Ten thousand United Methodists came together on Nov. 26 to participate in “Revive 2” at the Ultra-Philippines Sports Complex in the Pasig City section of Manila.
Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the prime mover of the church’s second revival event, said the movement started to respond to the crisis the church was facing in 2012.
"Some of the churches were breaking away because of some issues not being reasonably resolved,” he explained. “As laymen, we thought that the proper response to the crisis was to have a revival."
This year’s event, with the theme. "Go in Faith, Go in Power, Go in Unity” showcased the legacies and contributions of The United Methodist Church to the Filipino nation.
"It aimed to instill to young people that there is so much in The United Methodist Church tradition, so much to be thankful for, so much to be praising our Lord for the UMC in the past, the present and the future," Puno said.
Revive 2 combined meaningful liturgy with festive celebration through a 1,200-voice choir, creative movements, a children’s symphony orchestra, powerful preaching and a Holy Communion service.
Heart of Methodism
The Rev. Luther Oconer, a Filipino pastor currently teaching at United Theological Seminary, was among the speakers. The fact that the event was named Revive, he pointed out, tells of a growing yearning to re-dig the wells of revival.
“This is very much at that heart of who we are as Methodists,” Oconer said. “For Methodism, when it started in England, was a revival movement.
“Whenever we are able to love like Jesus did — in our relationships, with our families, in the church, in our schools and workplaces, and even outside those relationships — that’s the only time we can truly say that we have God’s power.”
Bishop Ciriaco Francisco said that Revive is refreshing the United Methodist connection and he hopes it will become a national program. “Whenever you feel you are very small, try to attend this gathering (and) you will feel very proud to be part of the denomination,” he said.
Nathanael Arnel de Pano shares the same viewpoint. De Pano, the composer-arranger of the Revive songs and the 1,200-voice choir director, said that he was extremely happy about results of the second revival.
"I wouldn't like to view this as novelty,” he added. “It should be a regular fare for the church, to mount something special. We should develop this culture in the entire United Methodist Church."
Bishops Rodolfo Juan and Pedro M. Torio Jr. affirmed the heightened enthusiasm for the revival movement, as well as the opportunity to engage in social holiness.
"I believe that humble, repentant spirit is always the starting point,” Torio said. “With this, God can clothe us and embrace us with this holiness and with a sanctifying grace. It will spread like a wildfire in the UMC connection and all over the Philippines."
Part of the enthusiasm was expressed in the fact that what began as a 1,000-member choir became a 1,200-member choir.
"Coordinating the 1,200 choir was very overwhelming and challenging,” said Esther Joy Herradura. “But it is worth doing again, very tiring but really worth repeating."
The Rev. John Manalo, overall coordinator expressed gratefulness on the fulfilment of Revive 2’s aim.
"Foremost is the pride, as United Methodists, on how it all started, its contribution to the world in general and to the Philippines in particular,” he said. “It has given the youth inspiration about how John Wesley started and this revival has opened avenues for heartwarming experience."
"Keep the flame burning, keep united, go in faith, go in power, and go in unity so the UMC will be revived," Manalo said.
Mangiduyos is a correspondent for United Methodist News Service.
News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, [email protected] or 615-742-5470.