Contact Info Subscribe Links


October-November 2021

Celebrating 100 Issues of ONE Magazine


Online Edition

Download PDF

iPad and E-Reader




History Resources



Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email


The Empty Church

By Kristi Johnson


Sitting in the middle of Alpedrete is an empty church. Just one year ago, these seats were filled with people. We knew back then a virus was raging in faraway parts of the world. But we had no idea, within days, the virus would make its way to Spain and would change the course of history forever.

On March 8, 2020, we gathered together for worship as normal. We sang. We prayed. We took communion. Several guests visited that day. If only we'd valued those moments for the luxury they were. That was the last time we have all been together in our building.

When the Alpedrete church was founded, the congregation chose to name the church "Roca Eterna" (translated literally, The Eternal Rock). The name comes from the town’s granite quarries that have produced rock for several famous monuments in our area, including the Royal
Palace in Madrid. It is a perfect name for the first gospel-preaching church in the history of the town.


The Eternal Rock Church has truly lived up to its name during these past 52 weeks of virtual worship services, Bible studies, meetings, and prayer times. They have shouldered many storms together—but not together. They have prayed for special needs together, but not together. They have laughed and cried together, but not together.

At least, not together physically.

Even though the Alpedrete church's building has been empty, the gospel message has still been proclaimed. At nursing homes. And in our local food bank. Through video productions and via song recordings. The Eternal Rock Church didn't stop being the church just because its doors were closed.

One year later, the seats in our church continue to be empty. But we are thankful the hearts of church members are not empty. They are filled with the truth that God is our true Roca Eterna...our Eternal Rock!

About the Author: Kristi Johnson and her husband Tim began their new ministry as missionaries in residence at Welch College in August 2021, after serving as missionaries to Spain for over two decades. This article was written six weeks before the congregation began meeting in person again.


©2021 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists