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Pastor’s dream comes true with new center

City on a Hill community grows over two decades and builds its own worship center to begin a new cha

Posted: July 13, 2012 5:41 p.m.
Updated: July 13, 2012 5:41 p.m.

Edwin Recinos, a dreamer and Guatemalan immigrant, came to the United States in 1985.

Like many, he planned to work hard and achieve the great American dream.

While working in hotel management, he began to feel a calling for pastoral ministry and quickly discovered a passion for the word of God and explaining the Bible to others.

Worshipping in Burbank, Recinos became his pastor’s right-hand man, and by 1993, he was ordained as a pastor by the United Brethren in Christ denomination.

The following year, a small group of Spanish speaking church goers began to urge Recinos to start a Hispanic mission in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The group commuted every week from Canyon Country, Acton and even Lancaster to Burbank to worship. Starting a church in Santa Clarita meant the group no longer had to commute so far.

In 1994, after much prayer, Recinos rented a room from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Canyon Country and began a Hispanic mission.

A dream come true
Recinos’ group slowly grew over the years. The church, formerly known as Iglesia Cellular and now known as City on a Hill Christian Church (Ciudad en lo Alto), eventually reached more than 1,000 members.

Bethlehem, which holds its own worship services, offered them the use of the sanctuary and eventually the gymnasium to accommodate the crowd. Recinos and the congregation hoped to one day have their own facility.

“I had a dream,” Pastor Edwin Recinos said. “I dreamed that one day, God would bless us with our own building.”

That dream came true. For nearly 17 years, the two church groups coexisted on the same campus.

Finally, in 2004, City on a Hill bought land on Soledad Canyon Road alongside Highway 14, and by 2010, construction had begun. Last year, the church family officially moved in.

Iglesia Cellular grew from a small group of 20 friends meeting in a room at another church to more than 1,000 members attending services now in both Spanish and English.

Zef Franquez, associate pastor of City on a Hill and son of founding members Oscar and Sonia Franquez, remembers the early days when services were only in Spanish, but the members were always very close to each other.

“It really is a dream come true to have our own sanctuary,” Franquez said. “We have all put in so much work and sacrifice, and it all started with our pastor who had a vision and a dream.”

A vision for everyone
City on a Hill recently underwent a name change to emphasize the new vision for the church. Originally Iglesia Cellular, Recinos understood an important demographic was not being ministered to. 

So, in 2007, the church began to hold English services, as well.

“God sent me out to build a church for Hispanics,” Recinos said. “I can relate culturally to immigrants; but I could not do that with the younger generation.”

“We saw the need of the youth and the culture difference,” Franquez said. “We needed to also reach a new generation.”

Recinos then brought in his son Elias and Zef Franquez to minister in English and touch many more hearts.

Now, the church holds services in both English and Spanish and has members of many races and cultures.

“I discovered my gift of teaching and I love to explain the values of Jesus,” Edwin Recinos said. “It makes no difference that I have a Hispanic background, we are preaching in the language of America. Our church looks beautiful serving all the colors.”

City on a Hill Christian Church  is at 17180 Soledad Canyon Road. For information and  service times visit or call 661-250-479.


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