Toñy and I met them. An unforgettable night. We spoke of the gospel for hours and we saw such a thirst to know more of God's word, that we returned home having understood that the Lord was calling us to take on this church to lead it and teach it”. For Manolo and Toñy this was not an easy decision to take because only two years previously they had begun the work in Manzanares. But in spite of this the Lord gave them the conviction, the strength and love for these brothers and sisters and they took the decision, along with the mission, to raise up a new work in Quintanar.
In 2005 a couple joined the Mission to work at Quintanar, but only stayed until 2009. When they moved on, Manolo again took on responsiblity for the church.
A great reason for thanksgiving to God is that for nine years the Local Council in Quintanar gave us the use of a public room in which to hold our meeting. But a greater reason for thanksgiving to God is the provision of resources so as to be able establish our own building where we can hold the meetings and other activities of the church. Much of this has come from the generosity of brothers and sisters in the United Kingdom who are supporting the work in Quintanar.
In July of 2014 we opened the first phase of the project with a special thanksgiving service to which a good number of unbelievers from the town came. The heading photo shows the new church building.
The church does not have a pastor at present. However, the church council there are determined to continue with the help of the Mission pastors, José Luís, Manolo and Sergio. Pepe (José) has also made himself available to be on the rota of men who will go to preach on Sundays. Please pray for these men as they support the congregation.
The photos, bottom left and below, show the Sunday congregation in the room being used for the services and the room viewed from the back.
The main sanctuary is now finished, but so far only used for special events.
There are also two large congregations of Romanian Christians – they hold their services in Romanian – so there is also a high demand in the two schools for Evangelical RE.
After much struggling to obtain permission, the Education Ministry for Castilla La Mancha eventually granted permission for two posts for Evangelical RE in the schools in Quintanar.
The photo shows Dani, one of the teachers, in one of the schools.
The name “Quintanar” comes from the Latin word “quintana” which means “farm house” whose residents had to pay in tax the fifth part of what they produced. The title “de la Orden” was given in the 12 Century as a privilege from the “Order of St James”. Quintanar is very old city, with a richness of cultures which have all left there mark even today. The discovery of the “idol of the Pradillo”, indicates that this city existed even before the arrival of the Roman Empire to La Mancha. In the Middle Ages, for a number of centuries Arabs and Jews lived side by side in this city. The narrow streets are a part of the old Jewish quarter as these surrounded the Synagogue.
In the 15th Century, with the expulsion of the Jews by the Catholic Kings, the Synagogue became the possession of the Catholic Church, which transformed it into a church to house the image of the “Mary of Piety” patron and protector of Quintanar. At the present time there is a population of 11,700 people in Quintanar of whom the vast majority are devotees of the image which they worship with dedication and respect. Together with the image of Mary , an image of lesser importance follows in the processions. This is the image of the “Holy Christ of Grace”, an image also worshipped but in a lesser way than the image of Mary.
When the descendants of Abraham arrived in Canaan to conquer the land, they found a land full of lifeless idols, which were worshipped with fervent devotion. This is exactly what we encountered in Quintanar – and of course, in every town and city in Spain – mistaken worshippers, praying and crying out to gods of wood and plaster which appear to have life but they cannot hear, nor see, nor speak; powerless idols the product of human imagination.
This is the religious atmosphere that is breathed in every home in Quintanar. As an illustration of that, we were distributing evangelistic tracts house to house, when one man when he saw the tract went back into his house and brought out a picture of “Mary of Piety” and exclaimed “This is what really matters. I don't want anything to do with anything else” and he slammed the door shut.