GREETING WITH HOPE
Countless praise and thanksgiving we offer to our God Almighty through our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us NEW LIFE and NEW HOPE in the midst of pain and suffering. Yes, if we are in Jesus Christ all things would be possible to them who put his trust on Him. Most of the time the process of change would be painful just like the transformation of the ugly cocoon into a beautiful butterfly. But once we have overcome the difficult stages of change, the rays of HOPE, which come from God, would dawn on us.
GLIMPSES OF HOPE
For the last seven months, the Office of the Bishop of the Manila Episcopal Area (MEA) together with its District Superintendents, staff, and volunteer lay and clergy, had tread the paths of transforming the visions that I reported in the February 2009 Coordinating Council Meeting into reality. The Comprehensive Church Action Programs and Projects (CCAPP) which has been my ministerial life slogan and banner and guided by UMC’s Four Areas of Focus: Leadership Development, Church Growth, Ministry with the Poor, and Global Health, we at MEA did our best to integrate it in our multifarious ministries from the Annual Conferences, Districts, Local Churches down to the grassroots and with the help and support of some UMC agencies and institutions.
I. On Leadership Development. Developing Principled Christian Leaders for the Church and the World.
The following were the programs and activities implemented by MEA under this focus ministry:
A. STRATEGIC PLANNING – WORKSHOP
Since the overarching goal of MEA is to develop principled Christian leaders, MEA conducted a Strategic Planning Workshop last June 11-13, 2009 at Tagaytay Mission Camp and Conference Center. 27 District Superintendents (DS Joel A. Capulong – Laguna District, DS William A. Umipig – Quezon District; DS Glorioso T. Baluntong – Occidental Mindoro District, DS Nehemia P. Allera – Oriental Mindoro/Romblon District; DS Roger A. Marquez – North Palawan District, DS Norberto S. Saranilla – Central Palawan District, DS Rodolfo G. Gentalian – South Palawan District; DS Crisolito D. Mendoza – North Bulacan District, DS Ismael M. Sarangaya – South Bulacan District, DS Benito Orbe – East Bulacan District, DS Emiliano Macarasig – West Bulacan District; DS Arturo Andres L. Bautista, Jr. – Northwest Quezon City District, DS Hilario C. Carolino – Southwest Quezon City District; DS Zosimo T. Mabuti – Rizal District, DS Alvin Alcantara – Metro District; DS Deogracias A. Cruz, Jr. – West Pampanga District, DS Reynaldo M. Calalang – East Pampanga District; DS Allan Casuco – Northwest Metro-Manila District, DS Johann M. Osias – Southwest Metro-Manila District; DS Dominador A. Valencia – Bataan District, DS Victor Violenta, Jr. – Zambales District; DS Numeriano C. Lasco – South Nueva Ecija District, DS Benedicto M. Dulay – Central Nueva Ecija District, DS Apolinario V. Cunanan – North Nueva Ecija District, DS Joey L. Lapitan – Aurora Mission District; DS Arestedes C. Balatan – Northeast Cavite District and DS Magusig Manalo, Jr. – Southwest Cavite) from the 11 MEA Annual Conferences (Southern Tagalog Provisional PACE, Southwest PAC, Palawan PAC, Bulacan PAC, Quezon City PACE, Rizal PACE, Pampanga PAC, Philippines Annual Conference, West Middle PAC, Middle PAC and PAC Cavite), 9 Conference Lay Leaders, 9 AC BOOM Chairpersons, 7 CODS Chairpersons, and 13 representatives coming from the UMC agencies and institutions, including Rev. Jeremiah Gabriel of BulPAC as Facilitator and 2 Documentors attended the Strategic Planning – Workshop. The goal was to help create cohesive and well-coordinated plans among the Annual Conferences, Districts, Local Churches, UMC agencies and institutions within MEA. A handbook on Strategic Planning – Workshop was produced to serve as guide for District Superintendents, Clergy and Lay who will provide information on how to conduct a Strategic Planning Workshop in their respective areas of ministry.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our brothers and sisters in Christ, including a Korean Pastor and friend, some of our agencies and institutions, who provided financial and heartfelt support to make this Strategic Planning – Workshop a reality. We were able to solicit funds in the amount of P74,000.00.
