Filipino bishops back church unity

Other Manual Translations: 한국어 português español

The Philippines Central Conference College of Bishops has signed a resolution “intensely” opposing dissolution of The United Methodist Church.

The bishops’ resolution recommended restructuring that would allow for regional autonomy to deal with divisive issues like homosexuality.

“From the beginning of the church in the New Testament, division and schism in the church are to be avoided and unity must be achieved and maintained,” the resolution reads.

Meeting Aug. 31 at United Methodist headquarters in Manila, the bishops agreed to submit the petition to General Conference.

Bishop Rodolfo Alfonso “Rudy” Juan, president of the Filipino College of Bishops, said the Philippines Central Conference is totally against dissolution of The United Methodist Church.

“We servant-bishops encourage our Filipino constituency to continually promote unity in our denomination,” he said.

The petition was signed by Juan, Bishop Ciriaco Q. Francisco (who participated via conference call) and retired Bishops Emerito P. Nacpil, Daniel C. Arichea, Solito K. Toquero and Jose C. Gamboa Jr.

Bishop Pedro M. Torio Jr., secretary of the College of Bishops, and retired bishops Leo A. Soriano and Benjamin A. Justo did not attend the meeting.

The resolution’s recommendation for restructuring The United Methodist Church into regional conferences is similar to a plan laid out by The Connectional Table in regards to a new U.S. structure.

“With our proposal for restructuring into regional conferences, we can exercise some form of autonomy to meet contextual realities in our specific regions. We then will have a regional Book of Discipline,” Juan said. 

The resolution states that The United Methodist Church “will remain as one global church in which regional, central, annual and local conferences are organic parts, but have the authority to decide their witness, mission and ministry, thus, preserving locality and connectionality.”

Regional autonomy will allow United Methodists from central conferences — the seven church regions in Africa, Europe and the Philippines — to deal with the divisive issue of homosexuality, Juan said.

“It is our prayer that with some form of regional autonomy, we can find a workable solution and remain a united global denomination,” he said.

The resolution also called for the Council of Bishops to be retained for general and local oversight of The United Methodist Church.

Bishops in Africa also recently resolved not to support any proposed legislation or plans that may result in a split or dissolution of the church.

Retired Bishop Soriano, who had a prior commitment and could not attend the Filipino Council of Bishops meeting, talked to UM News by phone about the resolution. He said that being disciples of Christ is having one mission. 

“Whether one is for or against homosexuality, the mission remains the same: that is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

“I believe the church would be more effective if it is united in doing the mission. However, if it becomes unavoidable, I will accept it. History tells us that while schism is inevitable, the splinters continue to do the mission.”

Mangiduyos is a communicator from the Philippines. News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, [email protected] or 615-742-5470. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Local Church
A view of the United States House of Representatives chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

31 United Methodists serve in 117th Congress

United Methodists serve on both sides of the aisle in a Congress faced with repairing a highly polarized country and responding to violence at the Capitol.
Mission and Ministry
Innocent Afful (third from left), a Ghanaian missionary who works with orphans and vulnerable children in Congo, has seen his job change during the COVID pandemic. Photo courtesy of Innocent Afful.

Missionaries cope with coronavirus challenges

Travel bans and fears of contracting COVID-19 complicated the service of United Methodist missionaries in 2020.
Social Concerns
The Rev. Rudy Rasmus, senior pastor at St. John’s Downtown Church in Houston and editor of the book “I’m Black. I’m Christian. I’m Methodist,” attends a food bank event with the singer Beyoncé, who grew up in that church. Photo courtesy of St. John’s Downtown Church in Houston.

Black United Methodists want changes

Black United Methodists are pushing for change in the denomination, and they aren’t interested in waiting much longer, according to a new book of essays.