5038 Hyland Ave., San Jose, CA 95127
The Rev. Ruth Casipit-Paguio    E-Mail


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Holy Child History in the Making

   In June 19, 1978, The Rev. Winfred B. Vergara was ordained priest of the Philippine Independent Church in Manila by the Most Rev. Macario V. Ga. In his ordination remarks, Fr. Vergara said that the biblical injunction, “Go and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19) was the most meaningful to him.
After serving two city churches in the Philippines, Fr. Vergara went to Singapore in 1980 as a scholar of the Southeast Asia Graduate School of Theology. While working on his Master in Theology degree, he served as priest at St. Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral, helping plant two extension churches.
In September 13, 1986, Fr. Fred and wife, Angela moved came to the United States to pursue a Doctor of Ministry degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary. In 1987, while working on his dissertation, he was appointed Director of Filipino Ministry Probe by the Presbytery of San Jose, California.
In 1988, he was appointed by Bishop Shannon Mallory as Asian Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real. He served concurrently as Associate Priest at St. Philip’s Multicultural Parish in East San Jose. In consultation with its Rector, The Rev. Jerry Drino, it was at St. Philip’s that Fr. Fred and Angela started evangelizing among Filipino immigrants whom they met at flea markets, grocery stores, parties and community gatherings. They were able to gather seven (7) Filipino immigrants as initial members or core group.
In due time, the Filipino Ministry grew and coalesce with St. Therese, a declining Anglo congregation in Evergreen, San Jose. In October 6, 1991 the incoming bishop, The Rt. Rev. Richard L. Shimpfky proclaimed the cooperative ministry as Holy Child Episcopal Church, the first Filipino-American Episcopal Mission in El Camino Real. Its initial services were held at Millbrook Community Center.
In 1993, the growing mission moved to the location of Grace Lutheran Church at 2650 Aborn Road, San Jose. The Rev. Vergara was received as canonical resident priest in the Episcopal Church and appointed Founding Vicar of the congregation. The church continued to grow and formed extension centers in Santa Clara in 1998 and Milpitas in 2000. Barangay cell groups, Kidstars Choir, Family Camps, anniversary dinner-dances and Kapitbahay programs attracted new members, now numbering 300. Fr. Vergara was also conferred the honor as Canon Missioner for Asian Cultures.
In 2001, the terrorist attack of Wall Trade Center worsened the economic recession in Silicon Valley. Thousands lost their jobs. In 2002, some families of Holy Child, including a former Sr. Warden (Manny Sese) moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.
In March 23, 2003, a Holy Child branch was inaugurated at All Saints Episcopal Church, 4201 W. Washington Street, Las Vegas. With the support of Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori of the Diocese of Nevada, the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry (EAM) and the Province VIII, ICMD, “Holy Child Las Vegas” became the first Filipino-American Episcopal ministry in the Diocese of Nevada. In his inauguration address to the new congregation, Canon Vergara exhorted the 38 attendees to reach out to the people of Las Vegas. “An Asian proverb says, ‘a journey of a thousand miles begin with one step.’ Today, we have began the first step of another exciting journey with God and let us include others in our journey to the City of God.” The congregation will be led by Bro. Mannix Sese as Lay Minister.
Holy Child Episcopal Church s also hoping to help encourage the planting of Filipino ministries in Sacramento, Delano, and San Diego (California) and Seattle/Everett (Washington) and in other cities where there are significant Filipino populations but where there are no Filipino Episcopal churches.