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THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF NORTH CENTRAL PHILIPPINES (Created in 1989)

The Most. Rev. Nestor Poltic, Bishop

358 Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City

P.O. Box 403, Baguio City, Philippines

Telephone #443-7705

Email: edncpbaguio1990@yahoo.com\

Brief History

The Episcopal Diocese of North Central Philippines was formed out of a division of the Diocese of Central Philippines in February 1989 when the Annual Diocesan Convention elected the Rev. Dr. Artemio M. Zabala as its first bishop. The Diocese consists of Episcopal Congregations in Baguio City, the provinces of Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Southern Nueva Viscaya and Zambales.

In July 1991, an earthquake hit Baguio City and destroyed its Cathedral. Plans for rebuilding were immediately set up. Meanwhile, the diocese deployed personnel to Lawin, Zambales for Relief and Rehabilitation work which led to the eventual formation of a new congregation from among the natives in that area.

The year after, Bishop Zabala resigned from his jurisdiction to be ECP’s missionary to the Diocese of Los Angeles. The Convention of January 1993 elected the Rt. Rev. Joel A. Pachao to be its second bishop. He continued the work of rebuilding the Cathedral and in 2000, the New Cathedral was consecrated for use.

The Cathedral

The Diocesan Cathedral is the Cathedral of the Resurrection located at 358 Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City.

 

Mission

The Mission of the Diocese is to equip both clergy and lay with arms and instruments that are effective in the ministry through continuous and responsive education and training.

 

Vision

By the year 2007 we envision a God-fearing diocese with dynamic human resources and vibrant members, self-reliant and aggressively reaching out.

Of the Seal of the Diocese

At the topmost portion of the inner versica is the Miter which graces most Episcopal Church seals. It stands for the authority of the Bishop (in Greek being Episcopos from which the designation Episcopal is derived). The miter bears on its top the Greek letters ICXC, the ancient acronym for IESOUS CHRISTOS or Jesus Christ. Below is the Greek word NIKA which means Victor or Conqueror. Put together it proclaims Jesus Christ the Conqueror (of sin and death). The miter is adorned with a design representing the motif of most art works of the indigenous people of Benguet against a backdrop of dominant brown color, the color of the Filipino skin. The context where Christ is proclaimed as Conqueror in the diocese is among the indigenous and other Filipino people residing in the provinces within the jurisdiction.

An unfurled scroll below the miter bears the words ZOE AIONIOS, “life eternal” which Christ promised to give to the full (John 10:10). The words were retained in Greek to amply describe the divine quality of life shared by God in Jesus’ death and resurrection. This message of abundant life given by Jesus is also at the heart of the National Mission Statement. That abundant life includes autonomy, the spaciousness in which we grow to be ourselves in relation to others in mutual responsibility and interdependence.

Below the scroll is the shield that resembles that which is found in the seal of the Diocese of Central Philippines. This indicates that this diocese once formed part of that diocese until its creation as a separate diocese in 1989. The shield is divided into four panels. The right topside panel bears the sun and stars found in the Filipino flag and is in the seal of the Church Province. This situates us along with the lower left panel with the images of the highlands and lowlands, the miner’s pick and shovel, rice grains and sea with a boat.

The top left panel bears the symbol that graced the ECP’s inauguration as a Church Province. It becomes a constant focus of meditation and judgement as it artistically delivers the message; “Kapit-bisig kay Kristo: tungo sa Kasarinlan, Katarungan at Kapayapaan” (Arm-in-arm in Christ towards Autonomy, Justice and Peace).

