ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (KTVU) - A church ministry that came to the aid of North Bay Fire victims is in need of help. The First Spanish Baptist Church in Rohnert Park served three meals a day for 30 days to people who lost homes or jobs in the fires. But now The church was recently served with an eviction notice and has less than 60 days to find a new home.
“People still feel lost,” said First Spanish Baptist Church pastor Albert Rodriguez.
Pastor Albert said his ministry continues to package food for fire victims and hosts meals for them once a month.
For 14 years, The First Spanish Baptist Church rented space from the Snyder Lane Baptist Church at just $350 a month.
“We would help compensate that by taking care of all the exterior properties, doing all the yard work, and cleaning the buildings,” said Pastor Albert.
In January, The Snyder Lane Baptist Church changed leadership and that’s when Pastor Albert and another minority ministry, which did not want to be named in the story, said they were told to pay more in rent. The list of fees and expenses totaled $14,265 per month.
“We did not agree upon it. We did not have an opportunity to sit down and negotiate what we could afford,” said Pastor Albert.
On Sunday, Pastor Albert said he found an eviction notice on the door. The pastor of the second ministry also confirmed an eviction notice.
KTVU reached out to the Snyder Lane Baptist Church’s Pastor Andy Springer, but did not receive a return phone call on Friday. The eviction notice cited a failure to pay the $14,265 amount as well as stating the status of The First Spanish Baptist Church was suspended by California’s Secretary of State.
“That was new to me,” said Pastor Albert. He showed a letter from the California Southern Baptist Convention, which lists The First Spanish Baptist Church under the umbrella coverage of its 501 (c) (3) nonprofit.
Neighbors near the church said they were sad to see the First Spanish Baptist Church go.
“That’s too bad. They’re really nice,” said neighbor Daryl Rosean, who attended several events host by the ministry over the years.
“They’re quiet, very friendly, good food too. I love the Spanish food.”
Pastor Albert said finding an affordable place to rent in the North Bay will be a challenge. The ministry would also have to move furniture, and cooking and storage equipment.
“The most we feel we could substantially pay would be no more than $750,” said Pastor Albert.
The First Spanish Baptist Church leaders said they don’t want to go far from the people they serve, so they’re looking for a new home in Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, or Cotati.