When Aldo Barcelo joined Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute (FBBI) as the school’s first director of Hispanic Theological Training in 2009, few options existed for North Carolina Hispanic pastors and students who desired a theological education in Spanish.
BSC photo by Buddy Overman
Antonio Santos, right, and Larry Phillips, center, present an award to Aldo Barcelo for his service at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute.
Barcelo helped establish FBBI regional satellite campuses in Winston-Salem, Statesville and Wilmington. The satellite campuses are specifically designed to provide easier access to quality theological training and education to Hispanic pastors, students and laypersons.
Barcelo, who recently announced that he will leave his position at FBBI to assume a pastorate responsibility in his native Chile, was honored for his work among Hispanic churches during the Hispanic Conference and Banquet held in conjunction with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) annual meeting in Greensboro.
“We honored Aldo with a plaque as a way to thank him for his years of service as a pastor and as the director of the Hispanic program at Fruitland,” said Antonio Santos, BSC senior consultant for Hispanic ministry. “His role was critical in connecting Hispanic pastors, church planters and lay leaders to have access to theological education.”
As many North Carolina Hispanic pastors are bivocational and have little formal theological training, the satellite campuses provide an invaluable service to Hispanic church leaders.
“Aldo provided that education, and because of the satellite campuses he has made it much easier for Hispanic pastors from all over the state to gain access to that education,” Santos said. “He will absolutely be missed.”
FBBI president David Horton said Barcelo was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Hispanic satellite campuses, and his contribution to North Carolina Baptists and Hispanic churches will last for generations to come.
“Dr. Barcelo has greatly expanded ministerial training for Hispanic students by adding satellite campuses in strategic locations in North Carolina. He will be missed by all of us at Fruitland,” Horton said.
FBBI has named Robert Fernandez as the new director of Hispanic Theological Education. Fernandez has been an instructor at FBBI since 2007. He is a pastor of Casa De Dios church, a church plant sponsored by Bethel Baptist Church in Canton, N.C.
He is also pastor of El Centro del Senor church in Cullowhee, N.C. Fernandez was born in Cuba but his family moved to Tampa, Fla., where he was raised. A FBBI graduate himself, Fernandez values the training opportunities FBBI provides for church leaders. Horton believes Fernandez will have great success directing FBBI’s efforts to provide high quality theological education to Hispanic students.
“We are very excited about the future for Hispanic ministerial training at Fruitland,” Horton said.