Tag Archives: Convention Baptist Ministers Association

The wonder of YOU

I have posted two articles with this title– all in reference to my dear wife.

This time, I am using the same title with reference to someone else. Not another woman, though. But a group of young ministers who do not cease to amaze, if not amuse, me. The series of reflections on the EDSA Revolution Anniversary last month and the resurgence of heated discussion on facebook group related to the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) and Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA) have influenced my decision to feature this group on my blog.

In the Philippine history of struggles for change, after the euphoria of EDSA Revolution, there was resurgence of some unrest. Both political and military enmity resumed once more in the Cory government. A group of young military officers emerged looking for a coherent ideology. Using anti-American rhetoric, they claimed to lead an underground movement to overthrow then President Corazon Aquino and the system she represented. They were known as the Young Officers Union (YOU).

BGen. Danilo Lim, one of the founders of Young Officers Union

 Their shadowy existence raised speculations. Some dismissed them as public relations creation of the better-known Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). At that time RAM’s image appeared to be tarnished because of links to discredited politicians. Others claimed the group broke with the famed Gregorio Honasan and other movement leaders for their indecisiveness and close alliance with opposition politicians. Some even believed YOU has adopted the organizational structure of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines as manifested in their activities and even press statements alluding to “American imperialism” and the Aquino “puppet regime“.

In 1989, they captured national spotlight when staging a nine-day siege of the Makati business district. Since then they were taken seriously to the extent of offering a bounty for the arrest of seven renegade officers identified as YOU leaders.

In my article on movement for change in the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), I made mentioned about the progressive pastors and seminarians in 1980’s who participated in the struggle against dictatorship, some made alliances with lay leaders that wanted changes in the CPBC. Also a group of seminarians in Panay in 2000 who staged a protest for some reform in their institution. Of course,  there may be others before or after them. Then emerged the movement of young ministers in Negros who dared to challenge the status quo perpetuated by influential ruling group. In 2006, they showed their consolidated strength by daring to challenge the veteran leadership in Negros and foretasted success when they captured the leadership in Kasapulanan.

They called themselves Young Overseers Union (YOU) with immortalized slogan “Go for Change.” In varying degrees, they have sustained their movement and made their presence felt, most often, causing discomforts to those who want to perpetuate the status quo. Their battle cry for change continue to disturb the leadership.

Covenant Signing?

Some members of YOU dsiplay their manifesto
Photo Credit: YOU Forum

While some veterans dismissed them as neophytes, other conservative leaders considered them trouble makers. However, they serve as inspiration to those who also want change. I came to know them through their former leader who was once a close friend of mine.

If my memory serves me right, they started as a Community Learning Group that meets regularly for fellowship, study, prayer and support system. But their political experience in the 2006 Kasapulanan election and subsequent CPBC election have strengthened their resolve and honed their skills in organizing. Even the betrayal and abandonment of their former leader and allies, and attempts to isolate them including threats and harassment did not deter their commitment to change. They remain undaunted,strong and productive At times, they appeared to be irreverent but the issues they raised are relevant.

Young Overseers Union

Plans over cups of coffee
Photo Credit: YOU Forum

One of my unforgettable encounters with them was during the CBMA – Negros Assembly at the Remitio Memorial Chapel, Convention Baptist Bible College, Bacolod City. Inspired by the overwhelming support to my leadership and subsequent development in the CBMA, I started to advocate, at that time, for a moratorium on pastors’ involvement in the CPBC politics which I felt should be left to our lay leaders. We were really determined to make the association soar to heights apart from CPBC.

However, during the open forum, they confronted me with harsh realities and problems in the CPBC and how pastors are used and abused by the lay in the leadership. In the course of discussion, a statement coming from them kept on ringing in my ears related to the lose of trust and confidence on the CPBC leadership. I said to myself, my God, what would happen to the CPBC if this trend continues.

Waiting for the group?

