Friday, June 12, 2020

Freedom and Social Justice

Today is June 12. We celebrate the Philippine Independence Day. The church plays a crucial role in achieving that ideals of freedom not only from colonizers but freedom from the bondage of the present social sins. The world is broken as injustice, abuse and inequalities has tainted all of us. This brokenness has enslaved our society and the church has tried to resist and free our society from these social ills. The church, led by its pastors and church workers, is still struggling for our freedom from these social ills.

One of the church workers active in the work of the church is Rev. Edgar de Jesus. He is the current President of the NAFAUM. I had a quick chat with Pastor Edgar today. He was inviting me to the upcoming Zoom Webinar on June 22 entitled "Leading the Church in the time of Pandemic." This has been a series of ongoing discussions which is a very timely topic as the world goes through a major change in its daily activities including the church. The way how church activities like mission work, outreach, conferences and the regular worship service is being affected such as the church sacraments of baptism, Holy Communion and even the rituals of wedding and burial have to be drastically change. It has create confusion, chaos, debates and unanswered questions. People can no longer have the Lord's Supper because of the quarantine. People can not gather in worship so will they be allowed to celebrate the Lord's Supper online? If gatherings are not allowed, then how can public declarations of the couple's love be done during their dream wedding. Will it be done online? Even the annual conferences, which is the major and crucial activity in the church have to be postponed. How can deliberations on church concerns be done including the reading of appointments? And this has domino effect on the length of stay of the administrative pastors and the District Superintendents and even the episcopacy. But the crucial concern is how can the church perform now its mission in the society? The forum will focus on how the pandemic affected the programs of the church in promoting social justice. Have we all just paused our work as Christians because of the health concern? Will Jesus have stopped ministering to the poor and oppressed because there was a curfew and quarantine? I am excited about this online event. This webinar will be able to provide insight and guidance to how the church will move forward in its life even as we anticipate major changes in the United Methodist Church. Pastor Edgar will moderate this event.

I met Pastor Edgar when I was in seminary. He was assigned to me as my mentor when I was an intern in Hurdle Mills United Methodist Church in North Carolina. It was one of my best time as a young Pastor. He took time to guide me on the ministry of the Pastor not only as a preacher but as a community leader. He made sure that I understood that the church is not confined in the four corners of the building and thus the work of the Pastor does not end in the worship service but includes community service. He took me to home visits as well as to community events and activities. Although I was more interested with the different Southern food recipes in every event we attended, I was slowly learning that collaborating with other faith groups and participating in the daily life of the community is part of the mission work of the church. Resisting the social ills in the community also means showing love to all people, especially those who are often neglected. Visiting the sick and bringing food to the shut-ins is not less significant to providing work opportunity to the unemployed and assisting migrants get documented. As Christians, we are called to be leaders... leading the church towards freedom.

Join the forum. Register in advance for the NAFAUM Leadership Webinar:…/tZEsd--opz8vGdG1LrDf-RvvZoB9v_334…