The same Strategic Planning-Workshop was echoed in the following Annual Conferences:
1. Palawan PAC (North Palawan District)- held on July 3-4, 2009 at San Manuel UMC, Puerto Princesa City with more than 30 participants coming from clergy, deaconesses and lay.
2. Pampanga PAC (East Pampanga District) – held on July 4, 2009 at Galilee United Methodist Church in Pampanga.
3. PAC-Cavite – held at the Church By The Highway UMC last July 4, 2009 and attended by key Church Leaders from the 2 Districts and Local Churches.
The statement and core values were circulated to all Local Churches of the district for information and adoption. This will help us travel with new hope and sense of direction in accomplishing the mandate of Christ to go and make disciples of all nation for the transformation of the world. As stated in Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) – “For without vision people perish . . .” from NIV and NLT – “where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint. . .”; “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild . . .” We as a district was inspired by the clear guidance and passion for mission of our beloved Bishop Lito Tangonan. We believe that if we will join hands together with love, unity and commitment in facing greater challenges ahead of us and will have a clear vision and mission, this district will truly make a great difference and impact not only in Cavite but also even beyond. The Southwest Cavite District of the PACC has also adopted the eleven goals of MEA for this quadrennium and we have come up with a program thrust for our district. This was approved during the first District Conference held last July 4, 2009 at CBTH UMC, which was attended by the key leaders of all Local Churches of the district. We have come up with a four-fold program emphasis: (Acronym of Southwest Cavite District – SWCD)
- Strengthening Clergy and Lay leadership (Goals 1, 2 & 3)
- Winning souls for Christ (Goals 4 & 7)
- Caring for the needy (Goals 5, 6, 8, 9& 11)
- Developing ministry facilities (Goal 10)
4. Quezon City PACE – held on July 30, 2009 held at Village UMC, No. 12 Pugad Lawin Drive, Project 8, Quezon City with 30 participants. Quezon City PACE said that they would be the lead Annual Conference in this undertaking.
5. Bulacan PAC – held on August 9, 2009 at Seed of Faith UMC, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, while the District (4th District of Bulacan PAC) Strategic Planning – Workshop was held last July 18, 2009 at Bethany UMC. Bulacan PAC on the other hand said they would be the model Annual Conference.
6. Middle PAC – held on August 9, 2009 at Wesleyan 3rd UMC with 45 workers.
Future Schedules for echoing the Strategic Planning:
1. West Middle PAC – Zambales District originally set this on August 14-15, 2009 with Rev. Jeremiah Gabriel as Facilitator, but due to the recent floods, it was postponed indefinitely.
2. PAC – on September 12-26, 2009
3. Southern Tagalog Provisional PACE – on October 2-3, 2009 at Jesus Reigns UMC, Pila, Laguna.
4. Rizal PACE – on October 2009
5. Southwest PAC – on October 29-31, 2009
The MEA Strategic Planning – Workshop came up with Our Unifying VISION STATEMENT, Our MISSION STATEMENT, Our CORE VALUES, 11 STRATEGIC GOALS and STRATEGIC CONCEPTUAL PLAN (2009-2012). Please see ANNEX A.
B. WRITER’S WORKSHOP
To support the communication needs and skills of the church leaders especially in the Annual Conferences, the Manila Episcopal Area conducted a Writer’s Workshop last July 18-20, 2009 at Tagaytay Mission Camp with the National Innovative Ministries Partnership Program (NIMPP) as Co-Sponsor. Due to budget constraints, the participants were reduced from 30 to 17 Clergy, Deaconesses, Lay, Youth, and Staff. Mr. Fort Nicolas, the Editor of MEALAB, facilitated the workshop, aside from dealing with news writing, feature writing and editing. The participants said they were initially apprehensive in attending the Writer’s Workshop because it entails writing exercises. But at the end of the Writer’s Workshop, they felt thankful they attended as they learned so much from it. They promised to be regular Contributors to MEALAB. Some of the results of the Writer’s Workshop were published in MEALAB, which we timed for release during this meeting of the Coordinating Council Meeting.
C. MEALAB (Manila Episcopal Area: Alay-Liwanag, Alay-Buhay para sa Iglesia at Sambayanan)
This Newsletter is the Official Publication of the Manila Episcopal Area. The maiden issue was sent out last April 6, 2009 during the launching of the Moral Force at Central United Methodist Church. 2,000 copies of this issue were printed and circulated. The 2nd issue, which you may be holding right now, features the results of the MEA Strategic Planning – Workshop. Church Leaders who attended the Writer’s Workshop held last July 18-20, 2009 are trying to be regular Contributors of the newsletter.