The looks that cause discomfort to some
Photo Credit: YOU Forum

Admittedly, that encounter has changed my direction and since then served as a reminder to me to carry on the principled stance, and not succumb to both pressures and enticement in the course of leadership and service. Thereafter, we shared many things in common, especially  in advocacy for change and development. Although, at times, we differ in approaches. In a way, they have ignited my  idealism and my pre EDSA commitment and courage as change advocate.  Of course, I suffered the consequences of going against the tide in the CPBC politics. Especially, when I dared to frustrate the plan/ scheme of the ruling group to perpetuate their control. I earned their brunt and had a foretaste of crude retaliation and extent of influence, manipulation and maneuver. But the members of YOU in respective areas neutralized their actions and parried some blows saving me from fatal hit.

To the young ministers, thank you for  the challenge, vigilance and idealism that made me stay grounded in principle till the end of my term. Thanks, too, for your support. Don’t lose YOUr wonder. The following lines are for YOU. YOU are in the position to lead the movement for change in our institutions and organizations.

When everyone seems to understand me
When everything I do gains support
You pose a challenge and raise endless questions 
You test my principle and conviction 
And you’re always there to call for change
In everything you do
That’s the wonder
The wonder of you

And when you confront me with the problem in our Convention
You give me reasons to change my direction 
Your commitment for change is worth a fortune
You inspire me to carry on
And you’re always there to lend a hand
When the going gets rough and tough
That’s the wonder
The wonder of you

 ____________________________

Article first published  as The Wonder of You:3rd edition  on Padayon Katipan. The author is in the process of transferring posts from other blogs to  converge on this official website.

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PADAYON: Our Life Journey

PADAYON was the word that capped the successful conduct of the 68th National Assembly of the Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA) on January 25, 2009. Inspired by the overwhelming responses of pastors on the CBMA leadership and governance, as well as the advocacies on changes in the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) politics, systems and governance, I was looking for a punch line/ clincher to sustain the momentum in delivering the concluding remarks.

Then came the message from my *Ihado when the worship leader innovatively asked the participants to write on the provided piece of paper, message to a particular person of choice. All of the notes I received have common message of encouragement to “keep up the good work.” My ihado gave me a note with one word which captured all other messages. Subsequently, I used it to officially close the National Convention of CBMA: PADAYON

The second time I received the word was during my 55th birthday celebration when this same ihado sent me text greetings. It was just the time I was looking for a title or a framework of our life journey and the title of my dream book.

PADAYON encompasses life’s story

Padayon is an Ilonggo term which means continue. In deeper sense, it connotes moving/going on (or never give up) despite adversaries or adversities. In this blog, PADAYON serves as framework or acrostic of my life’s experiences and the lessons learned from life. Each area or sub topic will be discussed in details in the succeeding blogs.

Antipodes of life’s journey

After undergoing the process of ordination which culminated, as a personal gift, on my Golden birthday on May 27, 2004,I committed myself to do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven, no matter what. Indeed, it was a golden year. On the 7th month that followed, I was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Social Workers of the Philippines. For me, it was a vindication of the awful experiences in coping up with life’s struggle when I first committed myself fulltime to the cause of Filipino people which dramatically changed the course of my life. It was my last semester in the seminary in 1984 when I decided to stop schooling and dedicated myself to the service of the struggling Filipino people for freedom from the shackles of the dictatorial rule. To what extent will remain a precious and lasting memory for me and my former comrades on the beauty of service and God’s abiding presence in protecting His people.

Doing God’s will is dangerous to your health

Engrossed with my study of the Lord’s Prayer vis-à-vis its relevance to our lives as far as development issues are concerned, I found myself in stressful condition and got sick. Realizing that the prayer is not essentially Lord’s Prayer but a model prayer (for the real Lord’s Prayer is found in John 17), I started to put it into practice in my relationship with God and fellow human beings. Just as I prayed “…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I made myself available for their realization. I tried to seek & do things in proper way; be on the side of the truth and stand for it without fear or favor; advocate and work for that which brings or gives life, not destruction. That is where my trouble started.

