Below is a communication from retired Bishop Leo Soriano who was requested by the PCC College of Bishop to make a study on the qualifications of local pastors who can vote for the election of delegates to the PCC and General conference. The election of delegates shall be done by the 2015 annual conference.


Some of you have been asking about Local Pastors.

Local Pastors are clergy members of the Annual Conference, and therefore, should be included in the Roll of Conference members.

However, there is a qualification. For a local pastor to be included in the List, and have the privilege of voting for delegates to the General and Central Conferences, he or she must:

1) Serve under full time appointment for at least two consecutive years
before the 2015 Annual Conference Session.
2) Have finished M.Div. or a Conference Course of Study.

Retired local pastors are not to be included and counted. There are at least two reasons for this:

1) If he/she is retired it means that he/she is not under full time
2) A local pastor when retired, reverts to a lay status.

Those of you who have already submitted your list, please check on the remarks above.

For further inquiries and clarifications, we will try our best to respond to it. If it is short, you may just use the cp. My number is 09177008491.


Bishop Leo

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Summerland, Dumoy, Davao City
January 16, 2000

Mission is the heart of the church. Central United Methodist Church, Davao city, is a local church with a heart of mission. One of the goal of her mission is to establish local United Methodist Churches in Davao City.

The vision for a local United Methodist Church here in Toril, Davao City, was conceived by the Rev. & Mrs. Francisco Bilog who were then Pastor and Deaconess of the Davao Central United Methodist Church. During the Annual Conference of 1997, Toril was proposed as one of the Frontier Areas of the East Mindanao Philippines Annual Conference, to be sponsored by the Davao Central United Methodist Church and the District Conference. The Mission work covers the district of Talomo, Dumoy and Toril. Mrs. Dinah Serrano was appointed as Missionary to Toril under the Charge Conference of Davao Central United Methodist Church.

The missionary work started with a geographical, physical and statistical survey of the area made by Mrs. Dinah Serrano together with Rev. & Mrs. Francisco Bilog. The goal of the survey was to find a point of entry in order to establish a center for the mission work. God, however, had gone ahead of the survey. He has prepared the way by touching the heart of the Reinante and Torrelavega families to offer us their place located at Summerland, Dumoy, Toril to be the venue of the mission work.

Consultations made with the people of the area resulted in the decision to make education as a priority in the mission work. It also worked as our point of entry into the life of the community. Thus a day care school room was built with materials and labor provided by the Central United Methodist Church at the compound of Gen. & Mrs. Jose Proceso Torrelavega.

As a deaconess-teacher, Mrs. Dinah Serrano surveyed and canvassed pre-school children on nearby subdivisions. Thus in August 7, 1997 a day care class of 13 pupils was formally opened with Php 50.00 monthly donation for the center. Aside from the week-day pre-school school, home visitation, and Bible study was done in the homes of the Day-Care parents and prospect.

On November 28, 1998, during the Charge Conference of the Central United Methodist Church Mrs. Caridad Reinante expressed her intention to donate a 300 square meter lot to the United Methodist Church to be the proposed church lot of Toril local church.
The offer was confirmed by her daughter, Mrs. Virginia Torrelavega and was accepted by the Davao Central United Methodist Church. The lot was surveyed and approved by the Bureau of Land in preparation for the formal donation document to be made by the Reinante family.

A worshipping congregation started to meet for worship last January 10,1999 at the residence of Mrs. Caridad Reinante, with the Rev. Delfin Andres preaching the first sermon. The first congregation that attended the first worship service consisted of the following:
Mrs. Virginia Torrelavega and children, Rev. & Mrs. Leo Soriano and family,
Rev. & Mrs. Delfin Andres and family, Mrs. Juliet Buscagan and children,
Mrs. Terry Sendiong and son, Mrs. Alice Basiliote & Children,
Dr. Shana Rolida, Mrs. Ana Aben
Mrs. Dinah Serrano.
After a month of worshipping at the house of Mrs. Reinante, the congregation have seen the need for a bigger place for worship. During the following month of March 1999, the congregation decided to build a multipurpose building. The Davao Central United Methodist Church, the Parents-Teacher Fellowship of the Day-Care and the Toril congregation shared their resources to put up the present building with the cost of Php 31,000.00.

