Philippine Heritage Celebration at East County Shared Ministry

East County Shared Ministry will celebrate Philippine Heritage at a special worship service on Sunday, June 3, at 10 a.m. This is one of several culture-specific celebrations, both recent and looking forward, as the ministry honors its global heritage.

The guest speaker will be Rev. Israel Alvaran, an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church who is assigned as national organizer for economic justice of its General Board of Church and Society. An activist for social justice since his seminary days, he has served with the church in various settings: as pastor, youth minister, university chaplain, and social justice community organizer. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, he came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in 2003.

The political situation in the Philippines changed a few years later, with the abductions and murders of progressive leaders, union activists, community organizers, and even clergy. Alvaran, with approval from his bishop in the Philippines, was granted political asylum. He later earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley in 2010. More recently, he worked as interfaith community organizer in San Francisco, supporting worker justice and immigrant rights concerns.

“Unity in diversity is the foundation of the shared ministry,” commented Rev. Christy Parks-Ramage. “As we celebrate our diversity, we strengthen our commitment to social justice which unites us.”

Everyone is invited to join in the celebration of Philippine Heritage particularly those who share this connection. San Francisco alone is home to 40,072 Filipinos, by the estimate of the 2000 U.S. Census. Many Filipinos also live in the counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area, with 68,680 in Alameda County, 34,436 in Contra Costa County, 60,144 in San Mateo County, 77,815 in Santa Clara County, and 35,862 in Solano County.

About East County Shared Ministry

East County Shared Ministry comprises Community Presbyterian Church of Pittsburg (PCUSA) and First Congregational Church of Antioch (UCC) who have embarked on a continued exploration of shared ministry that will enrich, enhance and strengthen their collective progressive ministry to the congregations, the community and the world at large. ECSM recognizes, celebrates and gives thanks for the many diverse gifts of God among us. All are invited to participate in their community and worship life including, but not limited to, believers, seekers, agnostics, women and men, those of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions, those of all races and cultures, those of all classes and abilities, those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope. For more information visit the website at

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