Adversities: Stepping Stones towards wholeness

It was when I was confronted with adversities beyond my control that I have learned painful (yet wholesome) lessons in life which ushered me to a new holistic well being. There appears to be a pattern in my health condition every 17 years. In 1975, I was seriously ill causing me to be completely bedridden for 3 months before gradual recovery which lasted for a year. It recurred in 1992 when at the peak of delivering lecture in an evening class, I experienced short breath and almost collapsed. But the worst came in the last quarter of 2009 when the attack took place in a remote area while doing volunteer work.

Yardstick for all of life is still the Bible

Yardstick has been used metaphorically to refer to anything which serves as a test or standard of measurement, comparison or judgment. It serves as a reference point against which other things can be evaluated. For more than one year of struggle and suffering due to my health condition, the only companion that never leave me is the bible. And in my daily reading and reflections (sometimes almost the whole day), I learned lessons I have never seen before. In succeeding blogs, I will give the details on how the bible is the yardstick for all of our life.

Opportunities come in the fullness of time

No matter how I console myself, as family, friends and colleagues do, that God is just preparing me for something big through the illness (and subsequent rest), I seem not to enjoy the thought. Not until recently I realized that opportunities, indeed come in the fullness of time.

Networking: Essence of the Church as Body of Christ

Having experienced the interplay of our body’s subsystems in causing sickness and wellness, I become interested in studying the mechanics of our body. I have learned how every cell contributes to the body’s functions and dynamism and its capacity to heal itself naturally, as designed by God. Relating this to my study on networking of NGOs (my masteral thesis), I see the beauty and relevance of the biblical comparison of the church as body of Christ. Ironically, it is the business world, information technology, development advocates that maximize the benefit of networking which should have been the forte of Christians in their ministry.

*Ihado is an Ilonggo term referring to wedding  godson

_____________________________

Article first published  as The Journey Framework on PADAYON. The author is in the process of transferring posts from other blogs to  converge on this official website.

Is experience still the best teacher?

Since time immemorial, experience has been acclaimed as the best teacher. Nobody dares argue. Not until somebody claims, it is the worst. I don’t want to join the debate because I already found the best teacher, i.e. life itself. A timeless, tireless, relentless and irresistible teacher, as well. Giving me lessons, despite my unwillingness to learn.

The year 2009 will long be forgotten by my family as it marks my 55th birthday. At the peak of service, I felt relatively stable and fulfilled in my achievements. The ups and downs of life’s experiences have increased my knowledge and honed my skills in living and serving. Unsophisticated, my direction was to receive less and give more. Beaming with confidence I have learned much from life, my motivation was to teach and share with others the riches of knowledge and experiences in service.

At that time, my successful leadership as national president of the Baptist pastors affiliated with the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches was wrapping up. Five years earlier, I was awarded as one of the ten outstanding social workers of the Philippines. I could not have asked for more except longer life to continue my service. And to consolidate my life’s experiences and service into a dream book/publication on spirituality for future references.

All of the sudden, the ecstasy was shattered by a chronic heart ailment, compounded with unusual nerve disorder in the last quarter of the aforementioned year. A matter of three months away from our national assembly to cap my six years of service and leadership. It was a devastating experience for me and my family. The worst we ever encountered so far. Such condition has constrained my active life of service. Adding pain was the realization that we have given all in service without saving for ourselves in times of crisis.

Since then, most of my time has been spent at home due to limited mobility, making me vulnerable to discouragement and depression. This condition goes on for more than a year. An on-going wrestle with the nagging issues of pain and suffering and search for the meaning of all these experiences in life. Still, I manage (should I say, force) to maintain my teaching employment, after 8 months of sick leave.

The healing process has been very slow with intervals of critical interlude due to heat and humidity or every time I overstretch my limits. During lucid times, I almost forget my condition, especially when missing my traditional diversion at home –carpentry, gardening and yard cleaning. Hence, I end up either with strained heart or hypertensive condition which require more medication and time to recover. It is here where experience is no longer best teacher.

