St. Mark’s UMC Welcomes Retired Bishop Wilbur Y. Choy

October 03, 2013

St. Mark's UMC Stockton welcomed Bishop Wilbur Y. Choy, the first Asian Bishop of our denomination, along with former pastors the Rev. Leo Fong, and Dr. Gaye Benson as worship leaders with current pastor, Lauren Chaffee, on September 22. The worship service launched a day of celebration and reunion for the Chinese community organized by the Chinese Benevolent Association of Stockton. The festivities continued following worship at the Confucius Church in the area once known as Chinatown. It sits next to the former Chinese Christian Center (Methodist), which merged in 1954 with the Clay Street Methodist Church to form St. Mark’s UMC under Wilbur Choy’s pastoral leadership. Ceremonies included the dedication of the renovated Chinese Christian Center (formerly the Chinese Methodist Episcopal Church) as the new Dr.George H.Colliver Building. It was Dr. Colliver’s vision, spirit and tireless effort that led to the creation of “clubs” for Chinese youth in the 1930’s, teaching both faith and practical skills to them. These clubs were the core of our earliest Methodist ministry in Chinatown, carried on by Pastors Wilbur Choy, Leo Fong and others since then. Individuals and families from the Stockton Chinese community and beyond connected with one another, enjoyed great food, a Lion Dance, and other special entertainment as they shared their memories and dreamed of their future together.