D. LAUNCHING OF THE MEA MORAL FORCE
The MEA Moral Force was launched last April 6, 2009 at the Central United Methodist Church. The activity gathered around 600 people from all walks of life — Bishops, District Superintendents, Clergy, Deaconesses, Lay People (Women, Men, and Youth), ecumenical friends and partners here and abroad. Our ecumenical friends gave their solidarity messages in the name of the institutions they represent, namely, the NCCP, the PCEC, the CBCP-NASSA, the PBS, etc. The affair received a live coverage from mainstream media. The Hon. Reynato S. Puno, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, delivered the keynote address, focusing his speech on John Wesley as a transformational leader.
E. NATIONAL INNOVATIVE MINISTRIES PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM (NIMPP) Lay/Workers’ Continuing Education
1. Lay and Clergy Partnership Training was held at Wesley UMC in Olongapo City on April 14-16, 2009 and was attended by 36 participants from different churches of Zambales District in partnership with KKFI. Topics on Organizing, participatory project management, and program planning were discussed.
2. Church Women Workers’ Formation Program was held at the Hesed House IRC, Muntinlupa – 35 women (clergywomen, deaconesses, and WSCS leaders) attended the Women’s Orientation Program using the module of IRC and the Board of Women’s Work. Participants from the Southern Tagalog Provisional Philippines Annual Conference East (STPPACE) and SWPAC produced district action plans after a 3-day training jointly sponsored by MEA-IMPP, IRC, BWW, GBGM Regional Office and Southwest PAC Committee on the Role and Status of Women.
II. Church Growth. New Places for New People and Renewing Existing Congregations.
In my CoCo report last February 2009, I shared some notes on MEA Annual Conferences like Pampanga PAC, West Middle PAC, Rizal PACE, Bulacan PAC, Quezon City PACE, PAC and Middle PAC that adopted and had supported modest Annual Conferences and Mission Churches in Palawan, Calamianes group of Islands, STPPACE, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Batangas, and Aurora Mission District. Their financial support and human resources had helped strengthen our ministries in these areas. Again, in the recently concluded Annual Conferences held last February until May, Church Growth and expansion of MEA are continuing in full swing.
A. CREATION AND ORGANIZATION of New Districts, Local Churches and Congregations – Support and Adoption:
1. West Middle PAC
* West Middle PAC, during its Annual Conference session held last May 20-23, 2009, decided to make further study on the possibility of Bataan District dividing into 2 Districts in the future.
* Zambales District might also become 2 Districts in the future in preparation for their vision to become a Regular Annual Conference. If this will be realized, West Middle PAC will indeed become two Regular Annual Conferences by next quadrennium. At present there are 24 new mission areas and 5 worshipping congregations in the District of Zambales.
2. Middle PAC
* The possibility of making Maria Aurora Mission District a Provisional Annual Conference is under study. The South Nueva Ecija District would like also to become a Regular Annual Conference and same is true with the North Nueva Ecija District. That means that there is a possibility that Middle PAC will become four Annual Conferences in the future.
3. PAC- Cavite
* The newly organized Christian Fellowship of Cavite Province shall be named The Cavite Ecumenical Movement.
* PAC-Cavite adopted the Municipality of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro as its Mission Area. Our missionaries identified the need to equip and train our Lay People in Oriental Mindoro for Lay Leadership. We plan to extend “Trainers’ Institute of Southwest Cavite District (TISCAD) to facilitate these training needs.
4. BULPAC Support to STPPACE
* East Bulacan District pledged to adopt 6 Municipalities and a city in Quezon, namely, Tiaong, Candelaria, Sariaya, Lukban, Pagbilao, and Lucena City with the following commitments:
- Supporting the above City and Municipalities with Workers, finances, and accommodation.
- Monthly rental of the house to be used for DS Office, Workers’ dwelling, and eventually District Parsonage.
A. Other districts of Bulacan PAC have pledged support to the mission work in the Quezon District.
B. Effectivity of said commitment is pending upon further study of the same by the officers of the other districts of Bulacan PAC.
C. Municipalities of Quezon provinces shall be assigned to the different districts of Bulacan PAC for placement and support.
