DAVAO CITY FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
(Brief History 2007)
The birth of Methodism in Davao City started in the early 1950’s with the coming of some Methodists from Luzon as land settlers, business men, and private or government employees.
As early of May 1951, there were several Methodist families in Davao City; among them are the families of Mr. & Mrs. Jose Collantes, Provincial Treasurer of Davao Province, Atty. & Mrs. Ramon Saura, President of a Rural Bank, Mr. & Mrs. Castro Lardizabal, manager of Star life Insurance, Mr. & Mrs. Constant Bringas, Mr. & Mrs. Leslie Pascua, Mr. & Mrs. Sanvictores, Miss Mercedes Castro, Mr. Pablo Galdones, and Mr. Paraso. On the initiative of Miss Mercedes Castro, a former deaconess, and Mrs. Ramon Saura, they started worshipping together and took turns hosting the Sunday services. On October 21, 1952 they organized themselves as a worshipping congregation at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Jose Collantes with 23 people. On the same year the Rev. Curran L. Spottswood bought eight lots in Bo. Obrero for the Methodist church in Davao City.
The Rev. Vicente Rosete was appointed to Davao City on March 1, 1953 by The Northwest Philippines Annual Conference, meeting in San Nicolas Pangasinan presided by Bishop Jose Valencia. It was the Rev. Felix Gorospe who got acquainted with the Methodist worshipping congregation in Davao City. On August 23, 1953 he organized the First Methodist Church in Davao City. The elected officers were Mr. Leslie Pascua as Chairperson, Mrs. Ramon Saura, Secretary and Treasurer, and Miss Mercedes Castro as spiritual adviser. The Rev. Vicente Rosete and Mrs. Gertrudes was the first pastor and woman worker of the newly organized church. The Northwest Philippines Annual Conference recognized the Davao City First Methodist Church during its annual session the following year.
During the middle part of 1954 a group of young American Work campers led by the Rev. David Williams came to Davao City and built a chapel and a parsonage in Bo. Obrero for the Davao City Methodist congregation.
In November 24, 1966, the Davao City First Methodist Church under the leadership of the Rev. Limerio Garibay gave birth to its first daughter church, the Davao City Central Methodist Church.
In 1979 through the initiative of the Rev. Juan Riingen and Miss Febe Pidut, now Mrs. Febe Perasol the Day Care program of the church for children became a more formal Pre-School education under what was then known as Twinkle Star Learning Center that offered nursery and kindergarten classes.
In 1988, our church embarked on building a sanctuary that replaced the old church building to accommodate the growing membership of the congregation. The new church sanctuary was completed at the cost of Php. 1.4 million and was dedicated to the glory of God in 1990.
In 1988 our church decided to support the mission work in Panabo City under the leadership of Mrs. Ester Campos, the appointed church worker. With the Lord’s blessing her labors bore fruit that a Methodist congregation was organized into a chartered local church on March 10, 1990. In 2001 our church continued to support this young congregation by helping them raised funds for a church lot and build a beautiful sanctuary and a parsonage which was completed at the cost of Php. 2.1 million and was dedicated on November 28, 2001. Our local church considers Panabo City United Methodist Church as her second daughter church.
In May 1991 the church started the construction of the two story UMSD school building which continued by God’s grace until it was completed in 1998, which paved the way for the UMSD to offer a complete pre-school and elementary education. The incorporation of UMSD on March 1997 facilitated the approval and government recognition of its pre-school and elementary education.
In 1998 the gymnasium was constructed that gave the local church opportunity to offer more services to the community.
All through the years our local church shared good and dedicated clergy and lay leadership to the district, annual, national and the general church. Example of these includes the following: Rev. Francisco Bilog was a delegate to the UMC General Conference at St. Louis Missouri in 1988 and delegate to the UMC General Conference at Pittsburgh in 2004. He also served as a member of the Board of Director of the General Board of Global Ministries for eight years, from 1996-2004. Mrs. Jeanne Deocampo was also elected delegate to the UMC General Conference in 1996. Dr. Rody Lucero was an alternate lay delegate to the General Conference in 2000 and 2004. She was also appointed member of the Board of Director of the General Board of Higher and Ordained Ministry since 2000 to the present. Mr. Victoriano Lozano was also elected as annual conference lay leader in 2004 and is also the elected lay delegate of our conference to the coming General Conference on April 2008 at Fort Worth Texas, USA.
Today the First United Methodist Church of Davao City continues to nurture and build her own fellowship, improve its facilities, develop a strong lay leadership and increase its membership. As a vital Methodist congregation our local church continues to relevantly proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and express God’s love through her various ministries. A free Medical and Dental clinic to the poor has become a yearly activity. We continue to give scholarship to candidates for the ministry studying at Southern Philippines Methodist Colleges, Mindanao Methodist Bible School and the Wesley Divinity School. Our scholars the past years included the following: Edison Umayam Jr., Daisy Villegas, Rosemie Laman, Romeo Salutan, Kevin Nebran, Eleonor Tumale, Melvin Serrano, and Ike Pama.
The United Methodist School of Davao continues to become competitive in offering quality education affordable to the poor families in Davao City. Our school also continues to give scholarship to poor and qualified pupils. Our local church facilities continue to serve local, district, and annual conference gatherings. The FUMC Task force looks forward the next few years to helping Compostela United Methodist Church build a bigger sanctuary and a parsonage.
As a vital and relevant Methodist Congregation, the FUMC constituency looks forward in mission to birthing another daughter for the honor and glory of God.
( Dec. 2, 2007, FUMC)