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Fil-Am United Methodists convocation set in Manila, Jan. 3-6

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Fil-Am United Methodists convocation set in Manila, Jan. 3-6

The first Central United Methodist Church (left) was a wooden structure built in 1901. A gothic-style brick structure soon replaced it but was destroyed in 1945 during the American liberation of Manila. The present church (right) was rebuilt as basically a replica of the prewar building. Its architect was Juan Arellano. CONTRIBUTED

CHICAGO—For the first time in its 30-year of existence the National Association of Filipino American United Methodists (NAFAUM) will hold its in the Philippines on January 3-6, 2018.

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The historic Central United Methodist Church along T.M. Kalaw street corner Taft Avenue in Manila will be the venue where Filipinos in diaspora are invited for celebration, worship, study and, more importantly, immersion in mission work.

(Central United Methodist Church is the first Protestant church in the Philippines, founded on  March 5, 1899 during the American Occupation, it was originally named Central Methodist Episcopal Church. The first Protestant worship service in the Philippines was held on August 28,1898 and was officiated by Rev. George C. Stull, attended by both American soldiers and Filipino civilians.—Source: Wikipedia)

The gathering’s theme is “BalikBayanihan” (Returning to help in the harvest) highlighting the “Theology of Mission” based on the “The Great Commission” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Participants are encouraged to engage in mission projects during their stay in and around Manila for the eradication of poverty and oppressive systems and social injustices inflicted on the Filipino people and their land.

The convocation is open to United Methodists in the Philippines to share life experiences with the visitors, recognizing that while the visitors are on a “mission trip” to the Philippines, the Filipinos on the ground are constantly living the experience.

Last September, the 300,000-strong Philippine United Methodist Church slammed the extrajudicial killings in President Duterte’s war on drugs. In its statement, it opposed the imposition of death penalty and affirmed is belief that life is sacred and should be respected and protected.

The position paper recommended that churches should be opened to victims of illegal drugs and should give medical and social support for drug-dependent persons. UMC Bishop Ciriaco Francisco signed the statement.

In the past, NAFAUM held its convocations around the U.S. to be close where Filipino American United Methodists were. Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, was the site of the 15th NAFAUM convocation in 2015.

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Pong Javier, immediate past NAFAUM president said that  potential attendees are expected “to come see why the UMC in the Philippines is thriving and growing, and learn what core values drive this growth.”

Partial list of speakers includes Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Tapia who is slated to give the keynote message and Rev. Dr. Bener Agtarap who will conduct workshops on congregational development and redevelopment.

Interested persons, contact Aquilino “Pong” Javier for more details. Email: abjavierjr@aol.com. Tel no. 708-268-7003

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TAGS: Central United Methodist Church, Filipino American Methodists, National Association of Filipino American United Methodists (NAFAUM) 16th biennial convocation, religion, religious denomination, religious group, Rev. Dr. Bener Agtarap, Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Tapia
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