In recent years, the UCCP, in recognition of the significant role of church-related institutions (CRIs) in the pursuit of its mission and ministry, has undertaken initiatives to make this manifest with the setting up of the program on Institutional Ministries. We had facilitated cooperation and coordination with and among church-owned and church-related institutions, through their respective associations.
MINISTERIAL FORMATION CENTERS:Towards UCCP Three Tier Seminary System
The UCCP recognizes the critical importance of pastors in the life and work of the church – not only in our local churches and church-related institutions but also in the national leadership. Pastors are crucial in maintaining the vibrancy and dynamism of our local churches, and in strengthening the unity of the church. Until recently – before the issuance of the Magna Carta for Church Workers – our Constitution and By-Laws had included a whole section on the ministry of the church.
The UCCP has six (6) accredited Ministerial Formation Centers located in various parts of the country.
A series of national consultations – followed by activities at different levels guided by the Faith and Order Commission and the Theological Education Board – have resulted in the process towards a UCCP Seminary System.
In March 2010, in a consultation called by the CoB, FOC and TEB, participants came up with a proposed organizational structure and scheme for a UCCP Seminary System. A consensus was reached to submit a resolution to the General Assembly calling on the General Assembly of the UCCP to authorize the TEB, together with the Council of Bishops and the Faith and Order Commission to facilitate and expedite the process that will lead to the formation of the UCCP Seminary System.
This includes the creation of an organizational structure consisting of a General Assembly, a Governing Board, and an office of the President whose main task shall be to coordinate/facilitate processes that will ensure the viability and sustainability of the MFCs, and that they meet the standards and requirements for quality seminary formation, thereby serve the need of our local churches and the general constituency.
CHURCH-RELATED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS: Towards a UCCP School System
During the quadrennium, UCCP had worked mainly with member institutions of CREATE and a few others.
The evaluation, jointly undertaken by UCCP and CREATE had resulted in a shared understanding of the educational ministry of the church; a level of unity in the understanding of the role and function of church-related educational institutions in the overall mission and ministry of the church; the clarification of the structural and organizational relationship between the schools and the UCCP; and the setting of a future direction. Some crucial problems were identified. These are in the areas of leadership, decision-making, property development and resource generation. A significant recommendation is the establishment of a UCCP School System to help ensure greater cooperation and coordination and resolve the uneven development among the institutions.
After the evaluation, initiatives towards cooperate and integration were undertaken at the jurisdiction levels: in North Luzon particularly in the Cordillera region; Northwest Mindanao, Southeast Mindanao and in Eastern Visayas where discussions already revolve around the merger of the College of Maasin and National Heroes Institute.
Still parts of the outcome of the evaluation process are some documents that bear some historical significance: Towards a Common Vision and Mission; Manual for the Board of Trustees; and the Conceptual Framework for the Proposed UCCP School System.
The schools continue to provide support to the UCCP life and work in various ways as well. Some schools
At the General Assembly level, we continue to provide support to formal education in various ways, among others,
CHURCH-RELATED MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS: Towards a UCCP Health System
The UCCP has five church-related medical institutions located in strategic cities in the country. The UCCP pursues its healing ministry through these medical institutions.
Apart from hospital care, these institutions have extension programs benefitting communities that otherwise have no access to health facilities and services, e.g., BIHMI had facilitated the installation of water pumps and village clinics in many rural communities across conferences in Mindanao, VCMC has health programs in a number of depressed communities in Cebu.
All the hospitals have comprehensive development plans, some components of which have been or are now being implemented.
The hospitals are consistent in providing support to the UCCP life and work in various ways. Some hospitals
SERVICE CENTERS: Towards a One-Management System
The UCCP has five (5) service centers located in strategic areas in the country. It may be worthwhile to review developments concerning the service centers of the UCCP.
The UCCP declaration of a moratorium on foreign missionaries and funding in the 1970s resulted in major difficulties among local churches and institutions that had grown dependent on external support to their operation.
This situation compelled the UCCP to embark on a self-reliance campaign. Various initiatives were taken particularly at the jurisdiction levels, to which the organizational and programmatic responsibilities fell.
In the beginning, the centers – like CONDORA and CENDET – generally focused on training programs for various sectoral needs. However, some problems emerged in the process of implementation, which, along with other factors, led to the withdrawal of support from funding partners. With problems brought about by changes in leadership and management, and the lack of funds and resources, the survival of the centers was a constant threat.
Although the UCCP participates in the operation of these centers through its representatives to the respective governing bodies, institutionally and organizationally, the problems continued to surface with no long-term solutions in sight. The original intention towards self-reliance has not been met, the potential not fulfilled, except for Shalom Center.
The service centers have begun taking initiatives towards this. Some steps have been taken with regard to the development of CONDORA, which is now under the General Assembly.
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTES/STUDY CENTERS
INSTITUTE FOR FAITH, LIFE AND WITNESS
The institute for Faith, Life and Witness was an initiative of the Faith and Order Commission, intended to develop theologians at the local levels who can help interpret the scripture and articulate the theological affirmations of the church. The program was implemented for a few years with studies conducted with/among representatives from the various conferences. However, due to a number of factors, the program could not continue. A critical concern is for the church is to proved processes for leadership development in terms of equipping the church leadership with the knowledge and skills that will enhance the fulfillment of their given tasks and responsibilities.
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSION STUDIES
In 2008, the process towards the establishment of an International Center for Mission Studies at Silliman University began – a cooperative endeavor between the UCCP and the United Evangelical Mission in Germany. After a series of meetings and consultations, the International Center for Mission Studies is now in place and serves as an institution of learning for mission in Asia. The program is designed to respond to the need for creativity and innovation in the area of mission studies, create an Asian and Third World oriented curriculum and program based on the theological principles, and serve the needs of the whole human community.
ECUMENICAL INSTITUTE FOR GENDER STUDIES
This is intended to serve as a learning community where men and women can share historical experiences, insights and perspectives; learn about feminist theories and praxis; make a commitment to bear witness to the good news of salvation for all people especially women, and together take responsibility to bring about justice, peace and integrity of creation in their particular contexts. It includes a program of study that shall promote awareness and deepen the understanding of gender issues, drawing on positive images, beliefs, values and principles in Christianity and other living religions. Intended participants are members of the ecumenical community of women and men who have an appreciation of the issues and concerns surrounding women and men in the church and would like to do something about them. This is also in cooperation with UEM.
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTION FOR INTERFAITH STUDIES
In June 2009, Brokenshire College, Dansalan College, Southern Christian College and the Mindanao Christian Services Foundation (MCSF) met to discuss the possibility of a consortium on the International Institute for Interfaith Studies. The Institute aims to serve UCCP judicatories, church – related institutions and church – related organizations, academe, civil society groups and government agencies in the local, national, and international levels in the formation of leaders for peace. It shall offer courses that will help develop students’ skills in promoting cooperative and positive interaction between and among peoples of different faiths. This initiative is also being coordinated with United Evangelical Mission.
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