During the Conference year 1999-2000, the Day Care Center now called Methodist Learning Center enrolled 60 pre-school pupils which increased to 90 with Mrs. Dinah Serrano, Ms. Ma. Crispina Ando as teachers, with Ms.Shirley Buscagan as teacher-aide. The PTF under the leadership of its President Mr. Carlito Saratao made significant contribution to the improvement of the Center. The Rev. Francisco Bilog and Ms. ElizabethManzano conducted weekly Bible Study with the parents of the Learning Center.
In March 14, 1999, the worshipping congregation elected a local council for purpose of guiding and supporting the mission work in Toril. The officers are:
Chairperson- Mrs. Virginia Torrelavega
Vice, Chairperson- Mrs. Letty Andres
Secretary- Ms. Shirley Ann Buscagan
Treasurer- Ms. Dania Soriano
Auditor Mr. David Lastimosa
Workers: Mrs. Dinah serrano
Rev. Delfin Andres
Rev. Leo Soriano

The congregation continued to grow in attendance to include the following: the families of Lachica, Rabaya, Pragados, Barez, Miguel, Ando, Asilum, Ibanez, Onez, Grado, Salavia, Agustins, and Rabut.

Our congregation was honored to have several distinguished lay and Ministers preached in our worship this year. To mention, they are: Rev. Delfin Andres, Rev. Leo Soriano, Ms. Chita Framo, D.S. Mirasol Villalon, DS Pedro Duroon, Atty. Daniel E. Gadia, DS Jonathan Ulpindo, Rev. Josue Guzman. Mrs. Dinah Serrano occasionally preach while Rev. Francisco Bilog on every special event in the life of the congregation.

The Sunday School for children and adults has become a regular Sunday activity. Visitation and Bible Studies on Sunday afternoon are also conducted. Vacation Church school also became a regular summer activity with classes here in Domoy and extension at Alambre Toril.

Our congregation hosted the MED District Planning meeting in June 1999 and MED-UMYAF meeting in July 1999.

The MLC-PTF through their officers under the leadership of its president, Mrs. Rosita Vergara continues to be of great help in the development of the facilities and programs of the school.

During the Conference Year 1999-2000 the congregation was encouraged to develop their mission program and approved a local budget for its support with a substantial financial subsidy from the mother church.

The Davao Central United Methodist being the mother and sponsoring church through the church council is committed to give her presence, moral and financial support until Toril Church can stand on her own to carry God’s missionary work in this part of Davao City.

Today, as we celebrate the first year anniversary of the Toril local worshipping congregation, let us thank God for what He has done in and through people who made our church a living, and vital community of the faith for God’s and honor and glory.

Prepared by Mrs. Dinah Serrano, Toril Missionary Worker
Noted by Rev. Francisco Bilog, DCUMC, Administrative Pastor

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Young United Methodists Reject Gay Marriage
By John Lomperis, July 23, 2014
Published at: JUICY ECUMENISM, The Institute on Religion & Democracy Blog

The once-every-four-years global assembly of United Methodist youths, young adults, and adults in ministry with young people was held July 16-20 in the Philippines.

Among other things, the Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly (GYPCLA) spent several hours debating and voting on ten proposed petitions to General Conference.

Three of these very clearly and directly addressed the question of church approval of homosexual practice. One would have changed the official United Methodist definition of marriage from being a covenant between one man and one woman to such a covenant between “two persons.” Another would have deleted our binding denominational prohibition on services to pronounce God’s blessing upon homosexual unions. And another would have deleted the declaration in the UMC Social Principles that homosexual practice is inherently “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

All three of these were considered, debated, and rejected by votes of this one multicultural, multilingual group of slightly over 100 United Methodists, despite significant, vocal support for each.

This reverses the trend of the first two GYPCLAs, which both adopted homosexual-practice-affirming petitions. The first GYPCLA was held in South Africa in 2006 and the second was in Germany in 2010. The quadrennial event is organized by the Division on Ministries with Young People of the UMC’S General Board of Discipleship.

These recent votes also rebut the rather unnuanced claims some (generally older) people frequently make about how the church “has to” divorce itself from biblical and historic Christian teachings in order to pander to what “young adults” or “our young people” believe.

Of course, the proper response to such claims must not stoop to equally unnuanced, mirror-image rhetoric suggesting that all “young people” are a biblically orthodox monolith.

The fact is that no one person, group, or view represents everyone in my generation of Americans, let alone around the world. This holds true whether we are speaking about only young people within our denomination, those in all Christian churches, or those who have not yet experienced the radical, supernatural transformation of one’s values, direction, and very self that comes with Christian conversion. (The usual failure of people making let’s-change-the-church’s-sexual-values-to-pander-to-young-people arguments to make such distinctions is rather revealing.)

