Ernie Loya has been a part of Downtown Faith’s beginning, growth, and continuing transformation. Ernie has grown in his roles and added two new ones recently: ordained pastor and wedding officiant. On Sunday, September 20, Ernie will be giving the message.
Ernie supports people from all walks of life with good works, uplifting those who need help, walking with those who need faith, and now sharing in the joy of officiating wedding ceremonies.
“I realize that I am on a journey,” says Ernie. “I am not always in control. One day, I got the idea that I wanted to be a wedding officiant. I spoke with Connie, my wife, and while I admit I have had some crazy ideas, she got on board with this one.”
There is a difference between being licensed and ordained. A wedding officiant is a person who is legally qualified, through the state, city, and/or county, to perform a marriage ceremony. An ordained minister in Christianity is authorized by a church or religious organization to teach, lead services, and provides spiritual guidance within the church or organization. Ernie, at first, was researching how to become licensed.
When he spoke with Pastor Jeremy about becoming an officiant, Ernie was invited by Jeremy to become ordained through Downtown Faith. They talked, prayed, and Ernie soon realized that this was the next step for him.
“I was already serving within the church, and it seemed so natural,” says Ernie. “Wanting to become a wedding officiant opened my eyes to the fact that I was a shepherd to the church.”
While Ernie has spoken before, especially during Be Rich, this year he is looking forward to sharing the message of Loving Loudly by informing and entertaining while communicating with everyone that the world does revolve around love.
Ernie is a man of many talents who has been blessed to experience life in many ways. He has traveled and served in Africa, worked at Zappos, sold his sauces and other products at Farmer’s Markets, and opened and managed a very successful restaurant, Big Ern’s BBQ, with two locations including downtown.
It was through Big Ern’s BBQ that he met Jeremy in 2015 when Jeremy and his family moved to Downtown Las Vegas intending to start a church. Jeremy began with a campaign, and one day he received a message that Ernie Loya contributed financially as a way to support downtown.
It was faith that moved Ernie to reach out to Jeremy. Ernie and Connie did attend other churches outside of their original religion of Catholicism when they lived in the southwest part of the valley. When they moved downtown, they lost the connection with the church they attended and started to look for a new church home. Downtown Faith resonated with them, and they wanted to become part of it.
As a community liaison and benevolence coordinator, “It allows me to make contact with people, both within the church and the people we are serving,” Ernie explains. “Before, when Connie and I weren’t part of a church, we were trying to help people out of love, but we weren’t connect to any church or service to God. We both have grown with our faith, and now we know that our good deeds are done for God’s glory. We are serving people to serve Him.”
Ernie shares his love of God and demonstrates his compassion throughout his life, expressing his warmth, charity, and empathy in all that he does, serving God through Downtown Faith.
Ernie is excited about speaking for Downtown Faith on Sunday, September 20, 11am. Connect with Downtown Faith and join the conversation virtually!