However, my attitude has dramatically changed. Instead of lingering on endless questions and debates, alluding to God or blaming self and circumstances, I take everything as part of the process. Assured that sooner or later, I will learn lessons and find the meaning to any circumstance in life. For, indeed, “nothing can separate us from the love of God.” He will never allow all of life – experiences, pains and gains, sorrows and joys in service, and more to come to naught. For after all, He is with us now and in eternity. Reflecting on the totality of life – both here and thereafter, I have discovered the real best teacher. LIFE itself.

_______________________

The article was posted two years ago on my PADAYON  blog. I decided to repost it today because of its relevance.

Indeed, our labor will never be in vain: A sequel*

The break came when through the pastors’ support, I was elected in the CPBC Board in 2006 and chaired the Theological Education and Ministerial Concerns (TEMC) Committee. By divine guidance, the first document that caught my attention was the CPBC Strategic Plan for 2000-2010 which highlighted the TEMC program. Finding the missing link, I started advocating the program, trying to bridge the gap through voluntary involvement in its implementation.

My wife also volunteered to teach in theological institutions in Negros to strengthen the TEMC program. Studying previous initiatives of various organizations related to continuing theological education, eventually the CPBC Unified Theological Education System(UNITES) was conceived and gradually implemented.

Two breakthroughs were undertaken, namely: Formulation of Standardized Curriculum; and the MSPM program. From its humble beginning at NNBBC in July 2007, the program got its boost when Dr. Domingo Diel, Jr. suggested during one TEMC meeting to offer it to other theological institutions. Approved by the CPBC BOT on November 9, 2007, the program has become an integral part of the CPBC UNITES.

Peculiarities & Mechanics of MSPM

But why MSPM? The mission of the Master of Socio-Pastoral Ministries program is to prepare pastors for leadership roles in church, church-related institutions and community. Specifically, it is geared towards a healthy and balanced pastoral leadership in church and community services. For we have a holistic mission and ministry exemplified by our Lord and Master Teacher, Jesus, the Christ as he put into action the avowed mission in Luke 4:18-19.

Under the CPBC UNITES, MSPM classes are conducted in provincial centers by TEMC and CBMA. Participating theological institutions will grant the degree. Enrolment can be done simultaneously while attending classes or later. The program is student friendly and very affordable, with only P500 as payment per semester/ summer plus contribution for transportation expenses and food of the faculty for four semesters and two summers.

MSPM2

More than another story of endless possibilities

Today’ s event is not just another story of endless possibilities but also a tribute to those who believe in the cause. Like the little boy, they shared their respective contributions. Foremost, is our General Secretary, Rev. Job A. Santiago, who courageously provided the necessary support from the start to the finish, amidst pressures – the extent of which he only knows. For this, he deserves our applause for this legacy, which can be considered among the benchmarks of his administration to be looked upon by future generations that, as the CPBC celebrates its diamond year, it has initiated a program that produces the first MSPM graduates.

Secondly, my wife, who made the crucial decision to volunteer full time in implementing the TEMC program, whose commitment, labor and sacrifices are beyond comprehension which only few of us were able to appreciate –closed friends, Rev.Santiago, our maninays and maninoys and ihados (godparents and godsons) included, apart from our children and the students who directly benefited from her voluntary endeavors.

Of course, our volunteer faculty/lecturers for MSPM- ACDA Center, as follows: Dr. Lucy Catalogo, Atty. Nicias Alameda, Pastor Francis Neil Jalando-on, Pastor Elizer Geromiano, Rev, Joniel Howard Gico, Rev. Jerson Narciso, Dr. Melvin Mangana, Pastor Melchor Lariza and those in other provincial centers.

Special mention to Dr. Domingo Diel, Jr., and other members of the Theological Education and Ministerial Concerns Committee, especially the heads of theological institutions at that time- Prof. Josita Alpha Jalando-on in CBBC; Prof. Ruth Valencia &Pastor Georem Gutierrez in SONBI; Pastor Stephen Gallenero in NNBBC-for their support.  To all pastors and lay who have been praying for us. Lest I forget, Dr. Juanito Acanto for allowing me to implement the program during my term as director of the University Outreach Center, CPU.

