Lectionary Selection: Psalm 139:7–12
Prayers for the Philippines:
O God, we bring to you our pains and the lamentations of our hearts. Life has been like hell for many in the Philippines and in other countries as well. There is so much pain and brokenness in our world and the needs are demanding and overwhelming. Your people, O God, have suffered tragedy after tragedy, such as typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) and more. While tragedies, like typhoons, have natural causes, their unequal impact and consequences are not only due to nature but what we do to each other, against each other, and with each other. God of illumination, awaken your people to the realization that tragedies are, oftentimes, the works of our hands.
Yet, even as life has been hellish, hell is not off-limits to your presence; even the farthest seas are not far for you; even darkness is not dark to you. God our sustainer and liberator, we are grateful for your pervasive presence and steadfast love. When strong winds blow us to the farthest and threatening seas, make us feel that you are the wind beneath our wings; when dark clouds hover over the horizon, help us see your guiding light; when the going gets rough, embrace us with your empowering and sustaining presence. May you imbue us with courage to speak and act truth to power until righteousness reigns the whole inhabited earth and the new day blossoms.
Mission Stewardship Moment from the Philippines:
It has been my privilege to serve Union Theological Seminary (UTS), Philippines. I am starting my second year as President of the said institution. As someone said, there are two major tasks of theological education: (1) to do the work of theological education (e.g., teaching, research, and various educational programs) and (2) to make theological education work (governance and leadership). A theological institution has no reason to exist without doing the first, and it would not last long without doing the second. The current leadership and administration of UTS is giving its very best to address both.
There are four major areas to which UTS is committed and we have made significant progress in all: (1) excellence and accessibility of theological formation; (2) sound institutional governance, visionary and strategic leadership, and efficient administration; (3) fiscal responsibility, financial viability, and sustainability; and (4) healthy and strong relationships with churches and various stakeholders.
Our first year enrollment has more than doubled this new academic year and, beyond strengthening our regular residential theological programs (BTh, MDiv, and DMin), our theological extension program is going on and vibrant. In addition to our Hong Kong site, we have opened a new extension site in Seoul, Korea. Two additional theological extension sites are being considered: Singapore and Dubai. Moving forward to realize our dream of making theological education more accessible, portable, flexible, and affordable, UTS is pursuing its open seminary program (UTOS-Union Theological Open System) by making use of the cyberworld.
We are deeply grateful for your partnership and the multiple ways you have supported UTS as well as other institutions (Dansalan College Foundation, Northern Christian College, Silliman University, Southern Christian College, and United Church of Christ in the Philippines) and programs in the Philippines: through friendship and prayers, gifts of time and skills, promotion and student recruitment, linkages, and financial contributions. Thank you.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Eleazar Fernandez)
Mission Partners in the Philippines:
- Dansalan College Foundation
- Northern Christian College
- Silliman University
- Southern Christian College
- Union Theological Seminary
- United Church of Christ in the Philippines
More information on the Philippines:
Global Ministries Missionary in the Philippines:
Eleazar Fernandez, member of Mayflower Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Minneapolis, Minnesota, serves with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. He serves as President of Union Theological Seminary, Philippines. Eleazar is also the author of Burning Center, Porous Borders: The Church in a Globalized World which "articulates what the church is and is called to be about in the world, a world now globalized to the point that the local is lived globally and the global is lived locally." His appointment is supported by Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.