UNITED CHURCH OF CHIRST IN THE PHILIPPINES
CELEBRATING THE 72nd ANNIVERSARY
Theme: “Affirming the strength of our unity and mission at 72nd and Moving towards UCCP’s 75th, Our Diamond Jubilee”
May 23-25, 2020
72nd Anniversary Sunday -May 24, 2020
The context of the 72nd Church anniversary:
The Filipino nation has been undergoing the strain and stress of the health and medical emergency, the novel COVID-19 that threatened many countries around the world. With the enforced Enhanced Community Quarantine all over the country, even remote villages farmers who survive on subsistence farming are prevented from tending their farms or sell their produce to the municipal market. There are families that are economically stable prior to the ECQ but are now unable to support their family’s needs as there has been work stoppage.
Health workers such as medical doctors, nurses, medical technologists and all other health personnel considered as ‘frontliners’ have been precariously exposed to the patients infected with the COVID-19 virus and consequently many have been infected as well. In the first few days of May, more than nine thousand persons are diagnosed infected with the virus. We mourn for families who lost their loved ones due to the complications of the virus. We rejoice with those who struggle with the diseases driven by the virus and their undaunting spirits and faith in God’s healing interventions that helped them go through the most difficult situation in their lives.
Correspondingly, church workers and entire congregations have to face the challenges of the ECQ, that prohibits en-masse gathering of people including religious worship services. Following the government guidelines and Enhanced Community Quarantine or lock down, mass gathering of people has been prohibited and observance of “social” or physical distancing enforced, thus local churches could not hold their regular services in the church, so many of UCCP local churches, whenever available, made use of internet access and technology necessary for video recording or live streaming of prayer time and worship services.
Other UCCP faith communities have initiated house worship and make use of live broadcast or recorded video meditations on the social media. Meetings were done on online conferencing applications. Responding to the need for food assistance, the national program staff packed relief food packs to supply members, church workers and distressed and underserved communities.
Many Conferences around the country have initiated food relief packs distribution to assist severely affected local churches and especially church workers working in poor urban and rural churches which subsists on meager honorarium sourced from weekly offerings. The Office of the General Secretary (OGS), the Office of the National Treasurer and the Church’s service centers have tapped sources of fund to financially aid the poor and needy church workers. Approximately 980 church workers received financial assistance.
Great is the God of life and healing! God’s love is the reason for our celebration and life together.
Amidst threats to life and liberty, we thank God for the passing of another year in the life of the Church, and despite the many challenges,
OUR NATIONWIDE CELEBRATION IN THE LOCAL CHURCHES AND CONFERENCES
Due to the widespread of COVID-19 in the Philippines, most of the Filipinos was affected. Everyone wants to be safe and wants to follow the precautionary measures to prevent themselves from being infected. However, health issue is not just the only concern in these trying and challenging times.
Filipino workers in the affected areas loss their job due to the closure of the company where they are working. Some of them are suffering from “no work, no pay”. And most of all, it only worsens the current situation of those Filipinos who are in the informal sector and those who are unable to work as an effect of lack of job offerings in our country.
Security and safety is also a concern. Despite the implementation of the enhance community quarantine in different areas, there is still a threat in safety and security of different individuals, especially for those who are responsible in finding and marketing of food and supplies for their families. There are still human rights violations that were recorded.
With this, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, through its Community Ministry, conducted a Relief Operation that provided food packs and hygiene kit for the underserved church members and different communities in Metro Manila.
Each food pack includes 5 kilos of rice, 1 kilo of sugar, ½ kilo of salt, 1 kilo of legumes, 1 kilo of dried fish, 1 liter oil and canned goods. While, each hygiene kit includes 1 roll of tissue paper, 330ml of alcohol, 330 ml of chlorine, 2 bath soap, 1 bar of detergent soap, and 2 sachet of toothpaste.
From April 6, 2020, a small number of volunteers helped to repack 700 packs of relief goods and hygiene kits for the first part of the relief operations at UCCP Kaunlaran Village, Sabalo, Caloocan City for the underserved members of the church residing at Metro Manila — one of the most affected area of COVID 19.
On April 7, 2020 – 350 packs of it was delivered to UCCP Cosmopolitan Church, who helped us in giving it to the beneficiaries under the Lowland South Manila Conference.
On April 8-9, 2020 – 250 packs were delivered directly to the local church, or in their nearby church, under the United Metropolis Conference. However, 100 packs were given to SINAG – ministry of UCCP Cubao and in a small community of Caloocan and Navotas City.
On April 12, 2020 – the repacking of relief goods and hygiene kit continued for the second part of the relief operations for 700 beneficiaries in different communities of Metro Manila.
On April 15, 2020 – we gave 100 food packs and hygiene kit to the underserved urban poor residing at Harvard St., E. Rodriguez Ave., Cubao, Quezon City. The said distribution was held in front of UCCP Cubao.
On April 16, 2020 – we gave food items and hygiene kit which was good for 200 beneficiaries, and will be use in their 23 community kitchens that will feed a total of 1, 200 families during lunch time at Sitio San Roque, Quezon City.
We also gave 166 food packs and hygiene kit for jeepney and tricycle drivers in Quezon City, Malabon City, and Caloocan City.
The remaining food packs and hygiene kit was given to the different communities in Quezon City, Rizal Province, Navotas City, Manila and Bulacan.All in all, the challenge to us brought by this pandemic is not yet finished. There is still a lot of communities that need our response, especially now that the social services that should be provided by the government is not enough to meet the basic needs of each individual/families in order to survive.