Pray with the Philippines, September 3, 2023

Pray with the Philippines, September 3, 2023

Lectionary Selection:  Romans 12:9-21

Prayers for the Philippines

God of Love, we pray for the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and all our partners in the Philippines. We pray to always grow and learn from the wisdom and experience we share with each other.

We pray for Silliman University Divinity School as it marks another year in the life of its mission to educate and train students for ministry and scholarship. Continue to bless their students, faculty, and all their programs and activities.

We pray especially for the growing Music and Liturgy Program, that through it, the school will be an instrument to connect and minister to the Filipino community and to all your people through music and the arts. May their songs, words, and dance resonate with the chords of your love and blessing.  

Through music and liturgy, may we all learn to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Help us all be better instruments of your patience and your mercy. When we are inclined to anger and revenge, remind us of your call to “Live in harmony with one another.”


Mission Moment from the Philippines

At the start of every academic year, in late August, Silliman University in Dumaguete City has an elaborate gathering. Alumni from all over the Philippines and the world return to the acacia-lined campus on the shore of the inland sea that flows through the Visayan islands. Founded by Protestant missionaries after the Philippine-American war, today the campus “by the sea” is related to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines yet hosts students from many Asian countries and faiths.

The Divinity School at Silliman University traces its roots to the founding of Silliman Bible School in 1921 by Frank Laubach, a missionary from one of Global Ministries’ predecessor bodies, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Frank Laubach believed there was a need to train Filipino ministers from the Visayas in their own language. Ever since, Silliman Divinity School has prioritized theological and ministerial education that draws on indigenous knowledge and cultural practice.

This year, a theme at the Divinity School gathering was “Global Trends in Liturgy and Music.” The Divinity School seeks to be a leader in music education for churches in Asia by growing its Liturgy and Music Program. A key emphasis in expanding their curricula is highlighting indigenous and local language resources in church music and liturgy. During a performance for Global Ministries this Spring, Dean Van Cliburn Tibus of Silliman Divinity School said the program’s vision is “centered on reclaiming and developing the Filipino heritage of indigenous music and the arts, with a liturgy and music curriculum that is culturally attuned and relevant to the local churches’ leadership and liturgical needs.”

Dr. Jean Cuanan-Nalam, Assistant Professor in Church Music, demonstrated some of the program’s collection of traditional instruments. She described how one group at the school named Ugkat, a Cebuano term meaning “to excavate,” uses percussion, the Angklung, and indigenous Philippine instruments to revive and reclaim Filipino forms of music and liturgy.

Global Ministries supports the vision and expansion of the Divinity School’s Liturgy and Music Program by providing scholarships for students admitted to the program. At the Divinity School’s 100th Anniversary celebration, Global Ministries recognized the century of faithful service that Silliman University Divinity School has demonstrated in theological education, scholarship, and leadership in ministry and is proud to accompany it as it grows in the future.

Mission Partners in the Philippines

More about the Philippines

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