In any case, the vote totals from GYPCLA 2014 reveal that redefining marriage was ultimately rejected by quite the multicultural coalition of young United Methodists from Africa, America, Eurasia, and the Philippines.

I hope United Methodist denominational officials will remember this the next time they discuss reaching young people alongside questions related to biblical standards for sexual self-control.

Other highlights of the conference included other petitions, interactions with UMC general agency staff, workshops, worship, missionary commissioning, struggles with the increasingly global nature of our denomination, and a major typhoon.

Stay tuned for a fuller report after I have settled back in the United States.

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Five Signs to Recognize a PK
July 22, 2014 Rev. Dr. Neki A. Soriano

There are many Preachers’ Kids (Pks) scattered all over. But the difficult life of being PKs pushed them to master the skill of adapting to their environment that you will not recognize PKs unless they tell you. A PK would just look like any ordinary person that, if within a group, it will be difficult to distinguish one from the rest. PKs now capitalize on their camouflage and shy away from the great expectation that goes with the label. I should know. But I will give you some tips that will help you recognize a PK when you see one. Here are 5 signs that will make you suspect a person is a PK.

1. He comes early to church but sits at the back pew. You would expect a PK to seat in the front pew, or lead worship, if he is not already in the choir. But by the time the PK can go to church by himself, he will no longer go to his preacher-parent’s church. Yes, he will go to another church where he will not be compelled to lead the Sunday School.123 But he remains a good church member: coming early to church, singing hymns with the congregation, kneeling in the rails to pray, and giving wholeheartedly his tithes. But because he is not musically inclined, and not a born leader and speaker, too, he abhors being in front, and so he sits at the back pew of the church and pretends no one sees him.

2. She works in the corporate world. The great expectation for a PK is to become a deaconess, if not also a pastor. Since her childhood, she was called “the little deaconess” whenever she tags along her preacher-parent. She has the talent and skill typical of a church worker. She is a born leader. When she started teaching Sunday School as a youth, people were sure what course she will take in college. So she took up business management and now works with a multinational company. She still goes to church regularly and is actively involved in the children’s ministry of the church.

3. He loves to party on Friday nights. Yes, he knows how to party. He has a social life unexpected for a PK. As a young adult, a PK lives a social life like any ordinary young adult. He balances work and play. But when he parties, he parties hard. You think he parties too much he does not find time to attend midweek prayer meetings or other church activities. He loves to hang out with friends, go bar hopping, and attend other social events. Like his friends, he drinks occasionally. He may even puff a cigarette or two. Whenever he is under a lot of stress in school or work, he goes to see a movie to unwind with his friends. Most of his friends are in the church young people’s group.

4. She is not an honor student. A PK is expected to perform well academically. Very well. Anything short of that expectation and she is a failure. So you will be surprised to know that the PK is not a consistent honor student. She may perfect some exams in her favorite subject but she has never cracked the top ten in her class. Most PKs belong to your average students. She may even sometimes fail in her exams but she is smart…street smart. She is also good in sports. No, not volleyball. Extreme sports like rock climbing or cross-country are her thing. Yes, she does a lot of unexpected things for a PK.

5. He is a sinner. You expect a PK to be the epitome of a perfect Christian. But he knows he is not perfect, yet he strives for Christian perfection. He acknowledges he is a sinner and have come short of the glory of God. Like any other Christian, he struggles in life and stumbles often. He has broken all the Ten Commandments, seriously. He would have broken the eleventh or twelfth commandment if there was one. When he commits a sin, it becomes magnified. He only hopes that when God forgives him, it also magnifies God’s grace for the people to see. And in his imperfect life, people will not see the PK but witness a great God at work to change him and wash away all his sins. You will know a PK because, like any other Christian, he strives to be holy as his Father in heaven is holy.

Rev. Dr. Neki A. Soriano is a 2nd generation PK; both his parents are PKs. He is a doctor by profession, but a pastor by vocation. He is married to his beautiful wife, Ghie. They have two kids, Neya and Ken, who are 3rd generation PKs. Dr. Neki wants to guide them in their own PK journey.

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Toughest Questions for Growing Up PKs
July 28, 2014 Amen Quizon

What is the difference between a polygon and a right triangle? When the moon passes in front of the sun, what kind of eclipse happens? What was the church hymn sang by the four-stringed quartet while the Titanic was sinking?