HOMILY FOR PRIME BISHOP ED

PB MalecdanThis afternoon, we have come together for the interment of the remains of our late beloved Prime Bishop Edward Pacyaya Malecdan. We join his wife, Manang Myrnam, their children and relatives in mourning his passing away from this earthly life. The death of a loved one always brings grief and sadness, especially to the family, relatives and friends of the deceased. Even Jesus wept with Mary and Martha and the other people who were mourning the death of their brother Lazarus. But Jesus turned their grief into joy when he raised Lazarus from the dead. In the Gospel this afternoon from Luke 8:49-56, Jesus also brought joy to Jairus and his wife by bringing their dead daughter back to life. How we wish the same can be done to raise Bishop Ed from death now so that our tears of sorrow will become tears of joy! But we know that raising the dead back to life cannot be done today. Jesus taught us that the dead will be raised during His 2nd coming. In the meantime,   we have prayed the Collect  imploring God to accept our prayers on behalf of thy servant Edward who has fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection; and to grant him entry into the heavenly abode of those who through the ages have  been found pleasing in your sight.” (BCP 328). So even as we mourn the physical loss of Bishop Ed, we look forward with joyful  hope of  the resurrection. Meanwhile,  we can find solace and inspiration in the life and ministry of Bishop Ed whom God called to serve his flock as a deacon, priest, Seminary teacher and dean, diocesan bishop and then as prime bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.

Please allow me to share my reflections on the life and ministry of Bishop Ed based on my personal knowledge and encounters with him.  I first came to know Bishop Ed in 1969 I when I enrolled for the 7th grade  while he enrolled for the 3rd year here at St. Mary’s School. At that time, Bishop Ed just came back to St. Mary’s  to resume his studies which was disrupted when his father died  in an accident at the Lepanto Mines. Bishop Ed had to quit after 2nd year high school to help his mother and older brother support the family. From shoe-shine boy in Sagada, he became a gardener at Makellay’s farm in Sinipsip, then a cement-mixer at Itogon Suyoc Mines, and then as a janitor at the Makati Medical Center. After sojourning from one odd-job to another for 4 years, he decided to continue his studies with the prodding of his uncle Frank Longid. So he came back to SMS for his 3rd year in 1969.  Because of his athleticism, Fr. Stapleton choose him to play for the SMS basketball team that won championships against teams in Bontoc, Lubuagan and Balbalasang in Kalinga. He was also a member of “Post 11” – a Boy Scout troop organized by  Fr. Abellon, who was then the rector here, and who was their Scout Master. Bishop Ed considered his return to SMS as providential because that was where he met and caught the attention of Manang Myrnam who became his bride in 1978.

a-portraitpbab-21.jpgI consider myself lucky to have been under the tutelage of Bishop Ed, starting when I enrolled as a freshman at St. Andrew’s Seminary 1976 while he was in fourth year. He was the team captain  and  star player of the Seminary basketball team and I was privileged to have played in his team. More than anything else, he provided leadership and imbued a winning spirit to our team. He became our coach after he graduated in March 1977, and he became my mentor when I succeeded him as Student Sacristan, a key position of responsibility in the spiritual formation of seminarians. (I still vivid recall his advise, “Brent ilam ta baken paspas ay maamin nan mompo”). During graduation, Bishop Ed also received the Faculty Award for his overall performance in academics, athletics, house work, spiritual formation, and all other aspects of ministry formation in the Seminary. In recognition of his potential as a Seminary faculty member, Bishop Abellon cut short Bishop Ed’s internship in Guinaang, Bontoc, and sent him back to the Seminary for further studies. While studying History at Trinity College, he got married in 1978 and was ordained to the diaconate in 1979 while being an adjunct faculty of the Seminary.

Our  third encounter was when Bishop Ed and I were among the 5 candidates who were ordained together on December 22, 1980 at St. Thomas Church in Dagupan, Tabuk, by Bishop Richard Abellon. Bishop Ed was ordained as a priest while  I and 4 others were ordained to the diaconate. After his ordination, Bishop Ed returned to teach at the Seminary while pursuing masteral studies at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. In 1991 after ten years as Seminary Instructor, he went on sabbatical leave to pursue studies in Church History at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Texas. He finished his Master of Arts in 1993 with his thesis on the Formative Years of the Philippine Episcopal Church, and returned to the Seminary to resume teaching. Sometime in the mid-2000s, his Alma Mater in Texas conferred him the honorary degree of Doctor in Divinity in acknowledgment of his services at the Seminary and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.

