Manila Episcopal Area

Friday, February 25, 2005

Report to the Coordinating Council
Central United Methodist Church
February 25-26, 2005

Expanding Our Mission

Solito K. Toquero
Bishop, Manila Episcopal Area

1. New Mandate, New Mission Initiative

God be praised for the new mandate I received through the Central Conference by reelecting me for a second term! Thank you so much for your prayers and support! We will double our efforts this new quadrennium in expanding our mission work among towns and barangays not yet reached by The United Methodist Church in the Manila Episcopal Area. We will also strengthen every local church to do new mission initiative in neighboring towns and barangays by training ministers, deaconesses and lay people as a mission team. Our goal for this quadrennium in our new mission initiative is for every local church to establish one new local church in a town or barangay where there is no United Methodist Church in four years’ time.

2. Establishing Prayer Rooms and Prayer Groups in Every Local Church

The Early Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit after a ten-day prayer meeting. The promise of Jesus for the one-hundred and twenty disciples to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Lk 24:49) in order to receive His power and be Jesus’ witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), is still true today. The 2004 Book of Discipline provides that the local church through the Charge Conference may elect annually a Prayer Advocacy Coordinator to coordinate its prayer ministry (Par. 254, p. 162). We will see to it that every local church shall have a prayer advocacy coordinator, a prayer room and an organized prayer group to help the minister in the prayer ministry of the congregation. The MEA Cabinet has opened an e-mail address on prayer, D.S. Dave Sablan is our prayer coordinator. We want to recover early Methodism’s emphasis on prayer and follow Jesus’ life of prayer (Mk 1:35; 6:45-46; Lk 6:12; 11:1ff.).

3. Stewardship of Time, Talent, Possessions and Environment

I believe in the necessity of educating our people on the biblical principles and practices of stewardship in order to become good stewards. We can only succeed in our mission initiative if our people are faithful stewards of their time, talent, possessions and the environment. The Great Commission and the Great Commandments are for every believer. We have to use our time, talent and possessions in making disciples of all nations, and obey the commandment to love. We have to care for the environment if we are to live a healthy and harmonious life with all of God’s creation. Tithing as a biblical and systematic way of sharing our money and possessions should be taught to, and practiced by every United Methodist. BulPAC and some districts (South Nueva Ecija and Laguna-Quezon), have been successful in using the tithe as an apportionment. They are meeting their financial needs and still have enough to support their mission work. We urge and encourage other districts and conferences to do the same. God blesses faithful stewards! There is joy and fulfillment in sharing God’s blesssings for the mission of the Church.

4. Developing our Assets and Institutions for Mission

Our conferences and districts have assets and educational institutions that have not been fully tapped and developed in order to generate income and resources for mission and outreach. We envision this quadrennium to tap the resources (human and material) of our institutions, for mission work and support. We also plan to develop idle properties to become income-generating within the quadrennium. We have enough experts in various fields to help us put up a development plan to transform these properties for mission, outreach and service.

5. Mission and Works of Justice

Our concept of mission includes works of justice for the poor and the oppressed. Each local church can also have a Church and Society Coordinator. He or she will coordinate the local church’s ministry to the poor. The local church meets their needs, advocates for their rights, and helps them organize, lobby, etc, as mandated by our Social Principles. Local churches can tap the expertise and facilities of KKFI, Asuncion Perez and MCRD in ministering to the poor. We have established new local churches among the poor by organizing and mobilizing them, and helping them put up livelihood projects and cooperatives. This method can be duplicated in many places.

6. Mission to OFWs and other Ethnic Goups

We have started our ministry to OFW’s and their families (land-base and sea-base). We plan to expand this ministry to other local churches in the provinces. We will train ministers and other church workers for this specialized ministry, especially chaplains for seafarers. We will tap the expertise of ecumenical organizations in Europe and Asia for the training of our church workers. We will also minister to other ethnic Filipinos in the mountains, not only among the Aetas (we have been ministering to them and training them for many years already) but also other tribal people. Part of our plan is to open work among the Chinese and Indian businessmen/women in Metro Manila and other places where there is a substantial Chinese and Indian community. We hope that by the end of the quadrennium we shall have reached all the ethnic groups within the Manila Episcopal Area and shall have established work among the Chinese and Indian communities.

7. Leadership Development and Continuing Education of Church Workers

We will do our best to recruit and train potential leaders from the local church to the conference level among the clergy and the laity and develop them to be leaders of our churches and institutions. We urge and encourage our church workers to attend seminars and workshops offered by our seminaries and universities for continuing education, or enroll in a short course for such purpose. Those able to do graduate and doctoral studies, we encourage them to do so. We will try to find scholarship for them. We will conduct seminars and convocations in cooperation and coordination with our institutions to help our church workers upgrade their knowledge and skills in ministry.