While these questions may really be tricky for most of us, these don’t even come at the tail of a Pastor’s Kid’s (PKs) list of toughest questions. Ironically, many questions that other people deem too easy are probably among the most difficult ones a PK encounters day in and out. I have listed some of these questions myself. I hope that after reading them, you will never ask these questions to PKs again (haha!), and you will learn of PKs’ seemingly simple but unique and interesting plight.

1. Taga-saan kayo? (Where is your homeplace?

While this question might be a no-brainer for many, this is probably one of the most difficult, and unfortunately, one of the most frequent questions a PK faces while growing up. A pastor’s work requires him to move places every now and then as he was being assigned to one church after another. And with the pastor comes his family. It’s already considered lucky (or blessed, rather) that a pastor’s family will not have to move place in two years. Filling out a form that requires a “home address” is a real head-scratch for a PK. Technically, a pastor’s family always has a house to stay in, but essentially they are nomads. Here in the Philippines they are known as NPA (no permanent address). So, when you ask someone, probably a friend, about where his or her homeplace is and you get a winding enumeration of several places with a matching explanation for each, then probably your friend is a PK, and you ARE giving him a tough time.

2. Saan ka nag-aral? (What school did you attend?)

Since a pastor’s family moves a lot, it follows that his children also transfer schools—a lot. Forms, especially those requiring the most detailed information like in college entrance and work records, normally has a note at the top of “schools attended” telling a person to use another sheet if needed. For us PKs, using another sheet to complete the list of schools we attended is not an option but necessary, otherwise we will hand in an incomplete information. So when you ask a PK which school he or she went to, you will probably get an answer like “What grade?” or “Do you mean where I graduated from?” When a PK answers a question for a question, there are only three reasons: he refuses to answer, he’s not sure of the answer, or he’s not sure of the question

3. Ano’ng trabaho ng tatay mo? (What is your father’s profession?)

Learning that your father’s occupation is a Preacher or Minister will give that background investigator from the university and human resource officer at the company with an automatic wrinkled forehead and a confused look. Not because they consider a pastor’s job a lowly one (I hope), but because of the realization that there’s actually a job like that. A fulltime service in the ministry is a divine calling, that’s why there are not as much pastors as there are lawyers or teachers or doctors around. And to top it all, many are surprised (or shocked, should I say) that a pastor can marry, and more shockingly, have kids.

4. Anak ka ng pari?? (You are a child of a priest??)

In connection to number 3, the probable reasons why many are surprised learning that a PK is a child of a religious worker is because of our predominantly catholic society. Priests is to the catholic church as pastors is to the protestant church, and many people just do not see any difference between the two. And many still are not even familiar with the term ‘pastor.’ Except for certain catholic denominations where priests and nuns are allowed to marry, the big difference between priests and pastors aside from their religious institution is that the former is bounded by vow of physical chastity and the latter is allowed to enter into marriage. Just to make my point clear, a PK is not a priest’s kid.

5. Bakit sa simbahan kayo nakatira? (Why do you live in the church?)

Churches usually provide houses or quarters, called parsonage, for the use of their workers. A parsonage can be inside the church compound, and it can well be outside (a house is called a parsonage whether inside or outside the church perimeters as long as it is provided by the church for their clergyman), but normally, it’s inside. When a PK heads home on the first day of school with new found friends, they are amazed, if not bewildered, that their new classmate actually lives in a church. But then again, the PK will be quick to say that they don’t actually live inside the church. They live in a house inside the church compound.

This brought me back to an experience a few years ago. Applying for student financial assistance in college, I had to describe (and even draw!) in detail how our house looked like. I thought for a moment to draw the church steeple hoping in that way the scholarship committee will be filled with mercy and give the grant. (Besides, I’m not sure what to draw. We live in this house for free, but we don’t own it, or any house we lived in.) Today I still wish I had done it.

6. Bakit hindi kayo nagsa-sign of the cross? (Why aren’t you making the sign of the cross?)

Most of PKs went or are going to public schools, which more often than not hold religion classes (by the way, it’s called ‘religion class’ but only Christianity from the catholic orientation is the one being taught). I still remember Sister Regina in my 5th and 6th grades who came to my school everyday to lead the class in reciting the rosary and then discuss a certain sacrament for about one hour. She tells the class that those who aren’t catholic may not participate. I was the only non-catholic, so instead of not participating, I’d stay and listen (and, well, participate).

I stand up when everybody’s being asked to stand up, and I read when everybody’s being asked to read. Everything they do and say and believed in seemed to be close to what I was taught at home and in church. It’s just that in the church and at home, I was taught how to pray in terms of content and not so much of the manner by which I should pray. Catholics have to make the sign of the cross before and after their prayer, while I was taught to pray away—simply, directly, genuinely. To my classmates, teachers, and Sister Regina who persistently asked before but never got an answer because I didn’t know where to start.

