Construction of church buildings, chapels and rectories is a major activity of local congregations. St. Luke’s Medical Center [SLMC] is funding this activity but it is limited to an average of 5 buildings per year in the entire ECP. Thus, the bulk of construction projects are done through  fund-raising efforts of local congregations.

Guided by the success of the ECP’s Receivers-to-Givers Policy as applied in community development, Executive Council has directed that this policy be likewise adopted to church building construction projects. The essence of the policy is that those who receive funds for development initiatives must be enabled to grant-back what they received so that from erstwhile receivers they in time become givers. What they grant-back shall be passed on to others in a continuing spiral of receiving and giving back.

The Council of Bishops, meeting on 23 June 2016, made available an amount of P5 million[1] for the R2G in Church Buildings Program. Any local congregation can apply for fund support of  up to P500,000, to be granted back within a period of three (3) years interest-free. Any un-paid amount remaining after this period shall be charged with interest of 4% per year which must be fully paid within two (2) years. The diocese concerned shall guarantee the grant-back and it shall pay any unpaid balance after 5 years.

The R2G policy proceeds from the desired practice of congregations helping each other to accomplish a goal. It is not a mere financial transaction where a congregation borrows money and pays the same according to the rules of commercial lending. What one congregation gives back will be passed on to the next congregation and since the request for fund support is a continuous one, the first or previous recipients are encouraged to continually grant-back what they can so that the succeeding recipients can also proceed with their projects and thus sustain what the Prime Bishop refers to as the “chain of love”.

The R2G policy is pursued within the Asset-Based Development [ABCD] framework. Every congregation has its own assets and resources that it can mobilize not only for its own development. The church building project must therefore start from what a congregation has and what it can offer. These local assets and resources shall be augmented by the fund support from the R2G Church Building Fund, which the congregation then commits to grant-back. Thus, the congregation maximizes its assets and resources not only for its own development but also for what it can share with others. It is thus possible that under the R2G in Church Buildings Program, the grant-backs are not necessarily in cash but can also be in kind for as long as this fits the needs of the succeeding recipients.

Part of the ABCD thinking is that the building of a church, chapel or a rectory should be a diocesan family affair. When a local congregation then commences such a project, all the other congregations in the diocese are encouraged to share what they can to jumpstart the project. It is also a welcome practice for a congregation to “bank” any amount in a project, with an expectation that this will be granted back in the future if the former also start its own project. [For example, St. Clement has dreamed of a new building back in 2010 and has since then started to fund-raise for the same. By 2012, it already had about P200,000 for this purpose which it had been holding up to June 2016 when it finally broke ground for its project. It could have “banked” this amount  in any previous building project so that it would have been used productively.]

A congregation applying for fund support under this program will have to undergo an ABCD  workshop or a review of the same [if it has already completed such process]. The ABCD workshop shall focus on the following:

1]        Bible Study on ABCD

2]        Orientation on ABCD

3]        What local assets and resources can the congregation mobilize towards its

            church building project?

4]        If it avails of a fund support, how can it grant back what it will receive?

5]        What other projects can it do in order to maximize its assets and resources so that it can make the committed grant-back and also to continually develop the congregation/community?

A report on the results of the workshop shall be attached to the request for fund support.

[1] This amount shall come from designated funds that are not of urgent or immediate use. One of these designated funds is the land-titling fund which is not currently being used.