In behalf of my family and the MEA Cabinet, I greet you all, Clergy and Lay Leaders of the Philippines Annual Conference (PAC), the oldest and the Mother of all conferences in the history of the United Methodist Church in the Philippines. Praise be to God!
We are so blessed that the leaders of today bears the unwavering faith in God, perseverance for church planting, witness and evangelism, and heart for mission that our great United Methodist forebearers had made ready for us. PAC is flying high in all its areas of ministry. There are lots of our present Clergies, Deaconesses and Lay Servant Leaders who continues to passionately use their talents, time, treasure and testimony to be faithful laborers in the Lord’s Vineyard even in the midst of exceedingly hard times.
Our PAC Lay Leader, Brother Jun Sermonia and his equally competent wife, Lucy, whose recruitment business was turned into ministry, is an instrument for the fulfilment of the Great Commission in the Middle East. We have about six (6) congregations in the Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates as of today, and four (4) are underway in Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and Israel. Brother Reiner Puno and Sister Nelly Calpito, your present District Lay Leaders are steadfastly leading and supporting each one of you and your ministry in your respective local church assignments. PAC is up for more blessings indeed!
Last year, when I spoke before you, I had apprehensions due to the heavy tasks at hand, and now with the positive and encouraging experiences working with you all, and with our accomplishments, I want to sing that song “Let Me Try Again” to explain how eager I am to double my efforts. I stand before you now with so much passion especially as we look forward to the rising of a vital and marvelous Manila Episcopal Area.
One of the personalities of the 20th and 21st centuries is a great man of faith, peace, justice and equality, the late President Nelson Mandela. He expressed his views during his address to the African National Congress of the Methodist Church in September 18, 1994:
• “Your Church has a proud record of commitment to the development of Africa’s sons and daughters in more areas than one.
• The great institutions of learning which spread ……. in this region shaped the minds and characters of generations of our people as well as many of our present leaders.
• We who passed through them will not forget the excellent standards of teaching and the spiritual values which were imparted to us.
• It is heartening to learn that Methodism …… had endeavoured to vividly demonstrate the fact that the religious community in our country is not only a spiritual and moral force, but an important social institution, contributing to the development and well-being of the people as a whole”
What an inspiring view about the people called The United Methodists. Little do we realize that The UMC has made an impact in the lives of people. Like the late President Nelson Mandela, I am doing my best to lead and work with you, to promote accountable leadership and discipleship in the marvelous Manila Episcopal Area. Let us be consistent and vigilant about our ministry in the Lord’s Vineyard by:
• Making more intentional about our own DISCIPLESHIP program called the UMC.DOC and live out our Quadrennial theme “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World”
• Exerting our best effort to individual and congregational spiritual act of WORSHIP
• Nurturing transformative LEADERSHIP through responsibility, accountability and integrity among our men and women
• Exemplify STEWARDSHIP of the 4 T’s (Talent, Time, Treasure and Testimony) as a way of life.
We believe that the Lord is pleased that our church continues the task of building up a godly work force which is obedient to His mandate. This vision is really focused on leadership, revival and discipleship, in that the focus is on raising people “until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13)