Holy Trinity-St. Benedict’s Church, Alhambra, rededicated its chapel on Aug. 21. The structure, which dates to 1908, was partially destroyed by fire in June of 2021 (left) and has since been restored (right). Photos: Holy Trinity-St. Benedict’s Church

Bishop Brent Harry Alawas of the Episcopal Church in the Phillipines preaches at the rededication service on Aug. 20. Photo: Holy Trinity-St. Benedict’s Church

[The Episcopal News] Despite Hurricane Hilary’s torrential rains and wild winds, more than 100 parishioners gathered Sunday, August 20, 2023, to celebrate as the Most Rev. Brent Harry Alawas, current prime bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church in the Philippines, blessed the restored Holy Trinity-St. Benedict’s chapel in Alhambra.

“The chapel was the original church when it was built in the early part of 1908 during the episcopacy of the first diocesan, Bishop Joseph Horsfall Johnson,” and was partially destroyed by fire June 1, 2021, according to the Rev. Brent Quines, Jr., Holy Trinity-St. Benedict’s rector. The fire was believed to be caused by arson, although he has not received an official report from the city, he said.

“In spite of the rain, more than 116 people joined the celebration,” Quines told The Episcopal News. Alawas is visiting Southern California as part of an upcoming Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries gathering to be held Aug. 26-27 at Holy Family Church in San Jose, in the Diocese of El Camino Real. Alawas presided at the rededication on behalf of Los Angeles Bishop John Harvey Taylor, who was on vacation, Quines added.

“When the building we use now was built in 1962, we started having regular services there, and the chapel was used for meetings, small gatherings and special services,” he said.

The historic chapel at the Alhambra parish was seriously damaged in a June 2021 fire that may have been caused by arson. Photo: Holy Trinity-St. Benedict’s Church

“The celebration started at 11 a.m. as Bishop Alawas blessed the chapel and then returned to the main church building to celebrate the Holy Eucharist,” Quines said.

The restoration, including an air conditioning upgrade and installation of an iron fence around the chapel, began in the early part of 2022 and was completed earlier this year, he said.

Holy Trinity-St. Benedict is the only predominantly Filipino congregation in the Los Angeles diocese, Quines said. “Most of our members are scattered around Southern California, and they commute from as far away as Menifee, Victorville, Palm Springs, and Fontana,” he added.

The chapel will continue to be used for special gatherings, services and meetings.

The congregation will continue to use the restored chapel for special services. Photo: Holy Trinity-St. Benedict’s Church