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Sagada Centennial Wheel: The Legacy of the Anglican Mission

Learn about the significance of the Sagada Centennial Wheel and the lasting legacy of the Anglican Mission, spearheaded by Rev. Staunton, in Sagada.

Learn about the enduring legacy of the Anglican Mission in Sagada, driven by Rev. Staunton's leadership, and the significance of the Sagada Centennial Wheel.

On October 11, 2001, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines marked the first centenary of its mission work in Sagada, Mountain Province. At the heart of this commemoration lies a symbol of enduring faith and commitment: the Sagada wheel, a relic from a bygone era, now repurposed and placed at Saint Mary the Virgin Church to honor a century of holistic transformation.

The Holistic Missionary Approach

The early Anglican missionaries who arrived in the Philippines brought with them a vision that extended beyond the confines of religious conversion. They adopted a holistic approach to their mission work, seeking to uplift the economic and social conditions of the communities they served. This comprehensive strategy aimed not only to introduce "the faith once delivered to the Saints" but also to foster substantial improvements in the daily lives of the local people.

Community Development Initiatives

One of the leading advocates of this holistic approach was Rev. John Armitage Staunton, Jr. He envisioned Sagada as more than just a Christian community; he saw it as a beacon of modern civilization for other communities in the Cordillera region. To realize this vision, the missionaries established various institutions that addressed critical needs:

  • Education: Schools were set up to provide quality education and open up opportunities for the youth of Sagada.
  • Healthcare: Hospitals were built to ensure that the community had access to essential medical services.
  • Infrastructure: Projects such as a hydro-electric plant, printing press, telephone system, lime kiln, and sawmill were initiated to support the local economy and improve living standards.

These efforts collectively aimed to create a self-sustaining and progressive community, demonstrating the transformative power of faith when coupled with practical support.

The Centennial Wheel at Saint Mary the Virgin Church represents a century of the Anglican Mission in Sagada.

The Symbolism of the Wheel

The wheel used for the centennial marker at Saint Mary the Virgin Church has its own story to tell. Originally brought from the United States as part of the sawmill project, it was abandoned when the sawmill ceased operations. For nearly a century, it lay forgotten, a silent witness to the passage of time. However, for the centenary commemoration, this wheel was salvaged and repurposed as a marker, imbued with deep symbolic meaning.

The wheel represents the unceasing faith and dedication of the early missionaries. It embodies the spiritual and social transformation that has unfolded in Sagada and other parts of the Philippines over the past 100 years due to Anglican mission work. The phrase "Transformed by the Word, Transforming the World" perfectly captures this dual focus on spiritual renewal and societal change.

The inscription on the Sagada Centennial Marker, capturing a century of transformative legacy.

Inscription on the Sagada Centennial Marker

"Transformed by the Word, Transforming the World"

The first Anglican missionaries in the Philippines applied a holistic approach to their mission work. They introduced to their converts "the faith once delivered to the Saints" and established institutions to transform the economic and social life of the people they came to serve.

The Rev. John Armitage Staunton, Jr. was a leading advocate of this holistic approach to mission work. He envisioned Sagada not only as a Christian Community but also as a metropolis that would serve as a beacon to modern civilization for other communities in the Cordillera. Thus was established a school, hospital, hydro-electric plant, printing press, telephone system, lime kiln, sawmill, etc.

The wheel used for this centennial marker was brought from the United States to Sagada as part of the sawmill project. It was discarded when the sawmill stopped operating and has been lying on the ground for almost a century. This wheel was salvaged for this marker to symbolize the ever rolling faith and commitment of the early missionaries to make known Christ's salvation in the remotest parts of the Philippine archipelago. It also symbolizes the spiritual and social transformation that has taken place in Sagada and other parts of the Philippines in the past 100 years as a result of Anglican mission work.

Transformed by the word, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines rolls on to the next one hundred years of mission and ministry of transformation in this part of God's Vineyard.

First Centenary
EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE PHILIPPINES
11 October 2001
Sagada, Mountain Province
Philippines

The Impact on Language and Education

In the modern world, many attribute the proficiency in English among the older generation in Sagada to the influence of these early missionaries. Through the schools they established, English became a primary medium of instruction, providing the local population with valuable language skills that have been passed down through generations. This educational foundation not only enhanced communication but also opened up broader opportunities for economic and social advancement.

A Vision for the Future

As the Episcopal Church in the Philippines marked its first hundred years, it also cast its gaze forward. The centennial marker serves not only as a reminder of past achievements but also as an inspiration for future endeavors. The church remains committed to continuing its mission of transformation, aiming to impact even more lives in the years to come.

The wheel's journey from a discarded piece of machinery to a symbol of enduring faith underscores the church's mission: to keep rolling forward, driven by the Word, into the next century of service and transformation.

Saint Mary the Virgin Parish Church: Standing Tall as a Symbol of Faith and Community in Sagada.

The Ever-Rolling Legacy

The story of the Sagada wheel and the mission work it commemorates is a testament to the profound impact of a holistic approach to faith. By addressing both spiritual and material needs, the Anglican missionaries set a precedent for comprehensive community development. Their legacy continues to inspire and guide the Episcopal Church in the Philippines as it rolls on to the next hundred years of mission and ministry.

This centennial commemoration not only honors the past but also highlights the enduring legacy of faith and transformation that continues to shape the community of Sagada and beyond.


Curious about experiencing Sagada firsthand? Check out my exciting bike adventure video to witness the beauty and culture of this remarkable destination for yourself!


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