Segovia, Agripino Cania (1924–2015)

By Rico Taga Javien

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Rico Taga Javien

Agripino Segovia was a minister, educator, and Adventist leader who was originally from the Philippines.

Early Life

Agripino Segovia1 was born June 23, 1924, to Filemon Villaver Segovia and Rufina L. Cania Segovia in Glan, South Cotabato, Mindanao. He had a sister and a brother: Generosa and Proceso. The Segovia family was very poor and had to live a nomadic life for several years. The growing boy was deprived and destitute. The family wanderings brought them to the Central Philippines, particularly in Cebu and Leyte, to seek job opportunities. However, the family had to retrace their footsteps back to Mindanao and landed in Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Norte. In 1938, the Segovia family decided to return to Midsayap, North Cotabato, not far from Agripino’s birthplace.

The Segovia family was devout Roman Catholic. Bernandino Ramas and his family were influential in the conversion of the Segovia family to the Adventist faith. Ramas’ family provided the Segovias with a warm and hospitable place to stay while the latter was on a journey from Cotabato to Davao. Feeling the warmth and acceptance of the Adventist community, the Segovias stayed for some time. Brothers Pio Adlawon and Vicente Abella gave the family regular Bible studies, and in March 1940, the Segovias embraced the Adventist faith through baptism. Pastor W. F. Riffle, an American minister, administered the family’s baptism. Filemon Segovia became a colporteur.2

Education and Marriage

A. Segovia studied his elementary education in Malangas Primary School, Zamboanga del Sur. He finished this in Margosatubig, Zamboanga Del Norte in 1938. When World War II broke out, his education was interrupted for seven years. During the war, he worked with the Americans as a laundryman. After the war, he resumed his studies at Southern Christian Institute, Pagadian, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines, and Maguindanao Institute, Cotabato, Philippines, where he graduated in 1947 at the age of 23.3 As an Adventist, he was hungry and thirsty for an Adventist Christian education. Finally, the day came when he entered Mindanao Mission Academy (MMA) in Manticao, Misamis Oriental, as a working student. At MMA, Segovia’s skills and talents as a future minister were enhanced. He soon became the editor of The Mindanao Voice.4

MMA, in partnership with the Philippine Union College or PUC (now Adventist University of the Philippines [AUP]), also provided him an associate degree by taking a Bible instructor course leading to the completion of the degree Bachelor of Arts majoring in hand philosophy. He graduated in 1953 as the class president. After working in various departments in the organization, Segovia went to finish his Master of Arts and graduated in 1965 at PUC-AUP. He also finished his PhD degree at the University of Iowa, United States of America, in 1973.5

On May 20, 1953, Segovia married Ana Brilliantes Chan. Chan was Segovia’s college sweetheart and belonged to the same graduating class as he did, and she was the class treasurer. They had four children. Ana died of cancer in November 1972. Two years later, Segovia remarried Elvira Balan Camarce on April 7, 1974, who was the current executive secretary of Gordon Bullock, treasurer of the North Philippine Union Mission. The couple did not have any children.6

Ministry

Segovia started his denominational work in 1953 as a district pastor in Zamboanga, Mindanao.7 In 1955, he was transferred to East Visayan Mission (EVM) territory in the Visayas.8 Aside from pastoring church districts, he was also called as the preceptor and Bible and History teacher of East Visayan Academy (now Adventist Academy Cebu), Bulacao, Talisay, Cebu, Philippines in 1957.9 Eventually, he became the school principal in 1959.10, 11

In 1958, Segovia was ordained to the ministry.12 Three years later, he was appointed as the educational director at EVM.13 In 1962, he was called to serve as the principal of West Visayan Academy, Pototan, Iloilo, Philippines.14 After that, he accepted the education directorship in the Central Philippine Union Mission CPUM) in 1966.15 His passion for education and training brought him a year later to Mountain View College (MVC), Bukidnon, Philippines, as the academic dean in 1967 and acting college president in 1968.16 He was the first Filipino to hold the college presidency position at MVC.17 In 1969, the Far Eastern Division (FED) leaders, headed by Pastor H. W. Bedwell, came to MVC for the formal appointment of A. Segovia as the college president.18, 19, 20

