By Araya Moss
This fall, Central Filipino church (CFC), the oldest organized Filipino church in North America, celebrated 62 years of ministry.
The celebratory weekend was comprised of worship, fellowship, music performances, and cultural presentations. Southern California Conference President Velino A. Salazar delivered the Sabbath morning message, acknowledging that this church is the “great-grandmother of all Filipino congregations we have in the North American Division.”
CFC was formed in 1957 to nurture the spiritual needs of Filipino immigrants in the Los Angeles area and to reach out to those who had not yet experienced a personal relationship with God.
As the church began to grow, its location moved from Wilmington to Compton, then to Highland Park. The congregation quickly outgrew each location, and in the 1980s, they saw a need to relocate to a larger facility.
“The biggest challenge the church had for many years was the church building project,” reflected Simeon Rosete, CFC’s senior pastor of 27 years. “God allowed us to finish the building project despite strong advice to sell the church to an interested buyer.” In 1991, the building project was complete, and the church settled into its current location in Eagle Rock.
Throughout the years, the congregation has seen members come and go. Fernando Sapigao first joined the congregation in 1980, becoming a deacon shortly after. His family moved to a different church during his son’s formative years but returned permanently to CFC in 2006. “I came back because I missed the friendships I made here,” said Sapigao. “What I like about Central Filipino church is the mixture of different cultures from the different regions in the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, for example.” Sapigao added, “We also have members who are not Filipino. It’s a melting pot.”
Currently, the challenge is to get the whole congregation involved in the worship, fellowship, and discipleship programs of the church; however, Rosete chooses to acknowledge the smaller victories.
“This 62nd anniversary was special, because in the past we were only celebrating the major milestones: 50, 55, and 60,” said Rosete. “The success of this event convinced everyone that we should be celebrating every year.”
The weekend’s festivities concluded with a health fair on Sunday, which included blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, free haircuts, and a food fair that allowed various church ministries to raise funds for different outreach activities.
As CFC moves into the next 62 years, Rosete is excited to “see kids develop into mature adults and help carry out the message of salvation to the world.”