Central Filipino church (CFC) commemorated both the past and present with a 65th anniversary celebration at which newly retired Simeon Rosete, who served as CFC senior pastor for 30 years, preached his final sermon in that role.
At the start of the divine worship service, Wilmore Villanueva, head elder, recognized charter and former members who were present.
Villanueva spoke of the historic and significant milestone, citing the church’s humble beginnings, rapid growth, and how “the Lord’s invisible hands carried this church in a miraculous way.” Villanueva compared the church’s 65-year history to retirement age, when many slow down and step back. However, he encouraged the congregation to reject that thinking. “No, CFC brothers and sisters,” Villanueva said. “It’s time to spread the wings and soar high with Jesus and prove once again that we sincerely carry out our mission statement: CFC exists to prepare a people for the soon return of Jesus Christ.”
Southern California Conference President Velino A. Salazar congratulated the congregation for its historic impact and faithful ministry. “The Central Filipino church is the great-grandma of all Filipino churches in the Southern California Conference,” Salazar said. “We want to praise God for the ministry that this church has done for 65 years. As we celebrate, keep in mind two things: The Lord has guided you in the past, and the Lord will continue to guide you in the future—until the moment when Jesus Christ returns.”
The Central Filipino church began in the 1950s with a small group of Filipino Adventists meeting Sabbath afternoons in their homes. The group quickly grew and saw the need for a church facility in Wilmington. On Sept. 21, 1957, the congregation of 85 members was formally organized as the first Filipino Adventist church in America. From Wilmington, the church relocated to Compton and Highland Park before settling in Eagle Rock, adopting the name “Central Filipino.” However, the move to Eagle Rock presented many challenges. Amid delayed construction due to insufficient funds, a demolition order from City Hall, and offers from neighboring businesses to buy the property, the congregation remained faithful to God, who, in turn, rewarded their faithfulness. The congregation moved into the new church building Dec. 14, 1991, eleven years after construction began.
The celebratory day continued with a potluck and an afternoon program and concluded with a retirement party for Rosete. The following Sabbath, Cristopher Manlongat was installed as the new senior pastor.
Rosete left the congregation with three imperatives. “Do not be afraid, stand still and stand firm in the foundation of your faith,” he said. “And lastly, go forward in proclamation of the gospel.”
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