Lastly, but not the least, the MSPM students – the important characters today, the survivors- who serve as our inspiration to tell the whole CPBC that the program is feasible. Without them, MSPM has never been materialized. They were able to sustain the momentum, sacrificing their free days and overcoming difficulties of time and finances. Of course, with the support of their respective families, church officers and members, and the administration of Ajuy Christian Development Academy and Ajuy Baptist Church that opened their doors to us.

Today’s event carries a very strong statement to the skeptics and critics, but good news to other pastors who also dream for an alternative continuing pastoral education, affordable but qualitative, without necessarily leaving their pastorate and families. Its message to the whole CPBC constituents is clear: Nothing is impossible if we only share.

Our pastors can earn masteral degrees if we pool our resources together. The CPBC, with the help of our theological institutions and volunteer faculty – our pastors and lay leaders can liberalize the educational opportunities and improve the plight of the pastors. Because education is not an exclusive property of the privileged few. It is the right of every individual. Continuing quality education is the right of all pastors.

Of course, the program is not perfect. Just like any other new programs, it needs refinement and improvement. Undeniably, however, we made a breakthrough. A benchmark which no skeptic or critic can deny or take away. Whichever angle one looks at, no matter how dim or gleam, irregardless of arguments, nobody can deny the fact that MSPM is another story of endless possibilities.

MSPM is comparable to the story of the KATIPAN Hall at Camp Higher Ground. When we started the project, there were various reactions of skepticism, disbeliefs, and criticisms even from pastors themselves. Understandably, because of the mindset that pastors are always in the receiving ends. But we have proven them wrong. The KATIPAN Hall and MSPM are living testimonies that whenever we start sharing whatever we have, God will work more stories of endless possibilities.

MSPM: Agent of Change

But MSPM is not just another story of endless possibilities. Through  MSPM, a new movement of change has started. From these graduates, will spark the fire of change and development that will benefit our churches, institutions and even communities. Unlike the traditional school system which commences in graduation, our partnership will continue even after today’s event. For MSPM is not merely another degree program. It was designed to change the pastors’ perspective and way of life which will subsequently trickle down to the lay leaders, youth and whole members of churches in respective pastorate. God’s blessings for all!

*Last of the two installments of my message for the  1st Conferral Ceremony  for Master of Socio Pastoral Ministries graduates held at Ajuy Christian Development Academy, Iloilo on May 1, 2010. Daughter Dazen Dawn delivered this message.

Indeed, our labor will never be in vain

Today is Labor Day as celebrated in many countries worldwide. In the Philippines, this year’s celebration has the following theme: Manggagawang Pilipino: Handa sa Hamon ng Makabagong Panahon implying the readiness of Pilipino workers to respond to the challenges of the changing times. In my other blog, I shared the historical significance of this day to commemorate the economic and social achievements of workers.

Rev. Job Santiago addresses the MSPM graduates and their respective families and church members

Rev. Job Santiago addresses the MSPM graduates and their respective families and church members

However, it is not only the historical significance of the Labor Day that reminds me of today’s celebration. Equally worth remembering is the 1st Conferral Ceremony for Master of Socio Pastoral Ministries (MSPM) graduates held three years ago at Ajuy Christian Development Academy, Iloilo, Philippines. It was graced by no other than the General Secretary of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), Rev. Job A. Santiago, who was the conferral speaker.

The occasion could have been a day of rejoicing for me as it would be a culmination of my pioneering and voluntary work. I was supposed to give my message for the pioneer graduates. Unfortunately, seven months before the event, I was seriously ill caused by chronic heart ailment, compounded by unusual nerve disorder.

Worse, my vulnerable condition was taken advantage by the group who had an axe to grind against me for leading the move  to frustrate their scheme  to railroad the selection process for top post in the CPBC. Even to the extent of manipulating circumstances to shame me including an attempt to derail the graduation of the pioneering MSPM students. While I have long forgiven the perpetrators, recollection of the event continues to add significance to the successful endeavors which are manifestations of God’s grace and strength over our weaknesses.

