October 15, 2020 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | By: Juan Emerson Hernández
The first attempt to preach the gospel in Bogotá occurred at the end of the 1890s, when the self-supporting missionary, Frank C. Kelly, arrived in Colombia.1 He traveled to Bogotá intending to establish Adventism and worked as a photographer and English teacher. He had to return to his country because his wife fell ill, and there was no one to continue the work he had begun.
Years later, E. Max Trummer moved to Bogotá and began distributing Adventist books as an experienced colporteur. “It was during his years of service when the Adventist work in Colombia had its true beginning.”2
In 1921, Pastor E. Max Trummer arrived in Bogotá to strengthen the missionary work that had already begun. Frank Kelly, his wife, and the Cleeves family were contacted to join the preaching efforts.3 They leased a place on Race 9 and 14th Street and, on July 30, 1921, met to organize the first Adventist church in Bogotá.4 On September 29, 1923, resultant from their preaching and colporteur work, Francisco Hernández was the first to be baptized. Salvador Plata and his wife, Lola de Plata, were baptized in November 1923. On May 30, 1924, Eugenia de Hernández was baptized. Evangelina Ríos and Ludivia Pineda were baptized on December 31, 1927.5
When the Trummers arrived in Colombia to prepare the speeches that Pastor Cleeves would present in Bogotá, fearing some opposition, they sent a message to the president of Colombia, Pedro Nel Ospina. In August 1922, they received an answer: “I wish you good fortune.” They took it as a permit to work in Colombia.6
Over ten years, the church was relocated to multiple rented properties. The first purchased property was in Barrio Luna Park in 1930, where the church stayed for 12 years.7 The mission presidents at the time were Pastor N. H. Kinzer in 1930 and Pastor C. E. Westphal in 1931.8 The Plata brothers, Salvador, Eugenio, and Carlos, accompanied the presidents in their purchase of this property.
However, the church members wished for a better location. Specifically, they wished to be located further north from the city, between 40 Street and 60 Street. They bought another property in the center of the city, where the church currently stands.
This church has managed most of the congregations in the Altiplano Cundiboyacense and the eastern plains. It supported the religious work financially and by forming leaders who would become pillars of strength for the church.
The church’s vision for the future includes:
Bogotá church record. 1921. Review and Herald Publishing Association archives.
“Central American Missions.” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Accessed July 16, 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1922.pdf.
Greenleaf, Floyd. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Latin America and the Caribbean. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 1992.
Schwarz, Richard W., and Floyd Greenleaf. Light Bearers. Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2000.
Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Years 1931, 1932. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.
Viana, Yerko Samuel. “History of Adventism in Bogotá: 1921-2011.” Unpublished document.
Westphal, Wilma Ross. “Soldiers of the Cross.” Unpublished document, 1976.