THEREFORE GO BECAUSE GOD IS THERE!
Arichea, Tapia, Reyes, Bautista inspire NAFAUM Delegates
4 January- Some of the country’s leading Biblical scholars and Church leaders joined forces in the second day of National Association of Filipino American United Methodists (NAFAUM) convocation in Central United Methodist Church, Manila.
The Rev. Dr. Daniel Arichea, Retired Bishop of the United Methodist Church, led the morning Bible Study focusing in the theme “Therefore Go for Justice.” In the study, he weaved in that the God has consistently been on the side of the poor, and that the “…In God, it is always the strong adjusting for the weak….” In this, Arichea drew parallelism between how God reached out to a weak humanity. He then challenged the delegates to live a life of justice and righteousness because God is just and that the Just God requires his followers to be just and righteous as well. Posed by an inquiry regarding religious pluralism, Arichea claims that “Christ is above all” where he recognized that God is at work in the lives of every individual regardless of religion.
Following the lecture of Arichea is the Keynote Address of the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Tapia. Tapia, herself a balikbayan is currently a Global Ministries Missionary of the United Methodist Church and Professor of Theology, Bible and Mission in John Wesley College, Tuguegarao after serving for years in the United States. In her message, Tapia highlighted the role of the young people in the struggle for justice through a performance of the Teatro Ekyumenical of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. She also presented statistical facts and possible mission trends that calls for action of the entire Church.
Also, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) General Secretary, the Padi Rex Reyes, Jr, delivered an update of the situation of the Philippines, especially of the Philippine churches in their collective pursuit for peace and justice. He highlighted the participation of the ecumenical community in fighting for a just and lasting peace in the country by pushing the National Democratic Front- Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Philippines to resume peace talks to end the 49 years of armed communist insurgency. A key feature of the involvement of the NCCP is for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).
In response to the situationer presented by Reyes, the Rev. Liberator Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for United Nations and International Affairs of the General Board of Church and Society of UMC provided a response. There he singled out that even if the birth of Protestant movements in the country is ideologically motivated, he said that what is clear in the UMC stance is that “…Jesus is peace. There is no alternative to peace but Jesus….” ###