Dazen Dawn delivers my message for the MSPM pioneer graduates

Dazen Dawn delivers my message for the MSPM pioneer graduates

Anyway, though bedridden and unable to join the event, my message still reached the target audience. It was delivered by my daughter Dazen Dawn.
Entitled MSPM: Another story of endless possibilities, it was published on PADAYON: Our Life journey. I decided to reblog my post in two installments to commemorate the Labor Day.

“Today, we are witnesses to another story of endless possibilities. Overcoming the tests of times and circumstances, our pastors in North Iloilo and Negros will receive with joy and pride, without necessarily being boastful, their hard- earned certificates in today’s Conferral Ceremony. The choice of the date for this event, which happened to be Labor Day, was more circumstantial than intentional.

However, viewed in the context of the long winding road trod by students and faculty to sustain the MSPM program, the date has become doubly significant. With gladness, we can shout on this Labor Day that our labour is not in vain, after all.

MSPM2

The biblical account of the feeding of the 5,000+ serves as inspiration to the MSPM story. Aware of the needs of the time, a boy offered whatever he has to respond to the call for service. He was not disturbed by overwhelming discrepancies and limitations, even criticisms. His voluntary spirit made a difference. Amidst reservations, if not downgrading of the modest offering, Jesus made use of what was available and another miracle happened.

An inspiring story to remind us that our labor, no matter how small and simple, will never be in vain in the Lord. Let me stress this point because it appears that our past experiences of difficulties or disappointments have made us callous and apathetic for change, especially as far as organizational or institutional life is concerned. Sometimes, we cannot even start any good project or movement because we are already overpowered by the difficulties and perceived problems or impossibilities, even before we give it a try.

MSPM students taking up the examinations

The MSPM Program has a foretaste of this experience. Since its start in 2007, some downgraded the voluntary effort while others already expressed skepticism of its sustainability, even before it is tested. Worse, there were those who consistently campaign against it when the program was well accepted by pastors, even to the extent of recruiting those already participating in the MSPM program to join the program they promote.

In our response, we dared the critics to a debate whoever they are and wherever they want. We argue that MSPM has been designed with quality not inferior to what Central Philippine University offered in Master of Social Work program which was patterned to that of the University of the Philippines- Diliman, yet friendly and affordable for pastors. The faculty are more than qualified. The only difference is compensation because in MSPM, we teach voluntarily, gaining the love and respect of pastors, not monetary profit.

Favorable conditions

Conglomeration of events have been favorable for the design of the MSPM program. A couple of us tried the distance education program of a state college in Iloilo for our doctoral degree which met once a month. Some were also teaching, once a week, in Korean seminary in Iloilo City which offered Master of Arts in Missiology. Moreover, we were inspired by the successful revival of the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program in CPU which produced the first graduate, after 30 years. We even opened an extension class with weekly meetings at Convention Baptist Bible College for Negros students.

Those aforementioned favorable trends served as signals for us to entertain the questions: Why can’t we design similar approach for a graduate studies program for pastors? If it was successfully implemented in professional social work courses, why can’t we do the same for pastors? But, how?

MSPM graduates pose for posterity together with Rev. Santiago after the Conferral Ceremony

MSPM graduates pose for posterity together with Rev. Santiago after the Conferral Ceremony

My previous sad experience has also served its purpose. When elected as president of Convention Baptist Ministers Association, I continued the term of my predecessor in the committee which was tasked to study and recommend to the CPBC Board cases of pastors undergoing graduate programs from other theological institutions. The arguments were overwhelming against recognizing the degrees from other schools not affiliated with the CPBC and related affiliations. The most that I could do at that time was raised the question: Can CPBC provide alternatives?”

(To be continued)

When the Baptist Pastors move

The upcoming Truth Forum on April 15 has renewed my ambivalence. On one hand, I feel excited of  another opportunity to restore the spirit of solidarity among pastors, especially in fighting against perennial ills in our denomination. On the other hand, I am a little bit hesitant that the influence, I once had, will no longer work this time having been out of the mainstream in our organization’s life for a couple of years or so. Undeniably, the division has been obvious and  hurts too deep  which have marred the developing solidarity among pastors.