7. Ligtas ka na ba? (Are you saved?)

PKs get this question not from their preacher-parent, nor friends, nor church, but from someone whom God used to let the PK realize that salvation does not come from having preacher dad or mom. Yes, PKs were born and raised in the church and learned to pray even before they learned to utter complete sentences. Some may even be as good in the Bible as their parents are, and memorize more Bible verses and stories than any of his or her friends. A PK is practically a church body. But when the question hits, it hits hard, rock-bottom.

Realizing the truth that no one can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ (John 14:6)—not the ministry involvement nor knowledge of the Bible nor upright living nor being a preacher’s child, all of which a PK is convicted of—the PK recognizes both his ordinariness and sinfulness. He receives Christ’s love and forgiveness and justice, and allows the Holy Spirit to use his present circumstances and abilities for God’s honor and glory.

Amen Quizon is 6th among seven children of a pastor and a deaconess. She is a researcher in the corporate world, and a seeker in the heavenly world. She embraces her not-yet-married status, but sets her heart to having a family and raising kids who love Jesus.

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Tagum United Methodist church will conclude their one month celebration of their 60th Founding Anniversary this coming July 27, 2014.
I am posting a brief history of this church which was publish during their 54th Anniversary. So this history is not updated.

Brief History of Methodism in Tagum City
The beginning of Methodism in Tagum started with the coming of several Methodist members from Luzon who became land settlers and or to assume a job in Mindanao. Because of the Comity agreement of the Mission Boards they were directed to join an evangelical church in Tagum. To name a few of those Methodist who settled in Tagum are the Estabillos, Ravaras, Mangaoangs, Guiangs, and Castrence.

The official start of the Methodist work in Magugpo (now Tagum) began when the Rev. Calixto Garibay was sent by Bishop Jose L. Valencia to start the Methodist work in the Davao Provinces. He left Manila on July 24, 1951 and arrived in Davao on July 31. He was received by the Castrence family. His first pastoral appointment in Mindanao was to start Methodist work in Magugpo and Nabunturan in 1952, while serving as a traveling elder. During the early days of his work in Magugpo he met the following who were former Methodists in Luzon but were now attending other evangelical churches in the area:
Castrence Manuel Eusebio Balcitas Tioaquen Tugades
Ibanez Casas Galiano Feredos Ravara<br
Caranza Sumajit Caras Nitchas Estabillo<br

Some of those mentioned remained in their adopted churches but others decided to return to the Methodist church thus starting a core group that became a Methodist congregation.
The Rev. Calixto Garibay reported as traveling elder the following churches that were organized in Magugpo:
Libertad Methodist Church (Magugpo East)
Organized on Sept. 14, 1952 by the Rev. Calixto Garibay.
First Pastor: Pastor. Limerio Garibay

Mankilam Methodist Church (Magugpo West)
Organized on Sept. 26, 1952 by Rev. Calixto Garibay
First Pastor: Pastor Cordero Garibay

Magugpo Methodist Church (Magugpo Central, now Tagum)
Organized July 4, 1954 by Rev. Calixto Garibay
First Pastor Rev. Calixto Garibay
First Woman worker: Rufinena Garibay

Cuambugan Methodist Church (Magugpo)
Organized on Feb. 6,1955, by Pastor Aurelio Tioaquen
First Pastor: Pastor Aurelio Tioaquen

A small church building was built in 1954, followed by two storey building which served as a parsonage. In 1955 the present church lot was bought from the Tugades where a permanent church building was constructed in 1959. In 1971 a hollow block fenced was constructed around the church. By October of 1972 a semi-bungalow type parsonage was built and was dedicated on December. 1972 by the Rev. Limerio Garibay. This was followed by the construction of a two room toilet on the backside of the parsonage.

In 1976 Pastor. Luviminda Domingo started a kindergarten work. By the end of the conference year 1978 the District reported that Tagum Church has a well established kindergarten program.

An extension work in Misaoy began in October 24, 1982 and a temporary chapel was built for worship meeting place in Dec. 23, 1983. For unknown reason the worshipping congregation was discontinued around 1985.. The work however was continued again in 1989 only to be stop in 1991.

Our present altar table was acquired in 1988. The church building had major renovation and was rededicated on March 28,1992. In 1995 a concrete fence with interlinked wire was constructed in front of the church. The altar of the church was also renovated during the early part of 2002.

