The treaty of Paris in 1898 ended the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Pacific. It also marked the beginning of the American Empire.
After defeat of the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines-its colony from 1521 to 1898-to the United States for US$20 million.
In the same year , President Mckinley issued a Proclamation of Benevolent Assimilation and began the colonization of the Philippines.
The assimilation process began, but not without resistance. Remnants of the revolutionary movement waged a guerilla war against the new colonizer. This was met with an even fiercer American military campaign, which forced the Filipino revolutionaries to surrender.
As Spanish colonization brought about Roman Catholicism in the Philippines, American “benevolent assimilation” also in traduced Protestantism in the country. Missionary zeal and anti-Spanish sentiments of Filipinos both contributed to the expansion and growth of Protestantism in the Philippines.
In 1901, upon the initiative of the Presbyterian Church, representatives from the Methodist Church, United Brethren in Christ, Disciples Church of Christ, Baptists, Congregationalists, and the Christian Missionary Alliance met in New York. The signing of the Comity Agreement established the geographical division of the country.
The different mission boards pursued their evangelization and expansion programs through religious and secular education and evangelistic campaigns. Given the philosophy of missions at the time, their endeavors included the building of churches, schools, dormitories and hospitals.
In 1901, the Presbyterian established the first American school in the Philippines; Silliman Institute, now Silliman University.
Union of churches
As a minority religious tradition in the Philippines, Protestant evangelical churches had sought organic union among themselves at various points in history.
However, significant splits occurred within the churches. The most notable of these involved the Methodist in 1909 when Nicolas Zamora broke away from the Methodists and founded the Iglesia Evangelica Methodista en las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF), eventually becoming the first indigenous evangelical church in the Philippines.
Also, internal migration e.g., Methodist from Northern Luzon to Mindanao and Baptists from Iloilo to Central Cotabato obscured the boundaries set in the comity agreement.
After World War II, the former Presbyterians and the Congregationalists reconstituted the United Evangelical Church of the Philippines. Because the Seventh Day Adventists were forced by the war to join the merger, they immediately left the Evangelical Church of the Philippines after the war.
The uniting churches signed the Basis of Union, which provisions include.
We do preserve all the heritage of faith brought into the union by each of the constituent churches and hereby declare as our common faith and message. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, our Lord and Savior.
By its very nature, UCCP is at once evangelical, ecumenical, and prophetic. As its faith confession, the UCCP continues to broaden its efforts to deal with the roots of injustice and unpeace, and is strengthened by a sense of spirituality that is renewed by its consistent immersion with the peace.
Simultaneous to its historical institutional development, the UCCP has maintained a commitment to and participation in the ongoing transformation of church and society. Inevitably, people’s movements have been integrated into its new expressions of church, mission and ecumenism.
This orientation and perspective is inherent in the UCCP life and work.
The UCCP is generally known for its faith and praxis manifested in, among others
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), a responsible, empowered, self-reliant and caring community of Christian believers committed to the pursuit of a transformed church and society towards an abundant and meaningful life for all
In light of such a Vision, the UCCP, therefore, commits itself to the mission of establishing and uniting the community of faith for the proclamation of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ towards the transformation of both church and society.
Within the first 5-10 years of its jubillee, the UCCP will translate its mission into a life-work that will focus on the restoration of its relationships - a foretaste of God's reign or shalom.
1. To strengthen the faith community. 2. To enrich the life-work of communities where Local Churches are located. 3. To deepen the impact of its collective response to societal issues and concerns.
Vision, Mission and Goals
United Church of Christ in the Philippines