OAKLAND- The Centennial Celebration Worship Service for the Chinese Independent Baptist Church (CIBC) was held on Sunday, Feb. 26.
Around 800 people, both old and young members of the Church, have attended the Chinese service at 11:15 a.m. Cantonese Assistant Pastor/Youth Pastor of CIBC Rev. David Tong called to worship and Cantonese Assistant Pastor Rev. Evans Kwok led the prayer. Rev. Gary Wong and Rev. Philip Loh, who had served CIBC for long period of time in the history, were invited to give testimony and deliver the message respectively.
Founded in 1906, the Church is home to many Chinese Baptists in the Oakland neighborhood and Bay Area. CIBC had its beginnings in the late 1800’s as a mission outreach of the First Baptist Church of Oakland. A Sunday School Was started for the immigrants from China to teach them English and Christian doctrine. In around 1901, 32 Chinese men were committed to the Lord. They purchased a house at 823 Webster Street for worship gatherings with each one’s two months earnings.
As the law did not allow Chinese to purchase property, American Baptist Home Mission Society was the official holder of the deed. The deed was finally transferred fully to Chinese when the laws were changed in 1920. The Chinese mission has then independent of the ABHMS and named as the Chinese Independent Baptist Church (CIBC).
The word "Independent" has reminded of the self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating of the Chinese Church since the seed of the Christian faith has planted in the Chinese community in Oakland by American Baptists.
At the end of the service, a moving 8-minute video was presented. It features the timeline of the Church’s history with photographs. Over the past 100 years, the Church has raised a few generations for Christ. Pictures show that some Church members have joined the Church since childhood, and they serve the Church and form their families when they grow up. The tradition of faith is being passed on from generation to generation.
Descendents of the first pastor of CIBC- Rev. Lee Tsai Leong- were invited to stand up and received round applaud from the congregation, expressing to them a heart of gratitude and appreciation to the sacrifice and good work of the Lee’s family.
Rev. Philip Loh concluded the service with a prayer of blessing.