Church History



While the 1906 San Francisco fire wrought destruction, it may be said that its fiery glow spreading across the bay performed a dual task in forging a little store into a mission.  It was at this time that the Deaconess Emma Drant followed the homeless across the bay and set up the Oakland extension of True Sunshine Mission.  From the time of this humble inception to the acquisition of the 9th and Madison parish hall, the mission changed location on five occasions within a geographical radius of approximately one mile.  At 320 Sixth Street, the mission carried on her tasks for twenty-eight years in an old frame building, converted from a barn.  Then in 1941, like the story of Cinderella, the mission came into possession of a new building of architectural beauty at 9th and Madison.

Thus far the account merely portrays part of the history.  As it is the people who make history, so must be included individuals like Deaconess Drant, devoted friend and founder of the Mission, The Rev. Daniel G. C. Wu, veteran and amiable vicar who gave thirty-five years of his life to the service of the Mission, the Rt. Rev. Karl M. Block, benevolent Bishop whose determination made it possible for the Mission to abandon its shabbiness.

In 1965, after 24 years at the corner of 9th and Madison, the Mission was forced to relocate, due to the Bay Area Rapid Transit construction in that area, to rented quarters at 4360 Lincoln Avenue.  The Mission attempted to integrate in a predominantly white neighborhood, but was relatively unsuccessful.  Then in 1969, the Mission congregation reaffirmed its desire to minister to the Chinese people and to return to the Oakland Chinese community.

The Mission returned to the Oakland Chinese community in June 1970, using temporary rental facilities at 1011 Harrison Street.  The entire building was purchased by the Mission in December 1971.  On December 6, 1974, the Mission was admitted as a parish in union at the 125th Diocesan Convention.  With the addition of the masonry building at 1013 Harrison Street, on February 8, 1986, the new chapel was dedicated.  Over the last twenty years, we have completed a major earthquake retrofitting, remodeled the parish hall and the church office, added new classrooms in the basement, and a conference room in the attic.  Our outreach programs through the Oakland Chinatown Jubilee Community Center are continuing expanding. In 2006, we celebrate the Church 100th anniversary and continue with our mission, “Serve the Church and local community through contemporary spiritual nourishment, fellowship, and leadership based on the Gospel and spirit of Jubilee emphasizing youth and evangelism.”  In 2009, the 76th General Convention concurred that The Rev. Daniel G. C. Wu, the first Chinese Episcopal priest, be included in the commemorations in the Calendar of the Church Year, as set forth in the Calendar in Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints.

In 2008, after serving 23 years with Our Saviour, The Rev. Dr. Gordon Lau retired.  After one and a half years of searching, the Church has called The Rev. Merry Chan Ong to be our first female rector.  With God’s grace and love, we will continue to serve the Chinese community as our forefathers had envisioned over a century ago. 

Thanks be to God!