Southwest Baptist Church Celebrates


More than 70 church members and guests of Southwest Baptist Church worshipped and attended the 2,000-year-old Christian tradition and celebrated Bill and Nancy Windhurst’s 60-year wedding anniversary on Sunday, March 31, 2024. Bill & Nancy are currently the oldest and longest faithful members of Southwest, San Diego, CA, since 1972. They were totally surprised by the special festivities hosted by the church following the morning service.  

Most of the nearly 200 churches in the San Diego Southern Baptist Association are small congregations, including Southwest. It is a multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic - English and Spanish speaking church. The congregation is a living witness for Christ located near the border of Mexico. As a matter of fact, church visitors and members can visibly see the City of Tijuana, Mexico. Southwest has a great potential to minister to the newest immigrants coming from the South of the border. Additionally, the church has the unique opportunity to reach out to high school students located across the street from the church.  

In addition to the traditional Sunday worship service, the church held an Easter egg hunt for the children. Abby Alvarez, the church’s interpreter and singer, explained the real meaning of Easter prior to the children’s going out and hunting for the hundreds of chocolate-filled plastic eggs placed around the playgrounds.

The unusual Spring storm brought in by the atmospheric river caused flooding around San Diego County. The weather was cloudy and rained most of Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024. The wet weather did not hamper the church members and visitors attending the service. There were periods of intermittent sun breaks occurring on Sunday for about an hour in the South Bay area near San Ysidro and Carmel Mountain Ranch in Northern San Diego.   

The dual celebrations were really a blessing for all in attendance.  The Easter message was timely. The worship team’s performance of singing in English and Spanish was superb. Bill & Nancy were so thankful for making their 60th anniversary a very joyous occasion. Bill cried during his prayer for all hands. Nancy shared a moving story about her married life with Bill. Pastor Fermin Ancho prayed a special blessing on the couple. The children learned the real meaning of Easter. The children were happy with their baskets full of eggs.  

I was honored to be invited by Fermin Ancho, Pastor of Southwest, to share the 1000 Easter Sunday message. Translated to Spanish by Abby Alvarez, the morning message was titled “Jesus suffered, died, and conquered death.” First, Jesus suffered so much that inflicted a mind-boggling pain. The Bible says, “Christ suffered for our sins once and for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18 (NLT). Jesus suffered an unbelievable agony.  Second, He (Jesus) died for our sins. The Apostle Paul’s aim in life, “That “I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Philippians 3:10 ESV.  Third, God raised Him to life again on the third day in victory over sin and death! Hallelujah! The Apostle Paul said, “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” (1 Cor 15:4-5) NLT

During the Resurrection worship celebration in their Church in South San Diego, Pastor Fermin Ancho said, “Our faith is alive! We serve a risen Savior! Jesus’ tomb is empty – and one day, our grave will also be empty!” He continues, “We will also be resurrected to be with the Lord forever! This is our assurance - this is our living hope!”

Everyone (the young and the young at heart) who came and attended the service was truly blessed, including the first-time visitors. The dual celebration - Easter worship experience and the 60th wedding anniversary- was the first of its kind in the history of the Southwest Baptist Church.  The person of Jesus Christ was the central theme throughout the four-hour worship, fellowship, and the annual egg hunt.