During the last term of DS Ruby-Nell Estrella, the Dubai Mission of Knox UMC was recognized as a Regular Local Church. We praise and thank God for the founding of the First UMC of Dubai in the Middle East.
Northwest Metro-Manila District, in cooperation with Oriental Mindoro/Romblon District, launched its mission initiative last May 18-20, 2009 through its Mission Task Force headed by Mrs. Luz Makil. The mission program included a visit to Calapan Mayor, Atty. Doy Leachon. DS Allan Casuco and DS Nehemiah Allera presented a Bible as gift for the mayor. A Bible Study and an evangelistic night were held and 44 persons accepted Jesus Christ.
In a span of 5 months MEA has organized 7 New Local Churches as follows:
1. Franville UMC – Quezon City PACE
2. The Resurrection UMC –Pampanga PAC
3. Tabernacle UMC – Pampanga PAC
4. Camachile UMC – Pampanga PAC
5. Coastal Bay UMC – PAC-Cavite
6. The Good Shepherd UMC – West Middle PAC
7. First UMC Dubai, United Arab Emirates – PAC
B. EPISCOPAL VISITS
Episcopal Visits were conducted in the following areas:
1. PAC Northwest Metro-Manila District was done last July 28, 2009 with DS Allan Casuco and Rev. Roger Olermo and some Clergy and members of the Northwest Metro-Manila District. The following Local Churches and Mission Areas were visited respectively: Redeem UMC, Full Grace UMC, Lake View UMC, Sto. Tomas UMC Mission and Cuenca Mission in Batangas.
2. PAC South West Metro-Manila District visited 3 Regular Churches in Batangas last August 13, 2009 namely: Higher Ground UMC, Faith UMC and Knox-Crossville UMC in Batangas. A newly organized Mission Point in Barangay Pulang-Bato, San Juan, Batangas were also visited through the leadership of Rev. Rene Ramos of Knox-Crossvile UMC where 120-150 worshippers gathered every weekend. SWMMD continues to expand its mission work in Batangas, with the ongoing activities in the towns of Padre Garcia, San Pascual and Mabini. Together with the group were DS Johann M. Osias, Rev. Romeo Miguel and Rev. David Pateña.
3. PAC-Cavite. Out of 32 Local Churches in Cavite, 28 were visited last July 30-31, 2009. 16 Local Churches of South West Cavite District and 12 Local Churches from North East Cavite District were visited too. Tahanan Ground Breaking Ceremony for Naic UMC for the new Church building construction was also done. Together with the group were DS Magusig Manalo, DS Arestedes Balatan and some Clergy and members of the two Districts of PAC-Cavite.
4. Southern Tagalog Provisional PACE. An Episcopal visit was held from August 10-12, 2009 in the newly created district of STPPACE, Quezon District, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. William A. Umipig as the DS and Rev. Joe Vicente as the Supervising Elder. DS Benito Orbe of East Bulacan District, being among the Sponsors of BULPAC, joined the visit with his pastors, Revs. Marinel Laderas, Sonny San Pedro, Elino Rivera, and Dominador Guevara, and a youth son of DS Orbe, Albert John Orbe. DS Joel Capulong of Laguna District (STPPACE) and DS Zosimo Mabuti of Rizal District (RPACE) also joined the visit. The group was welcomed by the governor of Quezon, the Hon. Raffy P. Nantes. We also visited a House prospect for our District Office and Headquarters in Quezon located at Pleasantville Subdivision, owned by a Methodist family living in Albano, Isabela. The group proceeded then to Southeastern part of the Quezon District. Churches and places visited in these areas were Tinambulan in Calauag, Lopez, Gumaca and Atimonan UMC’s, respectively.
C. FIRST AREA WIDE CONVENTION of Preachers’ and Deaconess’ Kids
The first MEA Wide Convention of Workers’ Kids was held last April 5-6, 2009 at Tagaytay Mission Camp and Conference Center. The convention had gathered the children and grandchildren of Pastors and Deaconesses for fellowship and program planning. The PKs would be the extension of their parent’s ministries. Ms. Riva Tabelisma, PK Vice-President for MEA led the gathering.
III. Ministry with the Poor. Engaging in Ministry with the Poor.
A. Launching of Barangay Empowerment for Spiritual and Socio-economic Transformation (BESST) Mission Team (Day Care/Livelihood Project as reported in the CoCo meeting last Feb).
