Manila Episcopal Area

Monday, October 02, 2006


HARRISON, Pa. (UMNS) -- Two new postage stamps in the Philippines honor a 100-year-old Methodist hospital and its founder.

Bishop Solito K. Toquero, president of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History, told a Sept. 19-21 meeting of the agency that the Philippine government created the stamps to express appreciation for the Mary Johnston Hospital in Tondo, Manila.

The commission, which serves as the official archival and historical center for the denomination, learned that one stamp features a historical picture of the hospital with its founder, Dr. Rebecca Parish, a Methodist Episcopal missionary. The other stamp pictures the current hospital, the hospital seal and surgeons performing an operation.

"It's the only United Methodist hospital in the Philippines and is in an extremely poor section where there are many gangs and victims of gang warfare," Toquero said. "The Methodist Episcopal Church sent Rebecca Parish, a medical doctor at the beginning of the 20th century, and here she started a small clinic."

With the needs of the population, the clinic expanded into a hospital and today serves an indigenous population and the poor, among others. Toquero said the hospital is still supported by Methodist churches in the Tondo area, as well as the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. He said the hospital is known throughout the country for its training of medical doctors, a cancer center, and community education and outreach.
In other business, the commission:
Announced it would work with United Methodist Communications to redesign and restructure the organization's Web site ( The site houses 283 documents, and during some months more than 100,000 people visit it.

Recognized the Rev. Robert J. Williams, who began his tenure as the new chief executive officer of the agency in January. The commission is served by four full-time staff and seven part-time Drew University students.

Heard archival reports from Europe, the Philippines, Africa and all the United States jurisdictions.
Society marks milestones
The Historical Society, an affiliate organization of the Madison, N.J.,-based commission, met following the commission meeting.

The society celebrated the 50th anniversary of full clergy rights for women in the denomination. The group awarded the Rev. Pat Thompson of the Troy Conference a distinguished service award for her book, Courageous Past, Bold Future.

The book took on a life of its own beginning with a quest to publish the stories of the first women clergy in the denomination and the first women of color to obtain clergy status, according to Thompson.

"It became a labor of love because I kept turning up new information, which added to the book. A lot of the women of color were the only women of color in their conferences," she said.

"There were also a handful of Methodist Protestant women who had been ordained during the 1939 merger and who had their orders recognized as part of that agreement. Those clergywomen are often overlooked in our history and were the real pioneers in an atmosphere that didn't want women in the pulpit," she said.

The stories of the women all contained pain and struggle, according to Thompson.
"We now have 21 women bishops, but it's still difficult for women of color. We've never elected a Native American or an Asian woman bishop. ... It's the women who need to take the lead in addressing these issues."

In other business, the Historical Society:
Celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first African-American congregation to leave the Central Jurisdiction to become part of a previously all-white Methodist annual conference.
Awarded Robert Bray the Saddleburg Selection Award for his book, Peter Cartwright: Legendary Frontier Preacher. The award goes to an author who has published a book about United Methodist history, people or polity that is accessible to lay persons but also scholarly in nature.
Heard presentations that took participants on a historical journey through the history of inclusiveness in the denomination.
Announced that the next open meeting will be July 20-22 at the National 4H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md. United Methodists will celebrate the Charles Wesley tercentenary at the event.By Kelly C. Martini*
*Martini is a freelance journalist residing in the Philadelphia area.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759


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