Primarily, the forum is intended to know the truth behind the Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA) Fact Finding Committee Report  related to the boat buying and other fraudulent practices in the CPBC elections and reveal more truth to be incorporated in the report. It will also serve as avenue to discuss other issues and concerns related to Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) and CBMA and unite on common agenda and plan of action. Finally, there will be a presentation of the mechanics of the PADAYON Welfare Fund for Pastors Project as springboard of unity for change and development.

Despite the ambivalence, I believe that “miracles” happen when the Baptist Pastors move based on past experiences. Their flashbacks started to rush through my mind. Foremost, was the 2006 election. While it has been labeled as the controversial , expensive and partisan elections, it became a witness to the power when the Baptist pastors move. I will never forget the scenario the night before the election when I was guided by the Spirit to stroll around the campus in order to have a feel of the political pulse. Earlier, I had witnessed the movements of both groups trying to outwit one another to ensure victory of respective candidates.

Along the way, I met pastors from one political grouping in pensive mood and apologetic that they could not openly campaign for me because of the directives for block voting from patrons who sponsored their fare, as well as that of their church members. However, aware of my battle cry for the Pastors Cause, they assured me of covert  support.

Some meters away, I met another group coming from a caucus of rival political grouping with similar sad news due to the same directives for block voting. Likewise, they assured me of their secret  support so as not to antagonize their patron. Of course, those alarming revelations prompted me to speed up my campaign strategy since that night until the election day. The rest is history. I was one of the 3 independent candidates who survived the highly politicized, charged and explosive election. I had the rare privilege of joining two other candidates whose names were sort of institution in the CPBC. That was the wonder when the Baptist Pastors move.

Of course, I had discussed in my other blog the movement for change  resulting to significant events that brought changes in the political landscape of the CPBC and related institutions/organizations. I even featured the emergence of the movement of young ministers in Negros who dared to challenge the status quo perpetuated by influential ruling group in my article The Wonder of YOU.

Then the breakthroughs and milestones in the organizational life of the CBMA and in projects and programs that galvanized our solidarity highlighting the Katipan Hall.

And how can I forget the show of solidarity of pastors during the selection process for the General Secretary of the CPBC in 2009. It was the culminating event of our solidarity, some sort of a clincher to our  organizational struggle which gave us valuable lessons on how concerted efforts made a difference. The spontaneous support of pastors succeeded to frustrate the well planned scheme of a group that had been dominating/ programming/ dictating the course of events in the CPBC particularly the election and selection process in the leadership and administrative position. It averted an obvious attempt to railroad the process.

From my memoirs, I want to quote the following excerpts: “The launching of the movement for change, accountability and transparency at CPU the day before the CPBC Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting and the subsequent mobilization during the Board meeting on October 16, 2009 to watch and pray have contributed to the conglomeration of events that led to the BOT to defer the selection process despite attempts by the other group to proceed with the process knowing they have the numbers.”

“…The unprecedented endorsements and support of various chapters and sub chapters of the CBMA as well as the CBYFP, Kasapulanans, auxiliary organizations and institutions various organizations and institutions  to my nomination were overwhelming. The strong support of  Negros pastors neutralized the political maneuvers, smear campaign, misinformation, and other machinations directed against me. The timely mobilization of Iloilo pastors to hold a watch and pray movement during the meeting has sealed the show of protest and concretely manifested the growing unrest and tiredness of too much politics and the need for change. “Most of those involved have become part of the REVIVAL 1020 Network which serves as convenor of the upcoming forum.

All these and more happened when Pastors move. Both a reminder and an inspiration to us to restore the solidarity we once had. With these in mind, I have high hopes that the coming truth forum will make a difference in the lives of CBMA and the CPBC. Yes, against all odds. We are determined to put closure to the issue and enhance reconciliation and healing without sacrificing the whole truth. This can only be attained when the Baptist Pastors move.

