Covenant Partnership Celebration and Fellowship | IFI, UCCP, IUE

Members of three covenant churches, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), and the Iglesia Unida Ekyumenical (IUE), together gathered at the IFI Conference Center on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in fellowship and celebration of their covenant partnerships. These three churches are also member-churches of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

With the theme, "Do good and seek justice," (Isa.1:17), these three churches increased their level of appreciation through a festive liturgical celebration and historical orientation of their respective churches. The participants were led by the Rt. Rev. Vicente Salvador Ballesteros (DGMA-IFI), President Raoul Victorino (IUE), and the Rev. Fernando Saria (South Manila Conference-UCCP).

The DGMA Diocesan Bishop Ballesteros gave the keynote message on the theme of the gathering. He explained that "being good was not enough in serving God's divine justice." "Being better than just good is important especially in serving the poor and the needy. Prayer is the backbone of Christianity but active service to help others is the most important. The IFI, like the UCCP, is involved in seeking justice for the workers. In its mission and ministry, the IFI, as rooted in its history, is involved in the pursuit of justice and freedom religiously, politically, culturally, and socially." "Divine justice is the life face of love – how much is done to the lost, the least, and the needy in the Name of Christ." (Mt. 25)

Starting at 10:00 am, the festivity began with the Rev. Aileen Aguilar (IFI) saying the opening prayer, followed by the Rev. Erahvilla Maga-Cabillas (IFI-DGMA) explaining the purpose of the gathering through a brief BTR based on the theme from Isaiah 1:17. The Rev. Erwin Toledo (IUE) read the Scriptural reading from Isaiah 1:12-18.

Familiarizations of the covenant churches' backgrounds were given through audio-visual presentations of the heads of churches. Starting with President/Doctor Victorino's witty background explanation on the IUE, the historical roots were traced to the Evangelical Methodist group, then leading to its separation as an independent church unit later, and focusing on the church locations and their leaders. He also introduced his clergy/ministers in the audience.

The UCCP delegation headed by the Rev. Fernando Saria, conference minister of the Lowland Cavite South Manila Conference, followed suit with the UCCP video presentation of its historical background and church locations plus their respective pastors or ministers. Similarly, the clergy and other leaders in the audience were individually introduced.

The DGMA-IFI was the last to show its video presentation of the historical roots of the IFI and the emergence of the Diocese of Greater Manila Area as the premier diocese of the IFI prior to World War II. Rising from the devastations of the War, the diocese had struggled to regain its footing amidst the struggles in leadership and other challenges facing it. Bishop Buddy also introduced his clergy persons present in the audience.

The musical intermission was provided by the UCCP's Middle Luzon Jurisdiction Choir. Capping the brief celebration was the awarding of Certificates of Appreciation handed to the heads of churches. After the photo-ops, the delegations (numbering some 60 participants) sat down to a simple lunch in the adjacent room where the exchange of pleasantries continued.



Pin It