I am posting here the latest development in the UMC crisis in the Philippines. Below is an article that analyzes what is the meaning and implication of the the incorporation of the self-declared autonomous Methodist group.
SEARCHLIGHTS OF TRUTH
Concerned Laity of the Philippines Central Conference, UMC, Manila
Call No. 1, Series of 2012 (January 2)NOW IT CAN BE TOLD
A new religious corporation, “Ang Iglesia Metodista Sa Pilipinas, Inc. (AIMPI)” could be the latest religious corporation to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Its certificate of incorporation was approved only on December 7, 2011. The newly registered religious corporation proclaims itself as an “independent church” as succinctly and clearly provided for in Section 1 of its Articles of Incorporation, to wit: “That this religious corporation is INDEPENDENT.”
However, two sentences later, the same Articles of Incorporation forebodes or foreshadows some kind of a vague birth relationship with another religious denomination, crystallized therein as follows: “FOURTH: That the incorporation of this religious corporation is not forbidden by competent authorities or by constitution or rules of discipline of the religious denomination, sect or church of which it forms part.” (underscoring supplied)
Knowing the religious background of the incorporators, all erstwhile leaders of the United Methodist Church belonging to the Philippines Central Conference, it is easy to decipher that this “religious denomination, sect or church” adverted to in the Articles of Incorporation above is the United Methodist Church. If so, this is clearly a misleading, self-serving and a wrong assumption and/or presumption of the framers of said Articles of Incorporation.
The creation of the AIMPI is not in accordance with the mandatory requirement of Paragraph 572 of the UMC Book of Discipline and hence its establishment could not be said as having been authorized by the United Methodist Church. The claim, therefore, of the framers of the questioned Articles of Incorporation that the religious corporation forms part of the long established global United Methodist Church is clearly misleading and false. Par. 572 of the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline clearly provides thus: “When conferences outside the United States that are parts of the United Methodist Church desire to become an autonomous Methodist, affiliated autonomous Methodist, or affiliated united church, approval shall first be secured from the central conference involved and this decision be ratified by the annual conferences within the central conference by two-thirds majority of the aggregate votes cast by the annual conferences.”
To be considered part of the global United Methodist Church (UMC), the UMC Book of Discipline requires the following conditions to be strictly observed: (a) approval by the central conference involved shall be secured; and (b) the decision of the central conference must be ratified by the annual conferences within the central conference involved by a two-thirds majority of the aggregate votes cast by the annual conferences.
There is nothing in the Articles of Incorporation of AIMPI which indicates that the above requirements under Par. 572 of the Discipline have been complied with. It merely mentions in its Third Article “That 2/3 of its members had given their written consent and voted for its incorporation at a meeting called for the purpose.” This declaration is followed by the self- serving conclusion in its Fourth Article which unilaterally declares “That the incorporation of this religious organization is not forbidden by competent authorities or by the constitution or rules of discipline of the religious denomination; sect or church of which it forms part…”
Not having been organized in accordance with the aforequoted provision of the Book of Discipline, AIMPI therefore is an independent, breakaway, dissident or schismatic unit sans any legitimate connection or relationship with the United Methodist Church. It was organized solely under the provisions of Section 116 of the Corporation Code pursuant to the exercise by the incorporators/members of their freedom of religion. The purpose of this religious corporation, as its articles of incorporation further provide, is for the administration of its affairs, properties and temporalities with its principal office established and located at 46 W.A. Jones St., Bgy Naisian, Calasiao, Pangasinan. The Articles of Incorporation of AIMPI show the following persons as incorporators and members of the corporation’s Board of Trustees:
CHITA R. MILLAN JOE FRANK E. ZUŇIGA
PERLA C. BAUTISTA ELEAZER R. BOTE
ANECITO R. VILLALON, JR. ANICIA C. MARQUEZ
LITO C. TANGONAN SUSAN D. CAPILI
ANACLETO C. CASTILLO DOMINADOR A. VALENCIA
ESMERALDO GATCHALIAN ROGER A. MARQUEZ
BAYANI G. TECSON RODRIGO G. LAGMAN
ROMULO R. SISON
From the foregoing, it is quite clear that AIMPI is a breakaway, dissident or schismatic church from the United Methodist Church. To repeat, its birth is entirely out of sync with the mandatory provisions of the Book of Discipline. Therefore, it has no right to interfere with the ownership and usage of UMC churches and properties. Jurisprudence from both Philippines and American laws, citing the landmark case of Watson v. Jones, the Philippine Supreme Court in Canete vs. Court of Appeals, 171 SCRA 13, has ruled that the “use of properties of a eligious corporation in case of schism, is controlled by the numerical majority of the members. The minority in choosing to separate themselves into a distinct body, and refusing to recognize the authority of the government body, can claim no rights in the property from the fact that they once had been members.”
So be it.
January 2, 2012