BESST was launched last July 6, 2009 at the MEA Office. A group of 4 women composed of 2 former Deaconesses (Mrs. Jeanette Nacpil and Mrs. Teresita Marmol,) and 2 laywomen (Ms. Marilyn Austria and Mrs. Leilani Sagun) formed a mission team to reach out and help our brothers and sisters especially in the indigent communities belonging to the annual conferences of MEA. They will start their mission work by conducting environmental scanning at Bongabong, Mindoro on August 21, 2009. The group initially forged a partnership with the Northwest District of PAC through DS Allan Casuco. They will conduct Medical/Dental Mission in Calapan and Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro on October 22-24, 2009.
B. Emergency Relief Operations
The recent typhoons and monsoon rains brought flooding to particular areas in Pangasinan and Zambales. With the help of our Annual Conferences, through their respective District Superintendents and some members of their local churches, and also with the assistance of Asuncion A. Perez Memorial Center Inc. (AAPMCI), the Office of the Bishop of MEA distributed relief goods to areas in Anda, Pangasinan
severely affected by the typhoon. In the presence of a District Superintendent of Pangasinan PAC of BEA, together with their Lay Leader, Mr. Art Millan, and some faithful members, Annual Conferences of MEA gave approximately more than P20,000.00 cash for the repair of the District Parsonage and Asbury College and thousands worth of rice, groceries and bags of used clothing.
Again last week, typhoon Kiko battered Zambales with strong rains and flooded 10 Barangays of Botolan, Zambales where Carael UMC is. UMCOR, through its Executive Director Ciony Eduarte, Rev. Victor Violenta, our District Superintendent in Zambales District, the members of MEA Disaster Preparedness Committee, Rev. Noel Santiago, Merlyn Sebastian of AAPMCI, the KKFI staff, together with our Clergy and faithful Church members distributed emergency relief goods to Barangays Carael, Bucao Elementary School, Porac Elementary School and Ramon Magsaysay Technological University Branch in Porac, Botolan, Zambales. Yesterday, the Church By The Highway UMC and its Christian Values School led by DS Magusig Manalo conducted also Relief Operation there. Last August 3, 2009, Tangos UMC was razed to the ground by fire due to faulty electrical wiring. The Office of the Bishop sent a circular letter requesting all our constituents to make a special offering for the reconstruction of Tangos UMC, and to gather relief goods for the victims of flooding in Zambales. It also encouraged all Local Churches to insure their church buildings. Most of our Churches responded to the requests. A MEA Cabinet Expanded Relief Operation for Zambales is scheduled for August 30-31, 2009.
We are grateful to UMCOR International for holding a timely Training/Consultation on Disaster Response last July 21-24, 2009 at Tagaytay Mission Camp and Conference Center. The training has helped our Clergy and Lay in honing their skills in responding immediately to calamities.
As reported in the last CoCo meeting, MEA will be instituting Kamalig through the assistance of Ms. Merlyn Sebastian of AAPMCI to all its Annual Conferences for the year-round collection of relief goods. Last April 18, 2009 Kamalig was launched at the women’s property in J. Bocobo, Malate, Manila. Our women’s organization had brought relief goods in preparation for any disaster that will hit the country. The visibility of AAPMCI, one of the UMC agencies for social concerns, not only during times of calamity but also in giving support to our less fortunate brothers and sisters has strengthen our social services and ministry to the poor.
D. PAC-Cavite: Support our Coop and Foundation.
The PAC-Cavite Cooperative called “Gintong Kinabukasan na may Pag-Asa” aims to ease poverty and meet the financial needs of the members of the PAC-Cavite. The 2nd General Assembly will be held this coming August 21, 2009 at Pala-pala UMC in Cavite. The PAC-Cavite BOT Chairman, Engr. Emil Bosita had initiated some programs towards the fulfillment of its goal.
E. MEA- Innovative Ministries Partnership Program
1. Ministry with the Indigenous People (IPs)
Pampanga PAC and West Middle PAC have a unique Christian ministry with the indigenous people, particularly with the Aeta communities in Pampanga, Zambales, and Bataan. The candidates for the ministry and Deaconess Service from the Aeta community are growing. After graduation, these candidates plan to return to their own community and make disciples from among their own brothers and sisters. The Rev. Elmer Victoria, the first Aeta Pastor who graduated last April 2009 from UTS with honors and with Masteral Degree now served as the Assistant Director at the Immanuel Bible School (IBS) in Tarlac. The Aeta dream is to be able to establish more Aeta Local Churches that will later constitute an Aeta District in the near future. With the help and support of IBS and in coordination with MEA-IMPP, their respective District Superintendents, and other Church Workers and Lay, their dream is bound to come true in the not so distant future.