At the start of the conference year 2002 the church started envisioning a Mission Resource Complex. Using a multipurpose kindergarten room built in 2001 as a base, a two storey building will be constructed to accommodate the mission program of the church in the years to come. Today another room was added in this Mission Resource Complex. The construction will continue as the Lord provides until it will be completed.

While putting priority on the physical features of the church for its mission work, Tagum UMC also continued a dynamic mission of planting a daughter church. We gave birth to a daughter church, the New Corrella United Methodist Church last March 2002.. We are praying and seeking for God’s guidance for another mission field near or within Tagum that is open for great possibilities.

The following are the list of Church workers that served our church.

Year Pastor Deaconess/Woman worker
1954- 1963 Calixto Garibay / Rufinena Garibay
1963- 1964 Camilo Tabiendo / Epenita Tomas
1964-1965 Benjamin Macadenden / Epenita Tomas
1965-1966 Rufinena G. Sanchez / Luviminda Guzman
1966-1967 Rufinena Sanchez / Alice Tabiendo
1967-1968 Anacleto Castillo<br
1968-1969 Amado Pidut<br
1969-1970 To be Supplied / Lydia Duroon<br
1970-1971 To be Supplied / Marina Rufino<br
1971-1972 Federico Sanchez
1972-2974 Bienvenido Hayag
1974-1975 Bonifacio Buduan/ Alfeo Ancheta
1975-1979 Luviminda G. Domingo
1979-1980 To be Supplied / Illuminada Napoles<br
1980-1982 To be Supplied
1982-1984 Rogelio Porquillo / Corazon Melgar<br
1984-1985 Luviminda Domingo / Corazon Melgar
1985-1986 Manuel Zambrano** / Corazon M. Deloso
1986-1987 To be Supplied / Corazon M. Deloso
1987-1988 Delfin Andres / Corazon M. Deloso
1988-1989 Leonardo Pama / Noemi Galvadores
1989-1990 James Perocillo / Corazon Cesario<
1990-1991 James Perocillo / Marjorie Ulanday
1991-1992 Renato Miguel / To be Supplied
1992-1993- Jimmy Bigaran / Marjorie Ulanday
1993-1994 Jimmy Bigaran / Marlita Maregmen
1995-1996 Jimmy Bigaran / Marlita Maregmen
1996-1997 Hector Guzman / Marlita Maregmen
1997-1999 Hector Guzman
1999-2000 Jonathan Ulanday / Marjorie P. Ulanday*
2000-2001 Jonathan Ulanday / Marjorie P. Ulanday*
2001-2002 James Perocillo / Marjorie P. Ulanday*
2002-2003 Francisco Bilog / Marjorie P. Ulanday*
2003-2004 Francisco Bilog / Fidela L. Bilog
* Woman Worker by Local Arrangement
. ** Appointed pastor but did not assume his appointment.

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4 Reasons Why Some Preachers Get Better and Others Don’t
Hershael York
Date Published: 7/18/2014

I often have to answer the strangest question anyone could ask a preaching professor: “Do you think preaching can be taught?” I always want to respond, “No, I’m just going through the motions for the money.” Of course I never do, not only because it’s best not to say the smart aleck things I sometimes think, but because I know what they mean when they ask. It’s not really an unfair question.

No one denies that a preaching class and some coaching can help anyone become better. What we question is the possibility that someone with no natural giftedness and ability can be taught well enough that he can become really good.

For the last 16 years I’ve sat in a seminary classroom, listening to student sermons on an almost daily basis, and I’ve heard every kind of sermon and every level of preacher.

I’ve seen guys so nervous that they had to stop and vomit during the sermon, and I’ve been so moved by a student’s sermon that I felt I had been ushered into the presence of the risen Christ. I’ve seen guys who were no better the fifth time they preached for me than they were the first time, but I’ve seen guys whose initial sermon was depressingly awful turn it around so radically by the end of the semester that I almost couldn’t recognize them as the same preacher.

On the first day of the semester, or the first time I hear a student preach, I have no way of knowing if he has what it takes or is willing to do what he must to be the preacher he needs to be, but I can usually tell by the second sermon if he does, because that is when he has to act on what I told him after his first sermon.

What makes the difference?