As the college leader, he was invited to speak at several engagements in various schools and churches in the Philippine archipelago. He spoke words of encouragement to young people to dedicate their lives to the mission work. Sometimes he served as the speaker for the consecration ceremony21 and commencement exercises.22, 23

In 1970, he and his family left for the United States of America to pursue his doctorate at the University of Iowa.24 He successfully defended his dissertation on “An Investigation of the Faculty and Administrators' Perceptions of the Faculty’s Involvement in Institutional Governance in Selected Seventh-day Adventist Colleges in the United States and the Philippines: A Cross-cultural Study” in 1974.25 After his graduation, the Segovias returned to the Philippines, and he resumed working as the college president. He welcomed Rebecca Iyo, the 1000th student studying at MVC. That year, 1974, was one of the brightest years for MVC since it was the first time since its establishment that the enrollees reached this number.26

In 1976, Segovia was called to serve FED-Singapore (now Southern-Asia Pacific Division) as the associate education director of O. C. Edwards, the first Filipino to hold such an office until 1980. He was actively involved in the different educational activities happening in the Missions under the territory of FED such as the Bible textbook conference of the five world divisions27 and superintendents’ council on January 23-26, 1978. He visited Kuching, Sarawak Mission, with Dr. Bissell to conduct an annual educational superintendents’ council. The superintendents from Thailand, West Malaysia, Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak Mission learned how they could help solve many educational problems. Also, they were taught how to evaluate the primary and lower secondary education and the teachers’ performance. Moreover, policies in teachers’ wage scale and certification were ratified while several recommendations were done for the Union executives and Annual Committees to discuss and consider. There were discussions of the various education problems among the Missions that helped the participants gain insights on how to deal with them in their fields.28

In 1980, he was elected as the executive secretary of FED Singapore29, the first Asian to hold such an administrative position. In 1981, Segovia shared his “Filipino Dream” to establish a medical school at PUC.30 This dream was shared by other interested leaders before and during his leadership in FED. A proposition was presented during the FED midyear committee meeting on May 19, 1981, in Singapore. This occasion allowed him to become better known by other leaders, and it led him to his next higher calling in 1982.

Segovia’s training and experiences complimented his calling to serve as the associate education director of the General Conference from March 1982 to June 1995.31 Again, he was the first Filipino to hold this administrative function in the General Conference (GC). As a minister and educator, he emphasized that “If evangelism is not an important goal of our educational system, our schools should not be called Christian schools.”32 He retired from denominational service in 1995.33

Later Life

Agripino Segovia served the Adventist denomination for 42 years. However, he never stopped serving the Church during his retirement. He served as the pastor of the Filipino Capitol Seventh-day Adventist Church in Maryland from 1995-2000.34 On October 25, 2015, Dr. Everet W. Witzel handed A. Segovia a souvenir booklet of the inauguration of AUP’s College of Medicine, proof of the realization of the long-time Filipino dream he shared with many international leaders.35 He rested on December 11, 2015, at Redlands, California, U.S.A.36 His fruitful and exceptional service to the Church in various capacities may have come to a halt, but his legacy will never be forgotten.

Contribution

Segovia was gifted in pastoral and educational leadership. He held several significant positions in the denominational work both in the Philippines and abroad. He served as district pastor, teacher, education superintendent, academy principal, college president, FED executive secretary, and associate education director at the GC. He was also among the leaders who established an Adventist Medical School in PUC, which came into being in 2015. His talents and abilities, combined with his passion to serve his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, contributed to the growth and development of the mission of the Adventist Church both in areas of education and ministry in the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States.

Sources

Arogante, F. M. “Mountain View College Annual Board Meeting.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, July 1969.

Arogante, F. M. “West Visayan Academy Graduates Large Class.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, July 1969

Balintawak Memoirs. The official publication of Student Association of Philippine Union College, 1951.

“Doctoral Dissertation.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1974.

“Five World Divisions Represented at Bible Textbook Conference.” Southern Asia Tidings, January 1978.