The literacy sponsorship program for Aetas and other IPs in the MEA continues to gain support from individuals and friends of IPs. On the 3rd year of the program 206 aeta children and youth are enrolled in the elementary, high school and college levels through the leadership of PIM Rev. Leslie Dela Cruz. Out of the 206, 4 are in pre-theological and one is in HMC. For the first time, 4 Dumagat youth were able to enroll in the education course of HMC. Five (5) Mangyans were also given high school tuition fee assistance. To date, the MEA-IMPP and MEA PIM for Aetas have received and distributed the cash amount of P 60,950.00 and in-kinds amounting to P81,696.25 from individual supporters and the Mariam Spottswood Scholarship Foundation.
2. Ministry to OFWs
With the use of e-mails and signature campaigns, another OFW- Cecilia Alcaraz was saved from capital punishment by firing squad in Taiwan. Even the President of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Women, Dr. Chita Millan, had helped by writing to international church leaders like the Bishop in Taiwan. The sentence was commuted from death to life.
We appealed to the DFA the case of another OFW, Ms. Balleseros, from Isabela who was sold by her employer to another employer in Riyadh. After one and a half months she was able to return home and joined her family.
We are still working on the cases of Resley Palisoc, OFW in Singapore. Palisoc was not allowed to eat on time, go out, and communicate with relatives. She was also not given the agreed upon wages, and the Agency holding her contract was asking her a large amount to be able to get home to the Philippines.
Ellen Gascon Taborno in Singapore has a similar problem – she is being denied her right to go home unless she pays a big amount.
Sheryl Abad Pascasio, a member of the UMC, was referred to the MEA-IMPP with a request to be helped to get home to the Philippines. Her employer in Singapore was allegedly starving her.
IV. Global Health. Stamping Out Killer Diseases of Poverty by Improving Health Globally
1. Philippine Central Conference (PCC) – Board of Discipleship (BOD) Health Workshop
PCC-Board of Discipleship Health Workshop. The PCC-BOD which is under my supervision will be conducting a Health Workshop to produce Health Week Guidelines and publications. The guidelines will be launched February next year in coordination with BCEC during the MEA-BEA Joint DVCS Trainor’s Training.
V. UPDATES AND HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ANNUAL CONFERENCES:
* Construction of the Multi-Purpose PAC-C Headquarters in Biga, Silang, Cavite
* Development of an on-line website: umc-pac-cavite
INTEL AND CRITICAL THINKING SEMINAR. This will be held every 3rd Saturday of the month. This is a program given by Wesleyan University –Philippines headed by Miss Gladys Mangiduyos, Dean of College of Education and Dr. Randy Sansait, Dean College of Computer Science. We started our training last July 25, 2009, 9am – 3pm, at the Computer Science building, and will continue until September 19, 2009.
SCHOLARSHIP & FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR WORKERS. This conference year 2008-2009, we gave much time and efforts in looking for needed funds for our workers especially students and those who assigned in small local churches. Judge Raymundo Z. Annang donated Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php 50,000.00) for scholarship funds. The district also started to generate the Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 200,000.00) of Equitable Salary funds and will earn Six Thousand Pesos (Php 6,000.00) every month. We also approved that all tithes of workers will be given to Equitable Salary Fund to support our pastors and volunteer workers who are receiving minimal amounts that cannot support their daily living.
A newly constructed church building in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, Gabaldon UMC was realized and inaugurated last August 11, 2009 with the help of our Korean friends. Marikit UMC in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija had been constructed last August 1, 2009. Inauguration was set for October 2009.
Expediting of the sale of a UMC saleable properties, and a portion of the income to be given to the Board of Pensions.
Prof. Palomo promised to give $1,000.00 yearly out of his own pocket in support of the Board of Pension.
WEST MIDDLE PAC
Bataan district joined the Interfaith Prayer rally to oppose the reopening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant held in Balanga Plaza last June 20, 2009.
