THE Reverend Haniel Joses Taganas shares with us a pre-war photo of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Davao City which is now renamed as Congregational Church at the CROSSroads-UCCP. History writes, as recorded in the coffee table book “A Century of Faithfulness: The History of UCCP-Davao City,” the laying of the cornerstone of the Davao Church building along San Pedro Street took place on OCTOBER 13, 1911 attended by Major Henry Gilheuser who was the American Governor of Davao District. This was constructed during the term of Reverend Robert Franklin Black. This is most probably the first church erected along the CROOKED ROAD that was erected in June 1945 as recalled by Ms. Catalina Camus-Naraval in an article she wrote for the same book.
In an interview by Ms. Efigenia Occena, she said:
“Heavily damaged by war, the property at the “crooked road” near San Pedro Street is sold. Walter Tong, released from the Japanese Concentration Camp, returns to help Rev. Malonzo in building a chapel and parsonage at the present church site along Legaspi (now Pelayo) street,” the book said.
The present church site was obtained through a claim staked by UCCP on the Furukawa plantation after it was vacated by the Japanese. This was made possible by a deed signed by the President of Furukawa plantation corporation, Cenon Cervantes, assigning the property to the Southern Mindanao District Conference (SMDC) in trust for UCCP Davao. The Conference Moderator who co-signed the deed was Reverend Claudio P. Fajardo.”
Ms. Naraval continues, “Not long after, a property was acquired for the church along Bonifacio and Legaspi streets. The Americans put up a big tent exactly near the gate of the recently demolished church. For several months, we worshipped under this tent, but when it rained, the place was so muddy and uncomfortable for the worshippers.”
“Atty. Constancio B. Maglana, a young and energetic lieutenant, saw the need for a church building. With the help of his men, he dismantled some Japanese warehouses in Calinan and in no time a wooden church was erected. On July 14, 1946,” writes Ms. Naraval.