The Fil-Am Seventh Day Adventist Church

The Fil-Am Seventh Day Adventist Church

Outside the Seventh Day Adventist Church                              Photo Courtesy of Jason Dizon

Inside the Church, First Impressions

In order to better understand the influences of the Filipino Christian community on a more contemporary timescale, our group decided to send two of our members to visit a local Filipino-Christian church to see how they hold their services. On the second of December, Jason and I visited one of Stockton’s churches to further observe and possibly even participate in one of their services with the intent to somehow relate our own experiences to that of our readings. The prayer and worship service we attended had been at Stockton’s own Seventh Day Adventist Church located by the freeway. The service lasted from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, a two hour service with a packed audience of about seventy members, with a large majority of them giving off the feeling that they were regulars who had already been frequenting said religious institution for quite a while now. By our own quick visual survey, it seemed to us that the congregation itself consisted of fairly varied age groups, except for only a scant amount of “Lolos and Lolas” (the elderly with grandchildren) and with a majority of them originating from a Filipino heritage. In a more personal sense, I felt that the church itself had a noticeably organized and welcoming feel, as Jason and I were greeted by a man in a tuxedo before we had entered through the doors in order to get to the seats.

Please do note that this is only one instance of such a visit and is not completely accurate for the generalization of the overall Filipino Christian community, but just our quick take on it.

Our Experience

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

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Child Bible School at Stockton Fil-Am Seventh Day Adventist Church                Picture Courtesy of Jeanette L.  & Source on

Objectively speaking, the service of the Seventh Day Adventist Church’s service felt similar to Joel Osteen’s own message of “self-help” but with more of an emphasis on the historical, religious connotations of the idea. The service itself was very nice with intermittent moments of singing and performances between the “praise and worship” sections, but before the sermon. Compared to Joel Osteen’s megachurch service though, I feel as the one we went through had more of a reciprocated connection between the pastor and his audience members with Filipino influences. An event that we experienced while we were there which exemplifies this was their “child dedication” service where the uncles, aunts, and older relatives of a baby would come up to be blessed along with their godchild and promise to be responsible for rearing the child up through the faith because “it takes a village to raise a child”. Another such event had been their “Child Bible School” upon which all the young children within the church would go up on the first step of the altar and proceed to be given a short preview of the core values of the sermon in child format while the audience watched and participated along with their activities. For me, the reason this felt quite influenced by Filipino values is because there was a large emphasis on the importance of children and the idea of “taking a village to raise a child” as shown with the child in the dedication having a copious amount of godparents in contrast to being paired only to one, and with their age groups varying from young adulthood to grand-parenthood. Then, with the Children’s Bible School, the adults’ participation with the children and placing the location of the lesson in front of the whole congregation, to me, showed their intent to highlight the importance of children in contrast to reserving a room outside of the main hall just for them. In my opinion, while the Filipino spirit did influence the religion, a kind of a quasi-syncretism in which they integrated the core values of their background to their practices, their religion had the same effect upon them.