Mary, B. G. “Changes in Leadership.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, September 1959.

“Mission 73 is for You.” Pacific Union Recorder, August 20, 1973.

“NPUM News Notes.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1972.

Obregon, J. R. “East Visayan Academy Graduates Forty-Two Students.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June 1970.

Pauner, G. “Educational Superintendents’ Council.” The Messenger, March-April 1978.

Reyes, H. L. Breaking Through: Why the Seventh-day Adventist Church Has Grown to Be the Largest Protestant Church in the Philippines. Quezon City, Phil: Kaunlaran Trading and Printing, 1981.

Salvador, A. C. “Philippine Union College Graduates.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June 1970.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association. Various years. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Segovia, A. C. SOAR: From Glan to Maryland. Victoria, Canada: Friesen Press, 2014.

Segovia, A. C. “Evangelistic Dimensions in Adventist Education.” Ministry, June 1990.

“Top Enrollment at MVC Cramps Living Quarters.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, October 1974.

Whaley, W. S. “Adventist Missionary College Report.” Advent Messenger, March 1, 1983.

Notes

  1. A. C. Segovia, SOAR: From Glan to Maryland (Victoria, Canada: Friesen Press, 2014).

  2. Ibid.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Balintawak Memoirs, The official publication of Student Association of Philippine Union College, 1951, 63.

  5. Segovia, SOAR.

  6. Ibid.

  7. SDA Yearbook, 1954, 123.

  8. B. G. Mary, “Changes in Leadership.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, September 1959, 8.

  9. SDA Yearbook, 1958, 217.

  10. Mary. “Changes in Leadership.”

  11. SDA Yearbook, 1960, 230.

  12. Segovia, SOAR.

  13. SDA Yearbook, 1962, 117

  14. SDA Yearbook, 1963, 319.

  15. SDA Yearbook, 1967, 117.

  16. SDA Yearbook, 1968, 336.

  17. Segovia, SOAR.

  18. F. M. Arogante, “Mountain View College Annual Board Meeting.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, July 1969, 15-16.

  19. SDA Yearbook, 1970, 346.

  20. “Mission 73 is for You,” Pacific Union Recorder, August 20, 1973, 1.

  21. J. R. Obregon, “East Visayan Academy Graduates Forty-Two Students,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June 1970, 13.

  22. F. M. Arogante, “West Visayan Academy Graduates Large Class,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, July 1969, 8.

  23. A. C. Salvador, “Philippine Union College Graduates,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June 1970, 12.

  24. “NPUM News Notes,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1972, 6.

  25. “Doctoral Dissertation,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1974, 5.

  26. “Top Enrollment at MVC Cramps Living Quarters,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, October 1974, 11.

  27. “Five World Divisions Represented at Bible Textbook Conference,” Southern Asia Tidings, January 1978, 2.

  28. G. Pauner, Educational Superintendents’ Council.” The Messenger, March-April 1978, 5.

  29. Herman L. Reyes, Breaking Through: Why the Seventh-day Adventist Church Has Grown to Be the Largest Protestant Church in the Philippines. Quezon City, Phil: Kaunlaran Trading and Printing, 1981, 63.

  30. Everet W. Witzel. “Memorial Tribute,” accessed June 22, 2021, http://filadnet.blogspot.com/2015/12/.

  31. W. S. Whaley. “Adventist Missionary College Report,” Advent Messenger, March 1, 1983, 3.

  32. Agripino C. Segovia, “Evangelistic Dimensions in Adventist Education,” Ministry, June 1990, 9-11.

  33. “Tribute Video: Agripino Segovia.”

  34. Segovia. SOAR.

  35. Everet W. Witzel. “Memorial Tribute.”

  36. “Tribute Video: Agripino Segovia.”

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Javien, Rico Taga. "Segovia, Agripino Cania (1924–2015)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 12, 2021. Accessed September 23, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=IATA.

Javien, Rico Taga. "Segovia, Agripino Cania (1924–2015)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 12, 2021. Date of access September 23, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=IATA.

Javien, Rico Taga (2021, July 12). Segovia, Agripino Cania (1924–2015). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved September 23, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=IATA.