In 1994, Bishop Ed was nominated for  the office of Suffragan Bishop of EDNP. At the same time, he was also being considered for the deanship of St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary to succeed Dean Henry Kiley who resigned. With a deep sense of calling, he decided  to withdraw his nomination for Suffragan Bishop and accepted his appointment as the 6th dean of SATS where he served until he was called to be the 4th diocesan bishop of EDNP in 1997.

When he became our diocesan bishop, he admitted with humility his lack of knowledge and experience in parish work and diocesan administration since he spent his whole ministry teaching at the Seminary. But he made up for his deficiency by being a good listener, keen observer, fast learner, diligent worker and a team player. He translated the principle of basketball teamwork in the Diocesan Office where he worked closely with the diocesan staff whom he called his “reliables” for their competence and dedication to serve. He was keenly aware of his heavy responsibility as diocesan bishop because EDNP at that time was in financial crisis due to the cut in the financial subsidy from the Episcopal Church in the US. Because of the crisis, we had annual budget deficits and our clergy and lay employees did not receive their salaries for as long as 6 months. We implemented cost-cutting measures and some employees were given early retirement. During those times, our Diocesan Employees Credit Coop or DECCO became  our lifeline. But these were temporary remedies, so Bishop Ed focused our  diocese on the attainment of ECP Vision 2007 with self-reliance, renewal and outreach as the main goals.

PB and the Archbishop of Korea

Bp Ed with the Archbishop of Korea

One great temptation at that time was to use our accumulated diocesan endowment fund for the salaries and benefits of our clergy and lay. But Bishop Ed wisely decided not to spend the endowment fund but to build it up and then invested the bulk of it in the Rural Bank of Paranaque. This move was lambasted and opposed by some members who feared that the church will lose its investment.  There was strong pressure on Bishop Ed to withdraw the investment, but Bishop Ed did not give in because he was confident that his decision was based on reliable information which those opposing his decision did not have.  In the end, the investment at RBP yielded substantial returns resulting in a balanced diocesan budget. The church fully recovered its investment, proving that the fears of losing the investment were unfounded.

In 2008 when Bishop Ed was called as Prime Bishop, yours truly inherited a much improved diocese in terms of self-reliance and mission outreach.  There were surpluses instead of the annual deficits in our diocesan budget. The number of fullfledge parishes increased from 3 to 9 and 12 congregations became provisional aided parishes. Three of our institutions: St. Mary’s School, St. James High School and St. Theodore’s Hospital were incorporated to broaden their capacity for self-reliance and self-governance. And the Walter Clapp Centrum and Timothy Chaokas Memorial Student Center were built,  while St. Joseph Resthouse and the Diocesan Center were upgraded to increase their self-support contributions.

One highlight of Bishop Ed’s episcopate is the division of EDNP in year 2000.   The division resulted in the creation of the new Diocese of Santiago and made EDNP the smallest diocese in terms of geographical coverage but still the biggest in terms of church membership. Bishop Ed believed that the division would accelerate mission expansion and congregational development of both the new diocese and the mother diocese. This vision has been proven by the remarkable growth of both dioceses under ECP Vision 2018 which was ushered in by Prime Bishop Ed in 2008 and was continued by Prime Bishop Rene when Prime Bishop Ed retired in 2014.

