110 years of Our Saviour, Oakland

This past Trinity Sunday, May 22, the Church of Our Saviour in Oakland, celebrated its 110th anniversary of ministry with the Chinese community in the East Bay. Asian-American clergy from across the diocese and the world (including the Most Rev. Dr. Paul Kwong, archbishop and primate of Hong Kong) joined to celebrate this special occasion.

The community that would become the Church of Our Saviour began in the chaos after the 1906 earthquake when Deaconess Emma Drant began a mission to the Chinese community that had settled in Oakland. In 1913 a former pupil, Daniel Wu, became the first priest-in-charge of what was then called True Sunshine Oakland mission. Wu was the first Chinese Episcopal priest in the United States and is celebrated in Holy Women, Holy Men. 

Through many changes and challenges, Our Saviour has remained committed to the Chinese community in Oakland. As the location of the Oakland Chinatown Jubilee Christian Center (OCJCC) it continues to bring the gospel to the surrounding community through language classes, art programs, and summer camps. 

In remarking on the changes that have taken place over Our Saviour’s 110-year history, Bishop Marc Andrus of California remarked, “One of the things they [the founders] couldn’t have known is that 110 years later the rector would be a woman!” The current rector is the Rev. Merry Chan Ong. The Rev. Dr. Fran Toy, the first female Chinese Episcopal priest, is also a member of the congregation.

With God’s help, the Church of Our Saviour will continue to proclaim the gospel in Oakland’s Chinatown for many years to come.