The Episcopal Cathedral of the Epiphany
Anglican Communion

The Union Church of Santo Domingo

Our History

On February 20, the first Episcopal (Anglican) Church in the Dominican Republic, Holy Trinity, in San Pedro de Macorís, is founded under the leadership of the Rev. Benjamin Isaac Wilson (in the jurisdiction of Bishop Holly of Haiti).  This is at the request of Anglicans from the British West Indies who moved here for agricultural work in the late 1800’s.  Services are held in Spanish as well as English.
Money is sent from the United States, and construction begins on a new site near the American Embassy, considered more convenient to military and business people, but less so for the West Indians settled near the center of the city.
Hurricane San Zenón destroys the new building one week before it is to be used for the first time, and the insurance money is used to build the present building on the site of the old factory.
The Episcopal Church diminishes during the rise of Trujillo, as American and British interests leave the country.  On July 26, the Rev. Charles Raymond Barnes, Vicar of Epiphany Church, is murdered by Trujillo’s men for writing and smuggling letters out of the country, describing the massacre of Haitians at the border, thus becoming the Martyr of the Dominican Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Barney Morgan, of the First Dominican Evangelical Church, begins work with English-speaking Protestants.
The Rev. Philip Wheaton, Vicar at Epiphany, begins work again in Spanish; later he is transferred to San Andrés. In subsequent years, Epiphany sponsors work and establishes congregations in Haina, La Romana and Puerto Plata.
On May 22, the Charter of the Community Church of Santo Domingo is signed with about 57 members.  The congregation meets at the chapel of the International Hospital, at the corner of Avenida México and Rosa Duarte, under the pastoral leadership of the Rev. Maurice Daily.  An attempt is made to unite work with Epiphany.
With changes in government here, and a consequent decrease of the English-speaking community, the Community Church becomes no longer self-supporting and seeks a more permanent base of support for growth.
The Community Church decides to share the Epiphany Church building and its pastor, but with separate worship services.
The Rt. Rev. Telésforo Isaac becomes the first Dominican Bishop of the Dominican Episcopal Church.
The decision is made for the Epiphany Episcopal and Community Churches to join for worship under the direction of the Vicar/Pastor, the Rev. Charles Ridge.  Spanish language services begin again for the Episcopal Church, and that congregation continues to grow over subsequent years.
The Community Church becomes the Union Church of Santo Domingo, “Union Church” being the common name used in other countries for interdenominational churches related with the National Council of Churches in the United States.
The Rt. Rev. Julio César Holguín becomes the second Dominican to be Bishop of the Dominican Episcopal Church.