8. Church Workers’ Health and Welfare

Our church workers should be whole in body, mind and spirit if they are to be effective ministers of the Gospel. It is our goal in this quadrennium that a health care program/insurance for all full-time church workers be established. And that pension benefits be increased not only for our Central Conference pensioners but also for annual conference beneficiaries. We also urge our annual conferences to put up retirement homes for our retired church workers. Or our conferences, districts and local churches can build homes for our church workers in partnership with the Habitat for Humanity. This can be done especially for church workers who still have many years to serve. When they retire, they have a home ready for them, already paid for.

9. The Future of Philippine Methodism

More than a century has passed since the first American missionaries came to our shores and proclaimed the Good News of Salvation to our people. Methodism has taken roots with American flavor all these years. We thank God for this! We, however, are still a part of the American Church until this day. The Philippine Central Conference in its last session in November 2004 decided to accept the petition of nine annual conferences for an affiliated autonomous relationship with the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. Seven annual conferences had their petitions nullified on mere technicality. They are to perfect their petitions for an affiliated autonomous relationship with the General Conference this coming Adjourned Session of the Philippine Central Conference to be held next year. Only two annual conferences have not made a decision, BulPAC and PamPAC. I believe that an overwhelming majority of our conferences have made their decision. It is only a matter of time when these petitions reach the General Conference for an enabling act for us to decide our future, once and for all. Change is risky and traumatic. But it is inevitable. We have to make preparations for such eventuality. It took thirty-two years for Puerto Rico UMC to become an affiliated autonomous church. Their petition was received by the General Conference in 1972 and was granted only in 1992. They were given a twelve-year transition period and finally granted affiliated autonomous relationship during the 2004 General Conference. Let us pray and make preparations for our future. Let us unite in this venture. Let the dreams and aspirations of our foreparents of the faith be realized in our own time. Let us be God’s instruments in fulfilling this vision. May your will be done, O God! May it be so, Lord Jesus! Amen and Amen!


At 6:05 PM, Blogger Rev. Anacleto G. Guerrero said...

Brother Vic:

Congratulations! At last you have "created" a blogspot for the Manila Episcopal Area. I understand you are the "administrator" of this blogspot for the MEA, on behalf of the presiding bishop---Bishop Solito K. Toquero. As an administrator, you are opening the spot for "comments" or whatever readers would like to send to the office. I just want to know whether you are opening the blog to comment on the "items" published directed to the bishop or directed to you as the administrator. Well, anyway, you deserve my appreciation. I hope and pray that this blogspot will serve its real purpose---for the glory and honor of our God Almighty, and for the advancement of The United Methodist Church in the Philippines, and not otherwise.

Your posts are very informative, like the report of the bishop, "Expanding Our Mission" to the Coordinating Council on February 25-26, 2005 at Central Church, which usually is not read by majority of our UMC members and church workers. A copy of this report, I am, is not sent to all church workers and local churches within the area. The "Vision-Mission of the Area" is very profound which deals with "Nurture," "Outreach," "Witness," and "Leadership Formation and Support Services." This could have been a product of a very thorough study of the whole cabinet led by the bishop himself. May I suggest that you also publish some of the "Actions" [if not all] of the last General Conference (2004 Session) which have direct relations or have anything to do with the Philippine United Methodist Church. I understand, many of the Judicial Council decisions or even some of the "items" in the Book of Resolutions should be known by our people or members of the local churches. The districts and annual conferences within the area, especially those who may avail of this blogspot could be given the latest news fresh from the Church as a whole. I can assure you, also, that I will tell our friends the opening of the area blogspot, so that they can read direct from your office anything that may affect their ministry and church activities. This is one venue of service that will enhance the journey of faith of every United Methodist in our country. I have thought all along that the blogspot is overdue. It could have been "created" earlier for easier and better communication. If only all the district superintendents within the area have opened an E-mail account (which is free), we can also communicate with them, and you can reach them very easily with all the "instructions" they might need in their districts. I can assure you, furthermore, that I will visit the area web as often as I can.

Thank you also for publishing the schedule of the annual conferences' sessions. This will be an excellent reference for all United Methodist Church local congregations. My regards and prayers for your ministry. Extend my best wishes to the bishop. Maraming salamat po.

At 3:24 AM, Blogger Rev. Anacleto G. Guerrero said...

Brother Vic:

Greetings in Jesus.

I have visited the MEA blogspot several times and I have not seen any entry or post since the last one. I would be very happy to see the results of the annual conferences' votes on the Affiliated Autonomy issue. In order for our people to know about the latest issue I look forward to reading the results of the voting of the annual conferences. It will not be very hard for your office to gather the figures since they have to be reported to the coming special session of the Philippines Conference Conference in 2006. Or, would you rather wait for others to give the information to our people in the episcopal area? If I may suggest one thing: Let the members of the United Methodist Church know the issue. With your previous report from the south (please see your latest entry), please continue reporting from all annual conferences so that people will know and be informed properly. If you are interested in knowing my opinions you are free to visit my website. I thought people should know all sides, in fairness and in honsty.

With all respects,

Rev. Anacleto G. Guerrero


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