1. Calling
The most frustrated preacher is the one who has a sense of duty, but not a burning calling.

Preaching is not just another helping profession, a Christian version of politics or the Peace Corps. The call to preach is a definite demand issued by the Holy Spirit that ignites a fire in one’s bones that cannot be extinguished by the hard-hearted, stiff-necked or dull of hearing.

preacher who has been called must preach what God has spoken simply because God has spoken it. The success of one’s ministry will depend on the strength of his calling. His willingness to work at his preaching will be proportional to his conviction that God has called him to preach and to be as fit a vessel for God’s use as he can be.

The Holy Spirit must undergird everything else from preparation to delivery, and that will not happen apart from that calling.

2. Teachability
Being a preaching professor is like getting paid to tell a mother that her baby is ugly. It might be the truth, but it’s not a truth anyone wants to hear.

Most guys I have taught dread my comments and cringe when I tell them they missed the point of the text or seemed unprepared. They tire of hearing me tell them they lacked energy or failed to establish a connection with the audience.

Every now and then, however, someone smiles gratefully as I offer corrections and suggestions.

Someone may even say, “I want you to be really tough on me. Tell me everything I’m doing wrong, because I really want to do this well.” That guy is going to be fine, because his spirit is teachable and he’s willing to pay the cost of personal discomfort in order to be effective. He understands that he is a vessel in service of the text, and his feelings are not the point.

3. Passion

Almost all my students are passionate about Christ, about reaching the lost and about the Word of God. The problem is not that they don’t feel passionate, but rather that they do not show passion. What I feel is never the point, whether good or bad, but rather how I act.

If my delivery of the Word does not convey that passion, then my audience will not be moved to be passionate about it either. The prophets were all passionate. The apostles were passionate. Jesus was passionate. Why else would farmers, fishermen and housewives come and stand in the Galilean sun for hours just to hear Him?

I once heard a missionary preach at the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference. He was dynamite, preaching a great expository sermon with incredible energy and moving the entire audience by his treatment of the Word and his testimony of baptizing tens of thousands of Africans. Astonished by his great preaching, I approached him and held out my hand to introduce myself.
“Hershael,” he said, shocking me that he knew my name, “we went to seminary together.” Embarrassed, I admitted that I did not remember him. “You had no reason to,” he explained. “I was very quiet, never spoke in class and never went out of my way to meet anyone.” I asked him to explain what happened.

When I got on the mission field, no one would listen to my preaching of the gospel. I was putting them to sleep. When I came stateside and preached in churches, they were bored to tears. Finally, I realized that the only way to be effective was to preach the Word in the way it deserved to be preached, so I became willing to go beyond my natural personality and comfort zone and allow God to make me effective. I prayed for the Word to so grip me in the pulpit that I would never be boring again.”

Teachability led him to show a passion that was not natural to his introverted personality. It was supernatural.

4. Reckless Abandon<
The generation of students I now teach have grown up with the written word—on screens, smart phones, blogs, Kindles and now iPads. Through video games they have raced cars, built civilizations, won wars, destroyed zombies and killed hundreds.

They communicate orally far less than any previous generation, and when they do so, they typically do it with less passion. Yet God still uses the preaching of His Word—an oral event—to edify the church, encourage the saints and engage the lost.

So to preach the Word, a young man has to be willing to get completely out of the comfortable cocoon he’s built in his personality and habits, and recklessly abandon himself to risk being a fool for Christ.

I tell my students, “That little voice inside your head saying ‘That’s just not who I am’ is not your friend. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit overcomes ‘who I am’ and shapes me into who He wants me to be. So if I need to preach with a reckless abandon that is foreign to my natural way, I will beg the Holy Spirit to help me do it for Christ.

Pay the Price<

Frankly, very few students I teach fail to get the meaning of the text. They often demonstrate an exegetical and hermeneutical sophistication that astounds me. They are serious about the Word.

But they make the mistake of thinking that if they just feel that way, and if they just say the words, the preaching will take care of itself. And if they keep thinking that, if they insist on “data dump” sermons that just concentrate on the content and not also on the delivery, there’s not much I can do for them. They will be the kind of preachers they want to be.

But if someone has a burning calling, a teachable spirit, a passionate heart and a reckless abandon to pay the price to preach well, then not even the limitation of their own background, personality or natural talents will keep them from preaching the Word of God with power.

Hershael W. York is the Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Preaching and Associate Dean in the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He also serves as Senior Pastor of the Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, KY, and co-wrote Preaching with Bold Assurance (Broadman and Holman, 2003) with communications expert Bert Decker, chairman and founder of Decker Communications. In addition to his writing, teaching, and pastoring ministries, he usually ventures deep in the Amazon at least once a year to fish for men and the elusive peacock bass.