Prime Bishop Ed has left  us just as we are preparing to embark on a new ECP Vision 2028 under Prime Bishop Joel. (I think he will be visiting Prime Bishop Joel from time to time.) But while he left us, I believe he will not abandon us. When he left EDNP for Cathedral Heights, he did not abandon us. He  was a patient and brutally frank mentor especially when I was just starting in the episcopate. He taught me valuable lessons and offered practical  suggestions in pastoral ministration and diocesan administration. He made it a point to attend and participate in our diocesan conventions. He accepted every task that was assigned to him, whether as celebrant, preacher, bible study facilitator, lecturer, or resource person. And he was excellent in all of these tasks. He is known for his well prepared homilies, and he wanted us his clergy to prepare and deliver good sermons. He used to provide us  with references and guides on good sermons. ( I believe he will still be observing us to see who is naughty or nice about sermons.) A writer in his own right, he authored “A brief history of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Sagada” and wrote several articles on ECP history. He started editing for publication his MA thesis, “The Philippine Episcopal Church: Its Formative Years”, but this was derailed by illness. The ECP leadership should see to the publication of this book for posterity.

Bishop Ed maintained his cool and calm demeanor even under pressure or stressful conditions. He demonstrated this demeanor sometime in 2007 when he led us clergy and lay volunteers to try to rebuild St. Peter’s Church which was demolished by government contractors in Sabangan. The situation at the construction site was tense due to the presence of thugs who were trying to prevent the reconstruction. The situation became worse when suddenly a half-naked woman appeared and started dancing in front of the Bishop. She was followed later by a man swinging his samurai sword threatening to hurt anyone who got near him. Bishop Ed who was helping lay out the lumber at the construction site did not panic. He just stayed calm and cool until the tension subsided. Whether he was facing a samurai sword, a tough negotiator, or colon cancer, he was calm and composed.

DSC03148 (1).JPGBishop Ed called himself an “outdoor person.” After office hours during his healthy days, Bishop Ed was either in the basketball court or the tennis court. He played great tennis and he won championship trophies in Bontoc and elsewhere.

He also loved to dirty his hands in his garden, orchard, field, fishpond. When he was in Manila, he would drive home to say hello to his plants. He used to bring oranges from his orchard for the staff at the diocesan office. Bishop Ed is a rare breed of an all around athlete who excelled in all sports that he engaged in including basketball, volleyball, softball, and lawn tennis.

Bishop Ed was also a cowboy at heart. He bought a cowboy hat and a pair of cowboy boots in Texas, and one of his favorite songs was “God must be a Cowboy”.(?)  He also used to ride his horse above Lake Danum, but  later passed on  his horse to clergy in the Sunnyside area who he felt needed it more for their outstation visits.

And he was the only yodeler in town. In many community occasions, he was in demand to render his favorite yodel song, Chime Bells Are Ringing to the delight of the audience (but which did not impress his children anymore because they heard it more than a thousand times!)

Now we will all be missing this yodeler, cowboy, farmer, athlete, writer, bishop, priest, pastor, counselor, preacher, teacher, mentor, father, grandfather, and much more! Such was the life and ministry of Bishop Ed. A life worth emulating for its dedication to Christian service. It is the life of a man who has “fought the good fight, finished the race, and have kept the faith.” 2Timothy 4:7.

Let me end with these comforting words from 1 Peter 1:3-7 — “Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of His great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away.  They are for you, who through faith are kept safe by God’s power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time.”

May our brother Bishop Ed in the company of all the saints, rest in peace and rise in glory! In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Rt. Rev. Brent Harry W. Alawas

Diocesan Bishop, EDNP

Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Sagada

May 4, 2018

 

Episcopal Church-Founded Cooperatives Contribute to Progress in Rural Parishes

From P20K to P173M
(An ECP Vision 2018 Story)

Well-meaning individuals have observed that ECP Vision 2018 was accordingly too parochial and focused on the institutional interest of the Church without much consideration to the day-to-day realities of its members. The experience of St. William’s Parish in Butigue, Paracelis completely debunks this observation and validates what Vision 2018 had intended to do which is to grow congregations in order that they can better pursue and live out the Five Marks of Mission.