West Middle Philippines Annual Conference (Bataan and Zambales) conducted a conflict Management Seminar and a lecture on Family Code for Pastors and Bataan Deaconesses as part of our Worker’s continuing education and leadership development last July 9-11, 2009 at Bethel UMC. Our lecturers were: Bishop E. P. Nacpil, Dr. Daniel Bawan and Atty. Joe Frank Zuniga.
West Middle Philippines Annual Conference (Bataan and Zambales) conducted a leadership Seminar for the Young People of the two Districts called “Lead To Last” in cooperation with the SUCCESS GROUP OF COMPANIES – a consulting and training company based in Manila and was held last July 31 to August 1, 2009.
MANGYAN MINISTRY – through the leadership of the PiM, the indigenous people of Mindoro were enabled to participate in this program – gathering the Hanunuo Mangyans for an assembly and assembling the Buhid Mangyans for their congress. 10 Hanunuo Mangyans were baptized.
MARINDUQUE MISSION: Confirmation classes were held and confirmation rites were given at the First Marinduque United Methodist Mission Church. Dialogues between the clergy and lay were initiated leading to a reconciliation. The Mission celebrated its 2nd anniversary.
PINAMALAYAN MISSION: The Mission Team of Northwest Metro Manila District, through the leadership of DS Allan Casuco, again visited Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro. NMMD sent a Pastor Gonzales to do mission work here.
LOOC MISSION- Pastor Joselito Ibanez, a newly graduate romUTS is assigned to open mission work in Looc, Romblon. Makati UMC of Southwest Metro Manila District is supporting the missionary pastor in the area.
MANGYAN MISSION: Hanunuo mangyans were baptized at Bait, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro. We now have a regular Mangyan worshipping congregation at Amaga, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro.
A. PCC Boards under my Supervision
1. Board of Discipleship (pls. see plan of action)
2. Board of Church and Society will be having its organizational and consultation meeting on August 24, 2009.
3. Board of Trustees: Projects under the Development Committee is on-going
4. Board of Ordained Ministry had met only once and will reorganize soon.
5. MEA Board of Pension Committee – met last July 22, 2009 and was able to organized the Committee with the following officers:
Chairperson – Ms. Liz P. Mariano
Vice-Chairperson – Mrs. Lydia Aherrera
Secretary – Rev. Edgardo Cruz
Alternate MEA BOP Execom Member – Mrs. Soledad Ganaden
B. Connectional Relations
1. Volunteers in Mission was with us last May 28-June 10, 2009. Dr. Liwliwa Robledo was with them when they visited us.
a. Drew University Seminary Students visited us last June 10-25, 2009. Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Tapia was with them when they came here.
b. Ms. Rebecca Asedillo, Executive Secretary for Connectional Relations Mission Contexts and Relations of GBGM visited us last July 24, 2009.
c. California-Pacific Conference, together with Bishop Brown and Rev. Ruth Cortez, were guests of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines last July 17-27, 2009.
VII. UP-COMING EVENTS:
A. MORAL FORCE FACILITATOR’S TRAINING
The training will be held on August 25-27, 2009 at Villa Consuelo Retreat House. The training was a response to the call of Chief Justice Puno to form moral forces to thwart the evil forces in society. The training is to equip our church leaders, especially the District Superintendents, and the Chairpersons of the Boards of Church and Society and other outreach programs, in planning appropriate programs of action in relation to the UMC Social Creed and Principles. The activity is in co-sponsorship with the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS). Resource Persons for the event are: Rev. Levi Bautista, Asst. General Secretary of GBCS and President of CONGO, Mr. Joseph Kim, Program Assistant of GBCS, Ms. Fe Duldulao, Rev. Marie Sol Villalon of NIMPP, Congressman Neri Colmenares of the House of Representatives, Ms. Darlene Marquez-Caramanzana, former UMC Executive Director of the Board of Women’s Work, now Program Assistant for Women’s Work at the NCCP, and Rev. Igmedio C. Domingo, former District Superintendent of STPPACE, now assigned at St. John UMC. Topics will include: Overview of the UMC Creed and Principles, GBCS UN Programs, Wesley’s Social Teachings, Discerning the Signs of the Time: Tools for Social Analysis, Moral Force Concept, The Creative and Responsive Moral Force Program, and sharing on the current National Situation of the country.
