Orlando, Florida | 17 December 2018 |
The Forest City Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church, the largest Spanish-language church in the Florida Conference, had a rude awakening on Sabbath, December 8. Shortly before the sermon Pastor Robert Amaya announced that, at the request of the conference, his last day as senior pastor would be December 29, 2018.
A gasp rose from the congregation, and at least one member stood and demanded an explanation. Amaya encouraged the church to not lose its focus on mission and that God would continue to lead.
During the sermon members circulated by text message a list of people allegedly responsible for Amaya’s removal and believed to have been complaining to conference officials. After the sermon hundreds of members signed a petition in support of the pastor.
The conference has yet to give the congregation a reason for the removal of Amaya, though so far it appears that the transition had to do with complaints about the management of the multi-million dollar facility and personal conflict with some other church leaders.
Amaya took over the multi-cultural church (around 20 nationalities are represented) last year, and seventy new converts have been added. Members in favor of Amaya extol his warm personal touch, preaching, and leadership.
The congregation seeks answers, and a Facebook book page has been started in support of Amaya.
A business meeting with conference officials is scheduled for the first week in January.