Back in the early 1990s, the congregation of St. William’s consisted of only seven families. The women members practiced og-ogbo, where they pooled their meager financial resources that they rotated among themselves in order to support their economic activities. A grant of P20,000 from the Anglican Board of Mission – Australia boosted the self-help operation and allowed them to get more members. In 1997, the St. William’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative was formally registered and has since then provided much-needed providential, agricultural and small-business financing to the people in and out of Paracelis. It now has 1,756 regular members and 1,527 associate and laboratory members . Much of the economic upliftment in the municipality can be attributed to the assistance of the cooperative. Today, after 21 years, the cooperative has P173.54 million in assets, with members’ equity amounting to P41.72 million and has 59 employees. Aside from its multi-million lending operations, the cooperative operates a grocery, pharmacy, airconditioned lodging rooms and a 5-van transport service. In the records of the ECP’s development program, St. William’s Cooperative is listed as a spectacular success.

The congregation of St. William’s has grown to more than 100 families and has been admitted as a full-fledge parish in 2009. Through the cooperative, the parish is one of the main contributors to various fund-raising activities of the diocese and is actually supporting neighboring congregations. It has started an elementary school from Kindergarten up to Grade II with 32 total pupils and intends to complete the 7-year levels of basic education.

The cooperative is open to non-Episcopalians who now compose the majority of its membership. Pastors of evangelical churches are active members and directors of the cooperative. Yet, even with its membership configuration, the cooperative strongly maintains its Episcopal roots. It’s General Assembly always starts with an Episcopal sung mass, with full attendance from the pastors and leaders of other denominations. The ECP’s Five Marks of Mission is prominently displayed in the coop offices as part of its values enhancement program and biblical verses are found in the Assembly theme and in various documents and members’ t-shirts.

In recognition of its Episcopal roots and continued spiritual guidance, the cooperative pledges 10% of its annual net income to the parish. Surprisingly, the initial opposition to this came from Episcopal members themselves but it was the pastors and leaders of evangelical churches who, up to this day, are insistent that the coop must always express thanksgiving through this pledge.

Much of success of both the parish and the cooperative has evolved out of the visionary leadership of the rector, The Rev. Frenzel Ray P. Piluden [now bishop-elect], and The Rt. Rev. Alexander A. Wandag, Bishop of the Diocese of Santiago.

I was privileged to speak at the 21st General Assembly of the coop last 24th February 2018. One of the stories I shared was our experience in Nairobi, Kenya where Mr. Patrick W. Pelenia, CEO of the Episcopal Development Foundation of St. Mark, presented the ECP’s coop program in an international micro-finance conference in 2012. The conference was impressed with the presentation just as they were impressed with an earlier presentation from a Kenyan micro-finance bank whose president and manager was an Anglican who finished advance economic and management degrees from Oxford University of England. Following these presentations, a Kenyan friend of mine asked where our people managing our coops, including St. William’s, took their MBAs. I explained to him that perhaps the elementary and high schools in Paracelis are comparable to the graduate schools of England since most of our coop directors are elementary and high school graduates in the municipality. Also, St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary must be comparable to Oxford University since the manager of St. William’s was a SATS graduate. These are the leaders who have transformed P20 thousand into P173 million.St William Butigue

Super Typhoon Yolanda Victims Dedicate Their Own Church

Testimony by Attorney Floyd Lalwet

December 16. Tonight is my family’s Christmas party at my sister’s house in Trinidad. I’m going to miss that and, except for my brother Joe Anthony if he is on overseas assignment, this will be the first time that a member of the family will be absent. I’m really very sorry for this.

I’m now holed up in a hotel here in Tacloban with the Prime Bishop and Mrs Precy Pachao and Mr Danny Ocampo as our flight to Manila yesterday was cancelled due to raging Typhoon Urduja. The earliest flight available to us is on Monday, December 18. Strong winds and rains are slamming into the roof and walls of our hotel and the streets are flooded. It’s a good thing that ECARE staff here in Leyte have joined us in the hotel as the staff house is flooded. They are now running around the city looking for open restaurants to buy food and coffee for us since our hotel doesn’t have an eating place. At least it is on higher and safer ground and residents of the city whose homes are flooded have also checked in here.