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8 Things the Church Needs to Say
July 15, 2014 By Religion News Service 68 Comments

8thingsthechurchneedstosay(RNS) If Christians stopped bickering about church, presenting sex as a first-order concern, telling other people how to lead their lives and lending our name to minor-league politicians, what would we have to say?

We need to figure that out, because we are wearing out our welcome as tax-avoiding, sex-obsessed moral scolds and amateur politicians.

In fact, I think we are getting tired of ourselves. Who wants to devote life and loyalty to a religion that debates trifles and bullies the outsider?

So what would we say and do? No one thing, of course, because we are an extraordinarily diverse assembly of believers. But I think there are a few common words we would say.

We would say the name “Jesus.” We might mean different things by that name, but he is the center, the reason we exist.
Allowing ample room for our diversity, we would say what we mean by faith in God. Not how right we are and how wrong others are, but an I-message: Here’s why I believe in God.
We would tell stories about God’s impact on our lives. Not grand doctrines, not airtight theories, not definitions of who’s inside the circle and who’s outside, but stories of personal encounter.
We would listen to other stories, respectfully, not defensively, eager to hear what our fellow Christian has to say.
We would each tell as honestly as we can how we are trying to lead our lives in the light of our encounters and stories. We would sketch the bridge between faith and action.

We would tell what we see in the world — not in the woe-is-me, sky-is-falling, Satan-is-winning manner people expect from us, but just what we see and how we think God cares about it.
We would speak of hope, a durable, solid-rock hope that God is God, and God can use us to make a difference.
We would talk of joy. Not giddiness, not even happiness, as the world understands happiness, but that deeper response to God that feels whole and peaceful.

Personally, I think these eight things are what we ache to say. They are why we walked in the door of a church in the first place. They are why we stay, despite abundant reasons for leaving.

Everyone has a theory about “why people are leaving the church,” “why millennials don’t come to church,” “why churches are dying” and “what’s wrong with society.
Personally, I think we should stop worrying about institutional outcomes — especially outcomes that we hope will prove we were right all along — and try instead just to be hopeful, joyful, active people of faith.

I think we should take our parts in the great political debates — power and wealth, after all, were Jesus’ primary concern — but then agree that, whether I
gets elected, God will still grieve our cruelties and sufferings, and we will all have much work to do as believers.
Whatever the label — progressive or conservative, contemporary or traditional, denominational or nondenominational — we will each have something unique and necessary to contribute.
There is more binding us than dividing us. For division comes from our small and selfish places. Binding comes from God.

Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He is the president of Morning Walk Media and publisher of Fresh Day online magazine. His website is http://www.morningwalkmedia.com.)

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Church of England to vote on allowing women bishops

Church of England to vote on allowing women bishops

BREAKING. The Church of England (the mother church of the Wesleyan movement) has now voted to allow women bishops. http://news.yahoo.com/church-england-vote-allowing-women-bishops-030528188.html

UPDATED: The British Methodist Church welcome the news.
The Rev. Ken Howcroft, president of the Methodist Conference, said: “We rejoice in the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopacy. We recognise that this has been a long and difficult process and that, for some, it is a painful decision. We will continue to keep everyone in the Church of England in our prayers. The Methodist Church has long benefitted from the equality of ministry between men and women. We are confident that our Church of England brothers and sisters will be similarly blessed as a result of today’s courageous decision.”

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Young adults head to the Philippines for missionary training and commissioning
July 11, 2014 By UMReporter Leave a Comment


NEW YORK, Ny: This week, 42 young adults from 11 countries have gathered in the Philippines to get ready for service as Generation Transformation Global Mission Fellows.

On July 19, 2014, they will respond to God’s call on their life when they are commissioned by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. They will be sent to serve for two years with organizations in 15 countries, sharing God’s love through acts of mercy and piety.

In preparation, they are spending three weeks being trained by mission staff — engaging in prophetic, vocational exploration while living together in a faith community. This year, the training will coincide with The United Methodist Church’s Global Young People Convocation. The fellows will participate in the convocation as non-voting delegates and will be commissioned in Tagaytay, Philippines, as part of the Convocation.


Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Annual Conference, who is the president of Global Ministries, will preach at the service on July 19 at 8 a.m. local time (July 18 at 8 p.m. ET). United Methodists and friends are invited to watch the commissioning live at http://www.umcmission.org/live and share messages of encouragement. Follow @umcmissionGT on Twitter for training and commissioning updates.

Please keep these young adults in prayer along with the communities they will serve. Financial support can be made through their individual bio pages or through The Advance #13105z.

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