Forward Fellowship Church launched 9 years ago in a movie theater in Hialeah serving the first and second-generation Hispanics and families in their community. Today, God has moved them to the Wynwood Art District to minister to the increasingly diverse community located near downtown Miami.
“God completely turned our vision of who we are,” said Pastor David Pereira. “In Wynwood, we are working to reach second and third generation Hispanics, young adults, families, as well as men who are broken and homeless.”
Wynwood is well known for its art and trendy stores. But, surrounding the colorful murals and museums are also men and women struggling with homelessness and poverty.
Pereira has been volunteering with the Miami Rescue Mission for some years, a relationship that was a catalyst for the change God brought to Forward Fellowship Church. “[I] started by doing a chapel service once a month, then was asked to start doing counseling for the men and before I knew it, I was there every week. The men opened up to me and trust me.”The Miami Rescue Mission is an organization helping the homeless and needy in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Forward Fellowship Church also got involved serving meals and doing volunteer work in the kitchen of the Mission.
Forward Fellowship Church averages 120 for Sunday worship at an unused Miami Rescue Mission building that God led them to after they had to leave their previous meeting spaces. Following the Hialeah movie theater, the church moved into a storefront location in the Medley/Hialeah area. Unfortunately, when the property changed owners the church was asked to move out.
“I was very nervous about where the church was going to go but the president of the Miami Rescue Mission heard about what happened to us and told me he had a building in Wynwood that was not being used on Sundays and that we were welcome to it,” said Pereira.
Since then, Forward Fellowship Church has been helping broken men get back on their feet. “A lot of the men in this area are straight out of prison, no one will hire them, their families don’t want anything to do with them and other people are overcoming addiction.”
Pereira knows that he has a very mixed congregation, so he encourages unity by reminding them that everyone is experiencing some level of pain and that while each person’s experience is different the feelings of insecurity, fear, and shame are the same and Christ is the answer to all.