But we don’t regret coming down here. We were here for the blessing of Ressureccion Episcopal Church in Ormoc City yesterday as this church is maybe one of the best gifts that ECP has received from its people this Christmas season. Ground-breaking for this church was done in April this year and was completed in record-time of only 7 months. This was also built entirely from the resources of the people here who, about 4 years, ago were almost completely devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda. In fact, St Luke’s Medical Center, impressed with the successful housing project here offered to build the church but the people politely declined as they believed that it us their way of expressing gratitude to the Divine Providence who has enabled them to rise up from the unspeakable devastation. We would never have missed the blessing yesterday. We are so thankful that we were still able to fly down here before the storm so that our people were able to use the church for their first misa de gallo this morning!

ECP WELCOMES TWO NEW VOLUNTEERS

Two volunteers from the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) of The Episcopal Church have come to join in the ministries of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) for one-year terms of service.

Ben

Ben having Thanksgiving Dinner with community members

Ben Hansknecht, a graduate of Wildlife Management, will be working on tree planting and other ecological restoration projects in the Visayas Mission Area, a program established by ECP’s E-Care Foundation after Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.  Ben will be based in Sabang Bao, a housing development and community for victims of the typhoon.

 

 

Caroline Sprinkle, a graduate of Wake Forest University in North Carolina, will be working in t

Caroline

Caroline with her Kalinga costume

he Episcopal Diocese of North Luzon (EDNL), where she will be a staff of our E-CARE Foundation, doing community development work and also working in the area of carbon reduction.

ECP has been receiving YASC volunteers for several years already, and we have greatly benefited from their energy, thoughtfulness and commitment to the work of the Church.

Follow Ben and Caroline thru their blogs:

Ben Hansnecht’s Blogs

Caroline Sprinkle’s Blogs

ECP GENERAL SYNOD CONDEMNS EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

The General Synod of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) met in session from May 9 – 11, 2017 at Trinity University of Asia in Quezon City, Metro Manila.  Among several business-related resolutions, the Synod passed resolutions related to legal and social issues current in the nation at this time.

 

Extrajudicial Killings

Among these, one resolution “express[es] grave concern over these killings and the atmosphere of impunity that now pervades our land and call on the government to put a stop to such killings, investigate the perpetrators and ensure mechanisms for accountability.

 

Legal Issues

Two resolutions express opposition to proposed changes in the legal system, one is a proposal to reinstate capital punishment and the other is a proposal to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9 years of age.

Both of these resolutions call on the government to focus on strengthening and improving the criminal justice system of the country with a view to emphasizing restorative justice and making criminal proceedings transparent and just.

 

Peace Process

The General Synod also expressed its “full support to the peace talks between

the government of the republic of the Philippines and the national democratic front.”

 

As per its long-established stand on these issues, the Synod reiterated that the ECP is a strong advocate for genuine and lasting peace and believes that this can be attained through sincere and honest dialogue among all contending parties and with the active participation and prayers of the Filipino people;”

Each of these resolutions, besides being commended to all parts of the Church for prayer and action has also been forwarded to the appropriate authorities within the Government as part of the ECP’s ongoing witness to the Kingdom of God in our midst.

LOOKING BACK AND BRACING FOR A NEW YEAR

National Cathedral of St Mary and St John, Quezon   City2017 has been a very fulfilling year for the ECP. We have intensified our gains towards Vision 2018 while positively addressing emerging challenges and obstacles.

