Tag Archives: Katipan Hall

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.

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Another story of endless possibilities: 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.

Prof. DZ Patriarca-Lariza moderates the discussion during the joint class of MSPM students

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.

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. Thru 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.My daughter, Dazen Dawn, delivered the message.

KATIPAN Hall: A multi- faceted testament

Indeed, Katipan has become a symbol of solidarity among pastors. It bespeaks of the realization of collective faith and action. The KATIPAN Hall also stands as monument of the gains in networking. Pastors have exhausted their linkages and network in order to complete the project. But it was not merely another successful infrastructure project. It has become a spiritual warfare in reclaiming the legacy of the Camp Higher Ground as icon of serenity, spirituality and renewal. Its presence has attracted other organizations to resume retreats, seminar, conferences and other religious activities. But there is more to the Katipan legacy. It has brought our association to the door step of the CPBC leadership and politics.

Never did it occur in our wildest dream that our association would engage in an infrastructure project. More so, under my term as president. My social work orientation and past organizing experience taught me to be people-centered in approach to development, not on infrastructure. However, circumstances led us to this new challenge.

Katipan Hall in 2006

It started from an invitation of the Pastors’ Kids (PK) Association to hold our National Assembly at Camp Higher Ground in 2006 for free. At that time, they were starting to develop the Camp Higher Ground after the mandate to manage this neglected treasure of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. Few months later, the Convention leadership rescinded their action, forcing the PK to cancel its goodwill.

Having set our preparation on the venue, our Association decided to take matters in our hands. With the projected cost within our reach, we undertook the project. Only to found out later, there was an overly underestimation of the cost. Upon expert advice, we opted to improve the design with permanent materials due to susceptibility of the area to termites. Exhausting our own resources, we engaged in various fund campaign and use our network, both personal and organizational. Concerts, dinner for a cause, solicitation, loans were but a few of the strategies we undertook.

Like the boy in the parable of the feeding of multitude, our initiative, though viewed with reservation, soon gained support. Touched by our commitment to share meager means, other organizations followed suit. Soon the spark got the fire burning. The Pastor Kids’ commitment to develop the Camp Higher Ground was rekindled. Our NGO network was also tapped, as well as linkages with the government officials in the city and province of Iloilo. The Gilopez Kabayao Foundation showed support by making our association the beneficiary of their concerts. But the bulk of the donation came from pastors.Pastors abroad sent their contribution. Rev. Danilo Borlado mobilized the church in Hongkong to shoulder the painting cost. The rest is history. After fours year, the collective faith and action was realized. The Katipan Hall was finished- a monument of gains in networking.

Beyond the construction issue, the Katipan Hall was transformed into a spiritual warfare in reclaiming the legacy of the Camp Higher Ground. The place, which serves as venue for camping, conventions, retreats, conferences, has been a living witness to transformation of lives brought about by past experiences in the Camp. It is considered an icon of serenity, spirituality and renewal. However, the place had been abused and neglected for the past decades. Seldom was it used for the aforementioned purposes. Through the project, pastors were able to reclaim the spiritual heritage of the Camp. Thereafter, its beauty and usefulness has been gradually restored.

Moreover, Katipan has brought our association into the mainstream of politics in our denomination. While some pastors have been involved in the CPBC politics, seldom does our association, as a whole, directly participate. But things have changed because of the Katipan project. There was a shift in my personal stand to dissuade pastors to leave the CPBC politics to lay leaders and focus in our association. Every time we were confronted with difficulties in sustaining the project, I recalled the culprit. The leadership flaw, as manifested in the rescindment of the Board in their approval of Pastors Kids management of the Camp on flimsy ground. We could not have experienced the suffering had the Pastors Kids continue.

I then decided to enter the CPBC politics during the May 2006 election running as independent. The pastors did not fail me, some crossing group lines/affiliations. I won in that election which was a show of force and money of organized groups within the CPBC. It was marred with block voting and boat buying, if not vote buying. Thereafter, I advocated for the pastors cause resulting to some significant changes beneficial for pastors.

Katipan in Katipan

Katipan Hall in 2011