November is Social Principles Month for the Southern Tagalog Philippines Provisional Annual Conference as per action of its 2nd session of annual conference held in Tayabas, Quezon. This is to give emphasis to the “long history” of social concern of the United Methodist Church (UMC Social Principles preface).
We remember that in the Oxford Methodist beginnings, while Charles Wesley and his friends were still in college they were incolve in social activities such as visiting the prison and teaching poor children. Even as Methodism grew as a movement they continue social concern as John Wesley envisioned to eradicate poverty in England. The famour letter of John Wesley to William Wilberforce the member of the Parliament and spoke against of slavery is one deep concern for the human life and the community.The movement became a church in America and even in England and continues this tradition of ministry with the community.
This concern was an expression of what we believe the fulfillment of the commandment of Christ when he said “love your neighbor as yourself”. And this was the sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God where the poor experience the gospel of Christ, the blind recieves sight, the lame walk and the prisoner is set free.
Our emphases on social principles allows us to see God’s vision for the soceity as part of the mission of the church. This Social Principles Month we give focus on Human Rights, Peace with Justice and Indigenous people.
As conference we are blessed with the opportunity to start a ministry with the indigenous people. Through the Ethnic local Church grant of the General Board of Church and Soceity we were granted an amount to start the indigenous community ministries which is entitled “Bayan ni Hesus – Pamayanang Katutubo”. We are already working at two areas in the Province of Quezon one is with the Dumagats at the town of General Nakar where Rev. Nathaniel Francisco of Sta. Cruz UMC is serving and the other is with the aeta community in Calauag, Quezon and Pastor Federico “JR” Qunit Jr. of Kalinangan UMC is serving. Rev. Marven Chavarria of Kalayaan UMC is the director of the Pamayanang Katutubo program and Rev. Mervin Anthony Montano is the project head of the Bayan ni Hesus. This program is a church based community development program and has designed a special ministry with the indigenous people.
Every November and every day of every month we continue our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ transforming our soceity, our community and our world.