Plenaries, Workshops, Sunday Eucharist and Fellowship held last August 4-6, 2017 at St. Michael Multicultural Anglican Church, Vancouver, BC, Canada a partnership of the EAM-Filipino Convocation and the Anglican Canada Asian Ministries, #EAMFilConACAM2017. There were one hundred forty-four (144) registered delegates with two adults and two youth from the Philippines. Several have also “audited” or “sat in” during the lectures and joined the fellowships.44% of the delegates are youth and young adults.
Theme of the Convocation is: “On Board the Jesus Movement.” The Rev. Dr. Fred Vergara provided a series of plenaries: “Jesus Movement in Asiamerica Ministries: Focus on Revival, Evangelism and Discipleship in North America” and “ANDREWS: Disciples Making Disciples.” Various clergy and lay leaders reported on the history and development of their parishes and missions. The Open Forums were animated as immigrant clergy shared their struggle in ministry amidst racism and racial discrimination as well as acceptance. One clergy in USA reported that he was rejected in the 40 positions he had applied but finally found a good job as priest-in-charge of an Anglo-European parish. Another clergy in Canada reported that when he applied for his position, the Bishop interviewed him via Skype and accepted him straight away despite his accent.Another one wondered how would they able to “educate the mainstream North Americans on the reversal of Christian mission as in the 3rd World countries Christianity is exploding while in the 1st World countries, Christianity is declining.”
At the Opening Eucharist, preacher Isaias Ginson challenged the congregants to emulate the commitment of John the Baptist and the prophets by proclaiming God’s truth about the social injustices in the empire. At the Closing Eucharist, preacher Fred Vergara inspired the congregants to go down to the valleys of despair and preach hope. (Check out the videos of both sermons #EAMFilConACAM#2017)
The Cultural Night was filled with innovative dances, singing, community talent shows. The Igorot Dances were the main shows. In history, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) began when missionary bishop Charles Henry Brent set his vision to evangelize the Igorots in the Mountain Province, the Tirurays in Mindanao, the Chinese in Manila and other marginalized cultural minorities in the Philippines in 1900s. Today, the ECP is a thriving province in the worldwide Anglican Communion independent from the United States.
The Convocation has also a large delegation from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) of St. Mark’s Church in Van Nuys, California led by Rev. Gerry Engnan, co-convener with Brent Quines,Jr. The IFI and TEC has been in concordat of full communion in 1961. It was the Episcopal Church which bestowed the gift of apostolic success to the IFI in 1948. Unlike the ECP which grew out of the missionary enterprise of the Episcopal Church in USA, the IFI was a product of the nascent struggle of the Filipinos for political and religious independence from over 300 years of Spanish colonization. The EAM Filipino Convocation is a partnership of both Filipino Episcopalians and Independientes and its leadership is shared by co-conveners, one being an Episcopalian and the other an Independiente.
At the concluding Sunday Eucharist Celebrant: Bishop Artemio Zabala; Preacher: Rev. Canon Dr. Fred Vergara; Participating clergy: Brent Jr Quines. Gerry Engnan, Wil Mer Toyoken, Leonard Oakes, Isaias Ginson, Peter Tagdulang Keith Amockmett, Eric Stroo, Joey Vallejo, Leon Cadsap, Johnny Pooten, Benjami Kiwang, Ruth Casipit Paguio, Fatherpeter Tagdulang and the presence of Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce at the liturgy of the Word and Bishop Melissa Melissa M. Skelton in the congregation.
Evaluation forms from the over 150 participants indicate an overwhelming desire to continue the joint USA-Canada convocations and the leadership will study the feasibility believing that “where God guides, God provides.” Meals and accommodation are subsidized by the Asiamerica Ministries Network/The Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Los Angeles, and the Diocese of New Westminster, particularly the Vestry of St. Michael Multicultural Anglican Church in Vancouver. Participants from the USA paid for their own air travel or as in the case of delegates from the West Coast (from Los Angeles to San Francisco), by land driving.
Altogether it was a fantastic event worth remembering. As one participant testified, “never have I been so blessed in a conference than this” and another said, “I did not feel sleepy throughout all the lectures and the church services.”
Behind the tremendous success of the historic partnership of Episcopal Filipino Americans and Anglican Filipino Canadians. Conveners Brent Quines, Gerry Engnan, Wilmer Toyoken and Secretary Cherrylin Longid, Greg And Michiko Tatchell and Bishop Melissa Skelton of New Westminster and Bishop Diane Bruce of Los Angeles—with the support of all clergy and faithful of Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries-Filipino Convocation and Anglican Cana-Asian Ministries (ACAM). I’m privileged as Missioner to serve alongside. #EAMFilconACAM2017