The Episcopal Church in the Philippines
A Glimpse of the Past (Brief History)
Planting the Seeds.
The winds of war brought the Episcopal Church to the Philippine shores. The first recorded Episcopal Church service in the Philippines took place on September 4, 1898 and was officiated by Chaplain Charles Pierce who came with the American occupation forces. This service was mainly attended by Americans and other English-speaking residents of Manila. On Christmas day that same year, the first Eucharist was conducted by Chaplain Pierce for Filipinos who were disgruntled with their Spanish former allegiance. The first seed of the Episcopal Church was planted.
On October 11, 1901, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) meeting in San Francisco and acting on a memorial presented by Bishop Frederick Graves, voted to create the Philippines as a Missionary District and elected Charles Henry Brent, then Rector of St Stephen’s in Boston, as its first bishop. On August 24, 1902, Bishop Brent arrived in the Philippines with a huge amount of money to support the beginnings of his work. A month after the General Convention, the Reverend John Staunton and the Reverend Walter Clapp arrived as missionaries duly appointed by the ECUSA’s Board of Managers.
The Cordilllera Mission
In February 1903, Bishop Brent and the Rev Walter Clapp made a survey trip to the Cordillera. Six months after, the Rev Clapp was sent to Bontoc to open the mission of the Holy Comforter. The Rev John Staunton, on the other hand, was sent to Baguio to establish the Rest House for the missionaries and to do mission work among the natives. He built the House of the Resurrection where he and his wife Maria resided and distributed soap, bread, medicines to the needy residents. The house also served as a Chapel for a small American congregation. On April 24, 1904, Bishop Brent consecrated a new building as the Church of the Resurrection after the second visit to Bontoc.
Other Related Mission Work in the Area
In Easter Week of 1906, Easter School was opened in Baguio with Samuel Drury as Headmaster. It was established on a piece of land bought by Bishop Brent from his honoraria as a member of the Opium Commission created by Governor General Taft. The first students were eight boys from Bontoc who hiked all the way to the School from that town. In November 1909, the Baguio School for Boys opened at the YMCA building in Manila with Fr Remsen Ogilby as Headmaster. It supposed to open with new buildings in Baguio but a strong typhoon destroyed communication facilities so that the first students could not go up to Baguio in time for opening of school. This school would later be called Brent School.