From therapy to ministry: The wonders of blogging

Almost two years ago, I started my first blog, courtesy of a  pastor friend, Jonan Castillon.  He encouraged me to blog as part of my healing process. I was at the peak of leadership and  service  when attacked by chronic heart ailment, compounded by unusual nerve disorder. Such condition had constrained my active life of service. Most of my time was spent at home due to limited mobility, making me vulnerable to discouragement and depression.

Pastor Jonan’s  successful journey in on line niche was contagious that despite my skepticism, I  entertained the idea. However, I did not know how to start. Thus, despite his hectic schedule, Pastor Jonan took time to tutor me hands on blogging. Thereafter, I  experienced the gradual process of growth comparable to my healing process.

PadayonDubbed PADAYON: Our Life Journey, my first journal blog was an attempt  to inspire readers to continue the commitment in service, no matter what. PADAYON is an Ilonggo term which means continue. In deeper sense, it connotes moving/going on (or never give up) despite adversaries or adversities.

Social WorkMy friend’s advice worked. I found  joy in blogging. My interest in writing was revived. Rather than fretting over my limited mobility, I made use of my time in blogging. I poured out my thoughts and emotion into the blog and found relief.  Hence, I opened another blog to ventilate my suppressed commitment to the service of the people towards development. Its first name was  Networking-for-holistic-development. Later,  I changed the name to Development concepts, issues and concerns to broaden its coverage. Recently, however, it was renamed  Social Work and Development to give it a focus.

The inspiration continued. Hence, I created a sharing blog, Faith Journey,  serving  as forum for life and faith experiences of people who have survived the test of times and circumstances. Likewise, a venue for sharing and learning from one another  so that others would also find inspiration in their faith journey.

Faith Journey

Learning and enjoying the blogging world, I decided to maximize the beauty of web linkages and networking. Hence, another blog to provide an opportunity for others to share their resources. Dubbed Resource Sharing for Development, this blog is an attempt to widen my services to humanity through linkages and networking of developmental and service-oriented blogs and bloggers.

LarizaWith four blogs to maintain, my mind had been busy. Slowly, my focus was diverted. Instead of spending most of my time observing my seemingly deteriorating condition, I was obliged to give time to my blogs. My vulnerability to depression caused by the delay in healing process started to diminish. There was a paradigm shift in my mind and heart. The delay of complete healing became an opportunity to evaluate my life and faith. I have more time for self and family. More time to read the bible, pray, meditate, reflect, put faith into action in almost all aspects of life. All the wonderful things previously deprived of me due to very hectic schedule prior to ailment.

By  creating  a family blog i.e. Lariza. Website,  I tried to consolidate all my other blogs to continue my service and ministry. Hopefully,  to give  inspiration and restoration of self-confidence for those who are devastated by harsh realities of life in various forms.

NETS

But my blogging exodus did not end there. Before the resumption of my hectic schedule, I succeeded to create three more blogs.

Both are official web sites of the organizations my ICONwife and I helped put up. NETSnews  for   an independent inter-denominational  seminary based in Escalante City, Negros Occidental.   ICON Network, official website of the Iloilo Coalition of NGOs and POs- a network of non-government Catalyzerorganizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) in Iloilo. And CPU Catalyzer, publication of the Department of Social Work, Central Philippine University.

The development in blogging and subsequent inspiration to me has been reflective in my health condition. While I have not mastered yet all the blogging technology, I feel contented to see the progress. Likewise, although I have not fully recovered  as far as my health condition is concerned, I appreciate any progress big or small.

Padayon KatipanHowever, my hectic schedule, especially when I resumed my work,  constrained me to update all my blogs. It’s good that  Christmas break has given me time to visit my blogs, review and evaluate them. Subsequently, I have decided to give each blog a  focus or niche and transfer respective posts to where they belong.  More so, that the alarming trend in our religious organizations has inspired me to create another blog that will focus on the Convention Baptist Ministers Association and Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.  PADAYON KATIPAN  serves as reminder to  keep up the covenant, to continue the good things we have started, especially for the development of our pastors.

Henceforth, blogging will  be a ministry.