House of Reconciliation is led by the Rev. Alexander Alvarado, standing. His church was renting space since May 26 at West York Missionary Church, 1497 W.
House of Reconciliation is led by the Rev. Alexander Alvarado, standing. His church was renting space since May 26 at West York Missionary Church, 1497 W. Philadelphia St. Seated is the Rev. James Winter, West York s former interim pastor. (Bil Bowden photo)

A lot has happened in three years for the Rev. Alexander Alvarado and his church.

In August 2010, he started House of Reconciliation in his York City home with less than a dozen people, including his wife, Yahaira Alvarado, and their three children.

Then on Oct. 31, 2010, the church began holding services at Upper Room Missionary Church at 1401 Williams Road in Springettsbury Township, according to Jaritza Rodriguez, a House of Reconciliation minister.

This year, House of Reconciliation moved again and started holding services May 26 at West York Missionary Church facility at 1497 W. Philadelphia St. in West York.

At that location, House of Reconciliation found its permanent home.

Both congregations are part of the Missionary Church denomination, based in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Rev. James Winter Sr., who was West York Missionary Church's interim pastor, said that House of Reconciliation was making

great progress in its ministry to the Hispanic population in the area and the congregation was growing.

How it happened: Thus, the West York Missionary board decided to ask the Missionary Church denomination, which owns the facility, to allow House of Reconciliation to use it full-time, said Winter of Newberry Township.

Alvarado said he was notified June 18 of the denomination's facility decision. He received the facility keys July 21, Yahaira Alvarado said.

"He felt privileged," she said. "He was surprised because he didn't expect something like this to happen so soon. He felt that God confirmed what (God) already spoken about handing us a key to a facility that we would call our own."

Members of the West York Missionary congregation have chosen to go to area churches that teach the same doctrine as the Missionary Church denomination, said Winter, who is now serving other congregations.

"West York Missionary Church is still in existence, but it's known as the House of Reconciliation," he said. "We did that for legal and insurance reasons. It's easier that way."

The now 60-member House of Reconciliation will celebrate its third anniversary with services at the church at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, she said.

House of Reconciliation has expanded its ministry to also serve youth, especially those from York City, Rodriguez said.

The church holds services for youth at 7 p.m. on Fridays.

"We provide transportation," Rodriguez said. "We give Bible studies, do activities or take them out for pizza. We talk to them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. We show them that there are other opportunities for them."

Alvarado said he hopes his church will eventually own other ministry facilities, including a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and a shelter for women who have been battered.

In the meantime, the church wants to help residents who are looking for employment and ways to improve the quality of their lives, said the pastor, also a counselor at local Alternative Rehabilitation Communities, which serves adjudicated youths.

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Services

House of Reconciliation third anniversary services are at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept., at the church at 1497 W. Philadelphia St. in West York.

On Sundays, the church holds Sunday school classes at 10 a.m. Worship begins at 11:30 a.m.

Services for Youth are at 7 p.m. Fridays at the church.

--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.