February 9, 2022
New partnership with United Methodist Church in the Philippines
The Uniting Church in Australia has signed a new partnership agreement with the United Methodist Church in the Philippines (UMCP) strengthening the ties between our churches.
The agreement formally recognises the unity and oneness we share in Jesus Christ and commits both Churches to mutually support one another in our lives and mission.
Members of the UMCP live in 120 countries across the world, and an increasing number have migrated to Australia.
President of the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly Rev Sharon Hollis signed the agreement with three representative Bishops of UMCP, Bishop Ciriaco Quintanay Francisco, Bishop Pedro Torio and Bishop Rodolfo Juan.
In an online meeting to mark the formal signing of the agreement, Rev Hollis acknowledged the contribution and the leadership of UMCP members within the life of the Uniting Church for many years and committed the UCA to continue to share in life and mission with UCMCP in a more sustained and ongoing way.
“Today is a day to celebrate and a day to give thanks, both for what has been, and for what is today, this moment to mark a partnership that has been a long time coming,” said Rev Hollis.
“It is also a day to look forward in hope, for the home and community we can provide here in Australia for members of UMCP who migrate, to shared partnership and friendship and to a shared understanding of what it means to live as Christians in the world today.”
“I know because of this partnership our faith will grow, our hope will be strengthened, and our courage renewed because in Jesus Christ and through this partnership, we share our life together.”
Bishop Pedro Torio, Resident Bishop of the Baguio Episcopal Area of the UMCP Central Conference, welcomed the agreement with other representatives of UMCP from across the Philippines and internationally.
“In this document there are fundamental truths about faith that we have affirmed and we share those biblical and theological affirmations. Simply said, but they come from deep experiences of how God works in our lives and in the history of the Australian people and the Filipino people.”
“We believe together, but we also belong together. There are no borders, there are no limits to what children of God can do in praying for one another and supporting one another in mission partnerships like this.”
“We have a Gospel witness together and we have a global sense of mission together and that's what I really like about this partnership that has God given us.”
Moderator of NSW/ACT Synod Rev Simon Hansford was present for the signing of the agreement, along with Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd, National Consultant Rev Dr Apwee Ting and UnitingWorld National Director Sureka Goringe who facilitated the meeting and Rev Dr Rob McFarlane from Parramatta Nepean Presbytery.
Also present was UMCP mission worker Rev Ares Balatan, who has been ministering to UMCP members in Australia and has played a significant role in bringing the agreement to fruition.
Rev Hollis added, “We look forward to receiving news of the life of UMCP, informing partnerships that bring awareness to members of the Uniting Church of the issues, joys, sorrows and struggles you face and we look forward to sharing some of those from Australia.”
The new partnership will further enrich and deepen our connections with our Filipino Christians both in Australian and the Philippines. One place in which Filipino members of the Uniting Church gather in fellowship and mutual support, and connection with the Assembly and the national life of the Church, is the Filipino National Conference (FNC). Members of the FNC include people who have also originally come from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP). The UCA has been in partnership with UCCP since 2006.
The Filipino National Conference is one of 12 National Conference of the Uniting Church in Australia. Find out more here.
Sureka Goringe and Rev Dr Apwee Ting participated in an online conversation about the agreement broadcast to the UMCP diaspora. You can watch the video here and below.