B. Ladderized HRD Program for MEA District Superintendents
MEA is planning to engage its District Superintendents in various trainings and seminars as part of its capability-building program. The objective of the in-house training is to equip MEA DSes with tools and skills in order to prepare them in shaping their churches into vital faith communities. The HRD Part I would deal on “Conflict Management and Administration and Church Management” for the newly appointed District Superintendents. The activity is scheduled either last week of September or mid October. An HRD Committee was formed last June 13, 2009 during the MEA Cabinet meeting right after the Strategic Planning Workshop.
C. Schedule of MEA Annual Conference for 2010
STPPACE – February 24-26, 2010
PAC – CAVITE – March 3-5, 2010
PALAWAN-PAC – March 10-12, 2010
BULPAC – March 17-19, 2010
QCPACE – March 24-26, 2010
Rizal PACE – April 7-9, 2010
PAMPAC – April 14-16, 2010
SWPAC – April 20-22, 2010
WestMidPAC – April 25-28, 2010
MIDPAC – May 18-21, 2010
PAC – May 25-28, 2010
D. MEA 50TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
a. MEA-WIDE UMC SCHOOLS FELLOWSHIP
b. MEA-WIDE CHURCH WORKERS CONVOCATION
c. MEA-WIDE PREACHER’S KID CONVOCATION
d. MEA-WIDE LAY ACADEMY
e. MEA-WIDE CHRISTMAS INSTITUTE
MEA 50th FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION with the following Officers:
1. Mrs. Gloria Dimalanta – Chairperson
2. DS Johann M. Osias – Vice-Chairperson
3. Deaconess Cleanor Ladia – Secretary
4. Rev. Marie Sol S. Villalon – Treasurer
5. Bishop Lito C. Tangonan – Ex-Officio
VIII. RECOMMENDATIONS on Church Related Institutions:
1. Let us support the PCC Board of Trustees as they implement the re-conveyance of Transfer of Titles No. 25085 and 11666 to its original owner-Union Theological Seminary.
2. Let us continue to support the continuous operation of Philippine Christian University as an ecumenical partnership between the United Methodist Church and United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
3. Let us now review the composition of the 20 UMC members of the PCU Corporation.
4. Let us support the recommendation of the PCU Management Committee regarding the new composition of the PCU BOT to wit: 7 from the UMC (2 UMC Bishops only); 7 from UCCP (2 UCCP Bishops only) and; 1 from the PCU Alumni Association.
5. To review the composition of CTE of Wesley Divinity School and support the seminary in the improvement of its facilities.
6. That through the leadership of the College of Bishops and the Coordinating Council, convince the BOT of Wesleyan College of Manila to return to Wesleyan University-Philippines its operation, management and properties without conditions.
The scripture says “Don’t get tired of doing what is right for in due season you shall reap if you don’t faint and don’t grow weary.” (Gal. 6:10)
Truly, the journey to reach our vision would take long as there surely will be pot holes and humps along the way. Troubles and stormy weather will certainly cross our paths and hinder us from fulfilling our goals. But if we are determined and will keep godly attitude despite all odds and disappointments, God will keep on journeying along with us. It doesn’t matter how people treat us, if we just keep on doing the right thing, because God will be with us and will fight our battles with us.
For almost two months now we had been battered not only by natural calamities but also by human made calamities. Amidst these calamities, the whole of Manila Episcopal Area is in full swing in implementing its programs and activities, and in accomplishing even more excellent jobs. We believe God wants us to be people of excellence and integrity. According to Rev. Joel Osteen, “integrity is the foundation on which a truly successful life is built. If we don’t have integrity, we will never reach our highest potential. God wants us to be people of integrity, people of honor, people who are trustworthy.”
Though we cannot say that we have already weathered the storm, we at the Manila Episcopal Area are one in our faith journey. I am grateful to the members of my Cabinet, the MEA District Superintendents, my staff, both clergy and laity, who have shown their trust and confidence in me; for all your prayers of encouragement for me to carry on the struggle as your Bishop of MEA. To my wife Jeanne Grace, my son Kerussein Shalom and my beloved mother-in-law, Mrs. Biyaya Kasiguran Domingo, thank you for being there with me always. And above all, to our God, the Giver and Sustainer of life, who gave me strength, wisdom, knowledge, perseverance, and courage.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Lito Cabacungan Tangonan
Manila Episcopal Area
Delivered during the Second Coordinating Council Meeting on Aug 21-22, 2009 at Wesleyan University-Philippines, Cabanatuan City, Philippines.