As we step into the last year of Vision 2018, it is reported that as of 2017, we have admitted in union with their respective diocesan conventions a total of 80 full-fledge parishes. Ten years ago, we had only 27 parishes established in 106 years or from 1901 to 2007. Part of Vision 2018 then was to enable all our congregations to mature into full parish-hood so they can enjoy the privileges of a self-governing and self-reliant congregation fully entitled to and exercising responsibility for the proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom of God, nurture of New Believers, a loving service response to human needs, transformation of unjust structures of society and safeguarding the integrity of creation. Recent reports also indicate that the dioceses will be able to finish 2018 with a total of 99 full-fledge and about 30 aided parishes. While this will not meet the number targeted in 2008, it would still be more than 3 times the base figure when Vision 2018 was crafted. In 10 years, we would have built twice the number of full-fledge parishes that we established in 106 years. The number of congregations that are either full-fledge, aided or provisional parishes will far surpass those of mission stations and outstations, unlike in 2007 when parishes were almost the exception to the general classification of ECP congregations.

For 2015-2016, membership growth rate was recorded at 5% or from 133,891 to 144,094. Since population growth rate in the Philippines for the same period stood at 1.5645%, it is inferred that the increase in ECP membership went beyond mere population growth. Certainly, there were cases of double [or maybe even triple] registration, but there were also cases of non-registration of some members. The improvement of our recording system is a work in progress.

Per capita giving has been increasing over the years. There was a time in recent ECP history when giving was averaged at less than P50. As of 2016, per capita giving was recorded at P568.98.

The ECP has been performing very well in its investments. For 2017, investment targets have been surpassed and an extra-ordinary income [derived from the trading of fixed-income treasury bonds] of P1,102,900.70 was generated. It should be noted that there is now a total of P14 million real estate fund that was derived from extra-ordinary income in recent years, which is now designated for the purchase of real assets.

We toast the champagne glass for meeting the target P10 million Scholarship Fund of St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary [SATS] at its feast day celebration last 30th of November. Four years ago, the fund stood at less than half the target after several years, prompting retired Prime Bishop Renato M. Abibico to comment that it seemed as if we will complete the amount at the second coming of the Lord. SATS Board set the completion date on 30 November 2017 and everybody worked hard for it. The realization of the target was a clear testament to what ECP members can do if they pool their efforts and resources together.

We had a smooth leadership change when The Rt. Rev. Joel A. Pachao was installed as the 6th Prime Bishop of the ECP on 26th October 2017. This allowed Bishop Abibico to finally take the retirement course, just in time for escaping the age-related physical pains that often visit even a stallion working beyond 65 years.

At the 2017 Provincial Synod, we made some significant changes in our Constitution and Canons which is now becoming uniquely cognizant of our particular context. We re-affirmed our basic principles on the sacredness of human life when we spoke out against the death penalty, the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility, manifested our support to the anti-drug campaign but expressed serious concern over the killings and the atmosphere of impunity that has engulfed the country and also expressed support to the peace talks. We approved the creation of a new diocese out of the current Diocese of North Central Philippines.

On the negative side, we lost The Rt. Rev. Esteban G. Sabawil in early 2017, after serving just a little more than a year as Diocesan of Northern Luzon. We also lost a number of clergy and lay leaders. May they all rest in eternal peace.

We continue to be challenged by the shortfall of financial resources in our Diocese of Davao. Our Council of Bishops and Executive Council are working towards enabling the diocese to meet this challenge.

Finally, the 2017 Synod has set the period from June 2017 to May 2020 as a Mission Re-invigoration Triennium to give particular focus, energy and resources to the following:

1] The mobilization of the ECP constituency during the next 18 months towards completing the targets for Vision 2018;
2] The conduct of a visioning process that will include diocesan consultations and a national summit to build into the accomplishments of Vision 2018 and craft the vision of this Church for the future;
3] The comprehensive review of the Constitution and Canons of this Church in order to open up its structures and canonical framework to a more dynamic and vibrant mission work.

Let us now brace ourselves and dive into full participation in the mission re-invigoration ahead!

(Written by Atty. Floyd Lalwet, Provincial Secretary of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines)

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