Abelardo Rivas, pastor for the Multicultural Church for the Community, was ordained during a special service at the 2022 Hispanic Ministries Festival.

The service began with a welcome by Lee Rochholz, Iowa-Missouri Conference ministerial director. His welcome was followed by the ordination message presented by Roberto Correa, Mid-American Union Hispanic ministries coordinator.  Rivas was then invited by Carlos Tamay, Iowa-Missouri Conference Hispanic ministries coordinator, to accept the ordination invitation.

Rivas accepted the invitation and reminded all present that the ordination did not make him any more powerful than before. Instead, Rivas said all have been called to live for Christ and he challenged the congregation to join him in answering that call.

“I accept this invitation because it is an invitation that God has extended to each one of you … to take this blessed hope and share it with everyone around you,” Rivas said.

Following his acceptance, ordained pastors and elders laid hands on Rivas while Executive Secretary Rob Alfalah and Southern Union Hispanic Ministries Director Julio Chazarreta, offered prayer for Rivas and his wife, Argelia.

When the prayers concluded, Iowa-Missouri Conference President Dean Coridan gave an Ordination Charge. One of Coridan’s main points came from 2 Samuel 18.

In the story, a young man had news for King David and was instructed to run quickly to inform the king. Another man wanted to run but had no news. Both men ran to the king and the man with no news arrived first. When the man could not tell David the news, David asked him to step aside. David then listened to the man with news.

“Abelardo, we’re asking you to run. But if you don’t have a message don’t run. … Get on your knees until your heart is on fire with the message and then run your heart out,” Coridan said.

Before presenting Rivas with his ordination certificate, Rochholz recalled how he and Tamay searched for one year to find a pastor for the Multicultural Church for the Community. Rochholz said when Rivas was selected as the pastor for the church, he believed it was God’s leading. Since then, Rochholz said the conference office has heard many good things about Rivas’s work in the church. Rochholz and his wife Jessica presented Rivas and his wife with gifts on behalf of the conference office.

Following the certificate presentation, Rivas sang “Yo Iré” (I will go). Again, he challenged the congregation to listen to God’s calling.

Three other pastors were also recognized at the event, Carlos Tamay, Juan Acosta and Gilberto Moral. In conjunction with the North American Division, the Iowa-Missouri Conference presented these pastors with a medallion and a gift in gratitude for 30 years of ministry service.

To conclude the service, the three recognized pastors and Rivas lined up in front of the platform to be greeted by attendees.

More information about Abelardo Rivas Santini

Abelardo Rivas Santini was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He attended the Ricardo Greenidge Seventh-day Adventist Academy in Caracas. While attending the SDA Academy he was baptized by then local Pastor Edgar Brito (today president of the Venezuelan Adventist University) in 1981.

Abelardo later completed an associate degree in International Business at the New Carriers Institute. In 2005, he graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Theology from Southern Adventist University. He worked at the Mountain View Conference as youth director and senior pastor for the Wheeling and Weirton Churches until 2007.

That year, he transitioned to Andrews University Theological Seminary to continue his studies pursuing a Master of Divinity. While doing so, he worked for the Ohio Conference planting two churches in Wauseon and Findlay, OH. After completing a master’s degree in 2010, he enrolled in the Ph.D. program with a concentration in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and a minor in New Testament Studies.

He has served as adjunct faculty in Andrews University Department of Religion and Biblical Languages and at the Theological Seminary since 2012. In 2019, the Iowa-Missouri Conference extended an invitation to serve as the senior pastor for the Multicultural Church for the Community in Kansas City and the St. Joseph Hispanic group where he currently serves now.

In 2014, he married Argelia Fagre and today they together support each other fulfilling their different passions in ministry and in health care.