Primera Iglesia Mexicana del Nazareno becomes historical landmark
During the 30th General Assembly and Conventions of the Church of the Nazarene, six resolutions were adopted recognizing various locations as historical landmarks in accordance with Manual paragraph 913. This article is the first in a series highlighting the significance of these six new historic landmarks of the Church of the Nazarene.
On 15 June 2023, Primera Iglesia Mexicana Del Nazareno, the first Hispanic Church of the Nazarene in the United States, was designated as a historical landmark of the Church of the Nazarene after the adoption of Special Resolution 753 during the Thursday morning business session of the 30th General Assembly and Conventions.
The site is located at 124 S Ave 22, Los Angeles, California, USA. The Western Latin America District, of which the church is a charter member, sponsored the resolution.
Primera Iglesia started thanks to Maye McReynolds, who had attended a revival that Phineas Bresee was preaching at in the late 1890s. She experienced entire sanctification at that event and soon joined Bresee’s church in Los Angeles.
She felt a calling to the Spanish-speaking people of Los Angeles and began to teach herself Spanish. Bresee commissioned her to begin this work in 1903, five years before the denomination was established in Pilot Point, Texas.
McReynolds became an ordained minister in 1906 and was officially installed as the pastor of Primera Iglesia del Nazareno. Bresee also recognized it as the first organized Hispanic church.
The church has held many names throughout the years, including Iglesia del Nazareneo de Lincoln Heights and its current name, Iglesia del Nazareno Camino de Santidad (Path of Holiness). The building has a sanctuary with a capacity for 110 people and an attached annex with a kitchen in addition to a house on the same property.
According to the resolution, the district set to establish the church’s significance to the Church of the Nazarene’s expansion into Spanish-speaking populations in the U.S. Southwest and parts of Mexico.
That expansion came through McReynold’s acceptance of God’s calling on her life, and the early Church of the Nazarene recognized her for that.
According to minutes from the 3rd General Assembly in 1911, the assembly “moved and seconded that sister McReynolds, who has been for years recognized as Superintendent of our Spanish Missions in the Southwestern part of the country, be recognized as a regular District Superintendent and seated in the assembly as such.”
The motion carried, awarding her the title of DS based on her reputation as a missionary to the Spanish-speaking members of the Church of the Nazarene.