In the latest Rizal annual conference session, ad interim Bishop Daniel Arichea told the conference members of the situation of Southern Tagalog Provisional Philippines Annual Conference East that it does not exist even in the eye of the general conference – the highest legislative body of the United Methodist Church. This was told in explaining why one church of STPPACE desires to transfer its ‘membership’ in the Rizal Philippines Annual Conference East. Another reason the pastor told the Conference is that majority of the church workers and laity of STPPACE declared to be part of the Philippine Methodist Church – schismatic church so called by some. And that is why their church including their pastor wishes to transfer its membership in RPACE. Majority of members of RPACE spoke against this move and try to clarify the bishop of the situation of STPPACE as being non existent.
Atty. Carlos Cao – the chair of Committee on Ministries of RPACE tries to explain the technicalities that put STPPACE in the situation that it does not exists as a conference because it is not yet approved by the General Conference which is still be held on 2012 since it was only approved and created by the Central Conference last November of 2009. And that when it is yet to be approved or confirmed by the General Conference it is still legal since it was created by the Central Conference and mandated STPPACE – the former Laguna Quezon District to organize as such. But Bishop Arichea clarifies that even in that status, STPPACE can still send its delegates to the General Conference and allotted a budget for their travelling expenses.
Now in the 3rd annual conference session of STPPACE presided over Bishop Arichea, he explains the status of STPPACE. He told the body that according to the Book of Discipline, provisional annual conference should be created by the General Conference and since it was only approve by Central Conference the General Conference cannot acknowledge it and worsts its delegates cannot have a voting seat in the said highest body.
Church workers and some lay reacted to this expressing their frustration by what had done with the STPPACE as an organization. The bishop said that this particularly the provision of the Discipline was not commonly known that even the Central Conference do not know. This writer also adds that even the whole college of bishops plus the American bishop – the representative of the Council of bishops are not aware of this provision that they have approved of such error.
But the bishop told the members of STPPACE to look at it postively though he did not offer any positive or concrete way of how to deal with it. Only that the pastors, deaconesses and the laity is still committed in their ministries and mission inspite of this blunder of the higher body.