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May 4, 2010 > History: The Churches of Union City

History: The Churches of Union City

By Myrla Raymundo

Our Lady of the Rosary Church

The founding of Mission San Jose as the first Catholic outpost in Alameda County has been followed by the founding of other churches such as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Decoto.

In April 1907 the first mass was offered in Decoto in a hall located at 10th and I streets, owned by Albert Silva. On October 13, 1907, the first mass was offered in the new mission church at 13th and H Sts by Fr. Governo of Holy Ghost church in Centerville. The new church was dedicated to the Holy Rosary and was thusly named. It is now known as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and the canonical parish was given that name when Rev. Father Ralph Duggan became administrator in August 1950. He resided at the Parish house in Niles for a few weeks until he moved to establish residence at the rear of the church located at 13th and H Streets.

On October 17, 1952 the church was destroyed by fire and mass was offered in the recreation hall located at 6th and C Streets, which is used as the present church. In addition to the church, a school was purchased from the Decoto School District in 1953. It is located adjacent to the parish house and parish church. Rev. Thomas C. Reilly and Associate Rev. Ronald Burke took charge of Decoto church in 1956.

In the early history of the parish, Holy Ghost fiestas were held annually for a few years, after which they were dispensed with and the fiestas were combined with the Niles Parish.

St. Anne Catholic Parish

St. Anne is one of the largest parishes in the Oakland Diocese but it maintains a friendly, small-town atmosphere. St. Anne, located at Cabello Street and Dyer Road in Union City, was founded in 1860. The original church was built in the old Alvarado District (as the area was known before its charter as Union City.) The new St. Anne was built in l983. Union City is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in Northern California and St. Anne reflects this diversity. Families, friends, and visitors are welcome to celebrate in the Mass as well as participate in the many activities and parish organizations.

Rev. Geoffrey Baraan is the Pastor for St. Anne. Rev. Rick Boyle is the Parochial Vicar. Benigno Calub and Carlos Rabuy are the Deacons.

The Brown Temple Church of God in Christ, Inc.

Serenely situated in a very visible part of the Decoto District, the Brown Temple Church Of God In Christ, Inc. mightily stands waiting for its parishioners every Sunday. Amidst the frequent noise created by the BART train passing by every 15 to 20 minutes, the temple continues its spiritual guidance to its faithful parishioners.

Rev. David Joe Brown, Sr. is the pastor of the Brown Temple, which started in 1974. He and wife Queen Ester Brown came to Union City in 1970. The very first church, the Union City Mission Church of God in Christ was located at 3801 Smith St. in the Alvarado District. The Brown Temple is the first black Pentecostal church in Union City. The Brown Temple provides spiritual guidance to its parishioners, and to the community, which helps in the well being of residents.

The Union City Apostolic Church

The Union City Apostolic Church began in Russell City in 1957. From humble beginnings, having services in a private residence, the church occupied its first facility on the corner of 9th and E Streets in Decoto. The next facility was built in 1970 on the corner of 9th and F Streets, with an educational facility across the street built in 1976. Outgrowing its facilities, the church sold its properties on 9th and F Streets and finally settled into a brand new facility at its current location of 33700 Alvarado-Niles Road on the corner of Western and Alvarado-Niles Road in Union City.

Occupying approximately 27,000 square feet, the Union City Apostolic Church has an ethnically diverse membership of over 600 members. It is home to the Union City Christian Academy, a K-12 Christian school and Little People's Preschool/Daycare. The Church offers many ministries to serve the Tri-City Community.

Rev. Adam G. Lopez, Jr. has served as pastor of this church since 1967 and has directed its growth from 25 members to the present membership. Many members of the church are residents of Union City.

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